Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice Regency Period Middle class gained social status; known as landed gentry Profits from Industrial Revolution and expanding colonial system Strived to align themselves with Englands landed aristocracy
Purchased estates and country homes to rival aristocratic mansions Newly acquired wealth and possessions Austens Novels Privileged circle of Englands landed gentry and aristocracy Upper class was old hereditary aristocracy and the new landed gentry who came into money through commercial enterprise and ascended from the middle class Upper class did not work and
frequently employed farmers to work their land Upper class controlled Englands politics Austens House Chawton The house where Jane Austen lived and wrote most of her novels; a pleasant seventeenth century house in the pretty village of Chawton in Hampshire not far from her birthplace of Steventon. Mr. Darcy Darcy is representative
of hereditary aristocracy Wealthy landowner who does not have to work for a living Employs workers to farm his land, surrounding families depend on his patronage The Bingleys Bingleys represent the new landed gentry Bingleys father acquired wealth through
trade, gave up his business, and moved his family to the country He and his sisters are now considered upper class The Bennets Bennets own land, but they are a middle-class family Longbourn House in Hertfordshire 2,000 per year
Must work to cultivate land Few servants and limited financial resources Women, Patriarchy and Property Rights Women had few legal rights Depend on men for protection and survival
Women could not own property (they were considered property) Depended on fathers to give them away to a lucrative marriage At death, property went to another male heir Finding a husband was a necessity not a social preoccupation Women, Patriarchy and Property Rights Entailment determined
how property would be passed through several generations within a family; usually closest male relative Lady Catherine DeBourgh, patroness of Rosings Park, is a rare example of an independent woman who inherits the estate of her father. Theme of Social Class and Lack of Mobility Conflict that arises when
members of middle class, such as Bennets, mingle socially with members of the upper classes, represented by Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. Austen was critical of the social barrier between middle and upper class (while remaining silent about members of lower class) Elizabeth Bennet breaks class barrier Theme of Marriage and Family
Future of Bennets daughters depends on successful union with suitable husbands Women often forced into marital unions purely out of financial necessity New ideal of marriage and partnership based on mutual respect and love
Expectation of social network above individual desire for privacy Familys reputation was tied to reputation of each individual member Theme of Propriety, Social Decorum, and Reputation Persons value depends on respect of friends and neighbors Woman who engaged in inappropriate behavior with a man prior to
marriage was morally corrupt. No virtue = social outcast Elizabeth values personal worth and individual character over reputation and status Standards of proper social etiquette First Impressions Original title of P & P Premature preconceptions complicate the relationships between characters
Both characters must set aside their pride and prejudice and form an opinion based on respect and cordial friendship Error in judgment with Wickham who creates a bad image of Darcy Must look beneath the surface of a persons character Satire Humor or with in order to criticize or ridicule a
particular person or group Disguise criticism of an intended target by clothing it in humorous language, funny characterizations, and sarcasm Austen satirizes Mrs. Bennet and her need to marry her daughters; also Mr. Collins high opinion of himself which often makes him the laughingstock of society Free Indirect Discourse Narrative style known as
free indirect discourse Third-person perspective to convey ideas and thoughts from point of view of a particular character usually the heroine. Hard to determine objectivity of ideas Precursor of stream of consciousness Comedy of Manners Uses elements of Satire to ridicule or expose
behaviors, manners, flaws, and morals of members of the middle or upper classes. Incorporate love affairs, witty and comical exchanges between characters, and the humorous revelation of societal scandals and intrigues Witty banter between characters
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