Social Norms in Jane Austen´s Pride and Prejudice

1183 WordsJun 25, 20185 Pages
Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is well noted for its ability to question social norms. Most importantly, Austen explores the institution of marriage, as it was in her time, a time where many married for security rather than love. Her characters Elizabeth and Charlotte are renowned even more for their outspoken nature and different views on marriage. Though both Elizabeth and Charlotte yearn for a happy marriage, Charlotte has a more pragmatic and mundane approach while Elizabeth is more romantic and daring with her actions. Through the romantic involvements of both Elizabeth and Charlotte, Austen shows that happiness in marriage is not entirely a matter of chance, but is instead contingent on an accurate evaluation of self and others…show more content…
Charlotte certainly notices Mr. Collin’s ostentatious behavior but chooses to ignore it, “ When Mr. Collins said any thing of which his wife might reasonably be ashamed, which was certainly not unseldom, [Elizabeth] involuntarily turned to Charlotte… in general Charlotte wisely did not hear” (Austen 154). Charlotte does not even acknowledge her husband, talk of helping him improve himself. The narrator, a reliable source comments on Charlotte and Mr. Collin’s relationship: “ When Mr. Collins could be forgotten, there was a great air of comfort throughout, and by Charlotte’s evident enjoyment of it, Elizabeth supposed he must be often forgotten” (Austen 155). Charlotte is content but not happy and yet so she is pleased with the life she has created for herself. Charlotte and her husband exist in different spheres as Charlotte clearly ensures that she has as little contact with Mr. Collins as possible. We see this in her set up of the parlor, otherwise “ Mr. Collins would have undoubtedly been less in his own apartment as they sat in one equally”(Austen 164). Charlotte’s behavior with Mr. Collins is pre-meditated and well deliberated; her union with Mr. Collins is one of avoidance than marriage. In contrast in Elizabeth’s relationship with Darcy, not only are Elizabeth and Darcy able to recognize each other’s vices, but ultimately their knowledge of these inadequacies makes them better people. As
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