Pride And Prejudice By Jane Austen

933 WordsAug 16, 20164 Pages
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was first published in 1813(Gary vii) a time when women had “few legal and economic rights or even receiving little respect, women can be seen as oppressed victims of a patriarchal society, subordinate first to their fathers and, then, to their husbands who had, of course, been selected by their fathers” (Swords, 76-82). At first glance one might think that Pride and Prejudice reinforces sexist stereotypes, however upon further examination of Jane Austen and her heroine Elizabeth it is clear that Pride and Prejudice in fact erodes the sexist stereotypes of women. A hastily drawn conclusion one might make about Pride and Prejudice is that it appears to reinforce the sexist stereotypes of women during the 18th century. The first sentence of the book reads “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” (Austen 1). Dorothy Van Ghent described this opening sentence as being “read as the opposite-a single woman must be in want of a man with a good fortune” (Van Ghent 301). This also introduces one of the central themes of the novel and that is Mrs. Bennet’s desire to see her daughters married “Her mind was less difficult to develop she was a woman of mean understanding little information and uncertain temper when she was discontented she fancied herself nervous the business of her life was to get her daughters married” (Austen 3). Marriage was crucial to ensure a woman’s

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