Jane Austen 's Theme Of Marriage, And The Trajectory Of The Narrative

1771 WordsNov 2, 20158 Pages
Stylistically Austen, employs the third person restricted narrator to establish the central theme of marriage, and the trajectory of the narrative. In the ironic opening first sentence of the novel ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ ‘Jane Austen appears to state a fact that her use of the word truth implies to be a principle; a moral truth which all mankind can agree’ (Gooneratne, p. 44). This truth however is conveyed as ‘a good income in the hands of a bachelor’ therefore making him an attractive matrimonial proposition! In addition the semantics employed: ‘possession, fortune and want’ are associating the activities of courtship and marriage to that of a business transaction. However, it is the single females without the possession of a good fortune that are indeed in search of a husband. Therefore this opening sentence serves as an ironic reminder of the discrepancy between social conventions and economic need. Austen therefore creates a measured disjunction between received opinion and social reality. On first impressions of his intended, the satirical Mr Bennet was ‘captivated by youth and beauty and the appearance of good humour which youth and beauty generally give’ (Austen, 1984) however shortly after a marriage constructed upon lust and desire, Mr Bennet’s ‘respect esteem and confidence’ in his wife soon vanished forever. Consequently, Mrs Bennet was demoted by her husband to the

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