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Published: 16-10-2019

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The Theme of Social Class in “Persuasion”

‘Persuasion’, written by Jane Austen in 1817, is a novel which grapples with the key social and cultural troubles of living in a patriarchal society, in which social class is viewed to be really crucial. Due to this, we are in a position to draw contrasts and similarities amongst the contemporary day, and the 19th century. Social class presents the theme is an array of techniques such as via marriage, the difficulties of class, how men and women behave due to class, as well as superficiality of class.

Marriage plays a essential function all through the novel, and social class is crucial in this as it seemingly dictates who a single should or shouldn’t marry. This is displayed by saying: “ he had bought independence by uniting himself to a wealthy lady of inferior birth.” The verb ‘purchased’ conjures up an image to make it appear as if it was a transaction alternatively of pursuing love, and this is further emphasised by the noun ‘independence’, which creates a plethora of meanings and leaves the reader to generate their personal interpretations. One of which could be that he breaking the social norms by marrying an individual outside of their class, and therefore becoming somewhat a lot more independent as he is not reliant on social contradictions. In addition how challenging it is to climb up the social ladder as to be hugely regarded, you need to be born into wealth, and not self-made as you’d nevertheless be noticed to be ‘of inferior birth’. The 19th century reader could be far more understanding to this topic as it is typical for men and women to only marry within their personal class, and to marry a person who is not seen to have the exact same status as you is frowned upon. However, this is very contrasted in the modern day day readers’ point of view as presently marriage has virtually no barriers and we are a more accepting society.

There is clear evidence that the social hierarchy presented is flawed for an array of causes, an instance of this is presented by saying:”First, as being the indicates of bringing persons of obscure birth into undue distinction, and raising guys to honours which their fathers and grandfathers never dreamt of.” The adjective ‘obscure’ demonstrates how if you are born into a particular wealth or situation, you will be shunned and looked down upon in society, in addition to this, the adjective ‘undue’ demonstrates how your future would have currently set. The adverse adverb ‘never’ demonstrates how it is seemingly unreachable, which is totally juxtaposed to what the modern day reader could consider. Seemingly, we, the modern day day reader, feel as if we are able to function to where we want to be, and that exactly where we are born does not portray our future, yet this may be the fully diverse to what the 19th century audience would feel, as this is what society may possibly feel is standard.

Becoming of high social status makes you really feel superior about others, nonetheless when Elizabeth and her father is in the presence of somebody of even greater status, Anne says she:“ wish[es] that they had more pride for “our cousins Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret” “our cousins, the Dalrymples,” sounded in her ears all day lengthy.” The comparative ‘more’ demonstrates that Elizabeth and her father has a lack of pride when it comes to being in acquaintance with somebody with a larger social rank. The use of the individual pronoun ‘our’ demonstrates how by having these social connections they are in a position to be viewed as extremely ranked. By exaggerating the quantity that Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret is mention due to the saying “all day long” we are in a position achieve an understanding that Anne hears an unbearable amount to do with them straightforward because of the face that they are a greater social rank. The contemporary day reader would be in a position to comprehend and emphasise with Anne, as we are in a position to see how important social class is noticed to be and we are capable to comprehend how considerably of a burden it need to have been, however a 19th century reader might have understood Elizabeth’s’ and her father’s’ perception and actions.

Ultimately, we are in a position to see how superficial class is and this is highlighted by Anne saying: “they were practically nothing. There was no superiority of manner, accomplishment, or understanding. Lady Dalrymple had acquired the name of “a charming lady,” because she had a smile and a civil answer for everybody.”The sheer harshness and brutality behind the unfavorable quantifier ‘nothing’ demonstrates how some could view the value of social class. Nevertheless this does not represent the majority of the 19th century’s readers, as Austen was observed to create ahead of her time, and consequently it could speak to the contemporary day readers as an alternative. The damaging semantic field of getting nicely-rounded is produced by the words ‘mannar’, ‘accomplishment’ and ‘understanding’ and this emphasises how superficial class is, as it does not matter how you act, or who you are, it is all simply about your birth and your family. Additionally the verb ‘acquired’ demonstrates that she has obtained that name but it may have been less difficult than as it seems. In addition to this we are capable to see how easy it is for her to be viewed as ‘charming’ as it is due to her ‘smile’ and the fact she is ‘civil’. The modern day reader would entirely see the flaws in class, and as a result really feel empathy towards Anne, but the 19th century reader might have noticed this as a norm, and not noticed this to be a flaw.

General we are capable to see how the Austen presents social class to not only be an really crucial and key theme in this novel, but also a really flawed and imperfect theme. Historically, class and social status has played a crucial role in everyday life, and it is only lately that we have been able to break out of this and become much more accepting and understanding to human nature. Due to the concepts and flaws becoming apparent and clear in this novel, we are able to see how Austen is ahead of her time, and for that reason her representation of class is that it is dysfunctional.
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