Albeit, this sense of authority Emma enjoys is quite fragile, considering the delimiting authority allowed a woman of Austen’s time. Therefore, Emma wishes to preserve and enhance her social status, while still being bound to the rules of her class, which inevitably place women in an inferior position to their male counterparts. The following paper will attempt to prove that despite marrying at the end of the novel, Emma does not seek love, but is much more interested in protecting her position in the patriarchal social hierarchy.
England has always had a rich history of interesting cultural traditions but arguably none as prevalent as marriage. Marriage, the union of two people with emotional ideals and expectations, are brought on by many different factors that include: for love, for money, for climbing social status, escapism, survival, etc. In Jane Austen’s novels, she focuses on the importance of marriage in her world because she wanted to emphasize how marriage is the most important life event of a woman as this would determine her place in society. Persuasion shows readers good and bad examples of marriage: the amiable Crofts and other couples such as Sir Walter & Lady Elliot and the Smiths. Jane Austen uses the Crofts to support the importance of marriage
Jane Austen provides her readers with insight into marriage and English society within the 1800’s. In Emma, the story establishes the idea that society could not function without marriage and how the institution of marriage defined one’s social status.
In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen introduces the major thematic concept of marriage and financial wealth. Throughout the novel, Austen depicts various relationships that exhibit the two recurring themes. Set during the regency period, the perception of marriage revolves around a universal truth. Austen claims that a single man “must be in want of a wife.” Hence, the social stature and wealth of men were of principal importance for women. Austen, however, hints that the opposite may prove more exact: a single woman, under the social limitations, is in want of a husband. Through this speculation, Austen acknowledges that the economic pressure of social acceptance serves as a foundation for a proper marriage.
Marriage has always been a convoluted subject to every era of time, especially when wealth is brought into the equation of it. During the Romantic Era, the state of marriage illustrated women’s continued inequality in society. For instance, women lacked legal equality once they entered marriage due to coverture, which is the condition of a woman during her married life, when she is under the law of being the authority of and protection of her husband. This basically entails that once a woman marries, she is property of her husband. In later decades, women would make great strides to gain legal recognition. However, during the late eighteenth century, Romantic feminists voiced more practical concerns rather than that of law (Feldman 280). Before the nation could acknowledge women as equals, husbands must first accept their wives as true partners in marriage. This was considered not only logical, but practical. Feminists located one of the sources of inequality within women’s own behavior and the methods they employed to gain husbands. Women had been taught to use beauty and love to attract husbands, but beauty and love are only temporary states. These states do not establish a solid foundation for a lasting marriage. As illustrated in Jane Austen’s novel Emma, a successful marriage is founded upon the match between two personalities, and not upon looks.
To marry for money and not love is frowned upon as a social norm, but is also seen as an opportunity for women to rise in the social hierarchy. Though, love is to be the reason why bonds like marriage exist. Being a woman in the nineteenth century limits social advancement and makes it seem impossible without wealth, a background of family fortune, or matrimony to a man labeled high class. Emma Woodhouse, from the novel Emma written by Jane Austen, defines what it means to seek stature through marriage and how couples can aid in contexts such as social groups. Austen clearly covers social groups in her novel, but making the novels focal point circumvent around Emma. We look beyond how class enables opportunity for women and see just how
Gaining fresh, innovative insights that appeal to modern consciousness entails the adaption of a text to a contemporary contextual environment, and by comparing both Jane Austen’s Regency Era novel, Emma (1815), and Amy Heckerling’s postmodern American film, Clueless (1995), it is evident that the film has been re-appropriated in such a way that Austen’s voice is still heard today, while simultaneously projecting Heckerling’s views on present-day society. While both Emma and Clueless fall under similar timeless themes, such as the social hierarchy, the social values of marriage and patriarchal society, which contribute to the female bildungsroman of their main protagonist who both go through a process of being childish, ignorant and surrounded by misconception to maturing, the texts are moulded by differing contexts. Where Austen’s representation is shaped by the Regency Era conception of marriage which wasn’t for the purposes of genuine love but to maintain social status, Heckerling’s portrayal is derived from 1990s American teen culture of consumerism, materialism and superficiality and where marriage is represented as romantic in nature.
Furthermore, the text magnifies the attempts to be socially mobile through marriage, evident as Emma devises long-term strategies for advancement thus, demonstrating the desirable goal to belong to a class supported by inherited wealth. This is shown with Emma promoting Mr. Elton over the “society of the illiterate and vulgar” Mr. Martin. Emma’s didactic description of the yeomen farmer marks her attempt to match Harriet with one of higher consequence so her friend doesn’t end up socially inferior like Miss Bates and Miss Goddard who are unmarried. However, order is restored in the text as the concept of marriage between equals is reinforced with Emma’s realisation in her interior monologue “that Mr. Knightley should marry no one but herself”. Emma’s reward of an equal partner combined with her acceptance of Harriet’s decision to marry Martin emphasises how society valued marriage between equals as it allowed for a consolidation of the social hierarchy. Emma presents the place of marriage within the social hierarchy of Highbury with the value shaped by the attitudes of Highbury.
Jane Austen begins the novel Emma by stating, “Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence, and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her” (1) immediately giving readers the impression that Emma is a young woman whom the readers should respect and grow to love throughout the novel. As we continue reading, however, we learn that while Emma has a good reputation and a circle of people who love her and want the best for her, she is extremely flawed. In the article, The Darkness in Emma, Anita Soloway states, “for Emma, beauty, cleverness, and wealth prove to be mixed blessings at best, for they foster the conceit of arrogance that lead her to hurt others and threaten her own happiness” (86) which ties into my argument that Emma’s good reputation is not necessarily based on her character, but instead, the lifestyle she lives, which is a similar concept for Tom in Tom Jones.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is set in the 18th century, when the future of society relied on social class. According to social class, the relationship between Mr.Darcy and Elizabeth should have been impossible, but they are able to break through these restrictions.The progression of Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship through the obstacles of breaking through social class dominates the novel. Jane Austen illustrates the restrictions of the social construct of class based on wealth along with her own views on social class in the fiction novel, Pride and Prejudice, through the relationship of Elizabeth and Mr.Darcy.
Though at first glance, Emma appears to be a generic romantic novel about virtue and ladyhood, Austen actually challenges what the meaning of “ladyhood” is to the reader. We view Emma’s follies, trials, and triumphs through the eyes of the omnipotent narrator who first describes Emma as a stereotypical, wealthy young lady who is “handsome, clever…with…a happy disposition” (1). Through the use of irony, Austen employs a series of situations in which Emma, a “lady” of high standing within her community, challenges conventional thinking of what it means to be a young woman in the early nineteenth century, particularly her ideas concerning marriage and
Jane Austen’s novel is commanded by women; Pride and Prejudice explores the expectations of women in a society that is set at the turn of the 19th century. Throughout the plot, Austen’s female characters are all influenced by their peers, pressures from their family, and their own desires. The social struggle of men and women is seen throughout the novel. Characters, like Elizabeth, are examples of females not acting as proper as women were supposed to, while other women like Mrs. Bennett allow themselves to be controlled by men and society. Mr. Collins is a representation of the struggles males deal with in a novel dominated by women. The theme of marriage is prominent during Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Marriage can be examined in
In eighteenth century which feminist in social status was not popular by that time, author can only through literature to express her thought and discontented about society. Jane Austen’s Emma advocates a concept about the equality of men and women. Also satirizes women would depend on marriage in exchange to make a living or money in that era. By the effect of society bourgeois, Emma has little self-arrogant. She is a middle class that everyone could admire, “Young, pretty, rich and clever”, she has whatever she needs. She disdains to have friends with lower levels. However, she is soon reach satisfaction with matchmaking for her friend. Story characterizes a distorted society images and the superiority of higher class status. It
Emma Woodhouse, who begins the novel "handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and a happy disposition" (Austen 1), suffers from a dangerous propensity to play matchmaker, diving into other’s lives, for what she believes is their own good. Despite this, she is a sympathetic character. Her matchmaking leads only to near-disasters and her expressions of remorse following these mistakes are sincere and resolute. Jane Austen's Emma concerns the social milieu of a sympathetic, but flawed young woman whose self-delusion regarding her flaws is gradually erased through a series of comic and ironic events.
Jane Austen was a Georgian era author who was best known for her novels that commented on social issues and class, and Northanger Abbey is no exception. Austen’s social commentary is apparent in this novel’s plot, as the reader follows a seventeen-year-old protagonist, Catherine Morland, as she matures and forms intimate relationships with fellow characters in an England town called Bath. Marriage between characters in the novel is heavily based on wealth, and because of England’s unstable economy at the time, marrying into wealth meant maintaining a high social class and economic stability for the characters. The importance of economic prosperity and social rank heavily influenced marriage in 19th century England, and this idea bourgeoisie classism and marrying for wealth is contradicted by Austen in her novel, Northanger Abbey.