Nontraditional Women in Jane Austen´s Pride and Prejudice Essay

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A rush of finery descends from the stairs as three women enter the ball. Each wears a striking gown, rustling with each step they take down different paths, deviating from the expected and taking the unexpected route to find their own bliss. The party whispers their names, silently admiring the three commanding attitudes of these nontraditional women. For the 19th century, these women express attitudes that deviate from the typical stereotype. Pride and Prejudice offers Jane Austen’s take on the traditional 19th century woman through indirect characterization, tonal elements, and heavy satire and irony to portray the idea that flawed women (in the 19th century sense) hold the key to success. Charlotte Lucas, the rational, plain often…show more content…
Her language borders on spiteful: “the lady felt no inclination to trifle with his happiness” (105) when describing Lucas’ acceptance of the proposal. She seems to resent Charlotte’s decision: “she had not supposed it to be possible that, when called into action, she (Lucas) would have sacrificed every better feeling to worldly advantage” (109). The absurdity of marriage for property is personified in the satirical dialogue and tone of Lizzie and Charlotte’s interactions. Charlotte, however, ends up married and with good financial standings in the midst of her failing to see the emotional importance of a relationship. Austen reveals this through Lizzie’s indirect characterization of Charlotte and exposes the irony behind her inability to recognize the importance of an emotionally fulfilling relationship. Austen’s examination of the 19th century woman culminates with the simplistic character of Jane Bennett. Sister to the protagonist, Jane is described as one whom “never see[s] a fault in anyone" (14). She is overly kind and accepting of every character, faults and all. By 19th century standards, she is the exemplification of a perfect woman. She never proposes to Bingley, no matter how strong her adoration may be, as women in that time period were expected to wait for the man to decide the fate of a woman. This, in turn, ruins Jane’s chances. It is ironic that because Jane’s

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