Mrs. Bennet: Pride and Prejudice

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In Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Bennet, the mother of the protagonist, Elizabeth, is generally portrayed as a buffoon who is an adversary for he daughter that is trying to force her into a marriage she does not want. One may wonder how she can be justified in any way, considering that she is known to embarrass her family members and behave idiotically. However, in the time period they live in, a marriage is necessary for all of the family to avoid a terrible fate. Mrs. Bennet, while often behaving improperly, does try to do the best for her daughters based on the world she lives in. Elizabeth Bennet’s refusal of Mr. Collins puts her family at risk of being homeless. In England at the time of great landowners, according…show more content…
As a result of being treated this way, women would have fewer opportunities to advance in their career, which were not often in manufacturing or agriculture for men or women. When women were landless and unmarried, they had little to no political representation or influence. As the BBC stated, “when parliamentary reform was being debated in 1867, John Stuart Mill proposed an amendment that would have given the vote to women on the same terms as men but it was rejected by 194 votes to 73” (BBC 1). Not until much later would women get the right to vote, meaning that the sisters could not develop a career based on their speaking or intellectual abilities in Britain, which extended to academic positions, as, according to the Republic of Pemberley, “women did not usually have careers as such, and were not "citizens" in the sense of being directly involved in politics, there was little generally-perceived need for such higher education for them” (Republic of Pemberley 1). No institution of higher learning would accept women, so that kind of career would have been impossible at the time. In addition to the social barriers of being a working woman, the Bennet sisters would have to face serious economic impracticalities when employed. Women were almost always paid significantly less than their male counterparts, as according to London’s Central Court, “Female domestic servants earned less than
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