Social Commentary on Love and Marriage in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin

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Pride and Prejudice
Love and Marriage Jane Austen shows the readers within the first sentence what the plot and main theme of Pride and Prejudice is and what social ideas she plans on presenting through this novel. The first sentence of Pride and Prejudice stands as one of the most famous introductory lines in literature. It states, “it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” (Austen 5). This statement puts the novel in motion by showing that the novel will deal with the pursuit of single wealthy men by various female characters. By stating this, Austen reveals that the reverse is also true in the nineteenth century English society, which is that single women of
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Their limited education consisted of needlework, fine handwriting, singing, dancing, playing piano, and reading (3). Marriage at this time was the only thing that could give a woman any sense of security. If their fathers were to die, it was custom that only the eldest son could inherit the money and property. Unfortunately, if the family did not have a male son the land would be given to the closet male relative, which left the women in a very delicate position. Austen show’s readers this aspect of her society by having the Bennet sisters in the same situation. Without a male sibling their land and home will be entailed to a Mr. Collins. If Mr. Bennet were to die, his five daughters and his wife would be left homeless or at the charity of others because Mr. Collins would not have it in his heart to let them reside in the house with him. Their only way to escape this fate would be to get married. However, there was many obstacles that middle class young women had to deal with that kept young suitors uninterested. One was their social station. The society of this time was so stratified that even one class could be broken down into more distinctions of rank (2). The people did not often marry outside of their social rank, which left middle class women with middle class men. Unfortunately, money also played a big part in the determination of whether