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Published: 31-08-2019

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Feminism in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice issues mostly of the social norms of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, in which was a patriarchal society ruled by males who held financial and social power. Pride and Prejudice has specific components that directly concentrate on the mixing of the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy during the age of the Napoleonic wars and the starting of an industrial revolution. Interested in the balance among pragmatism, or the necessity of securing a marriage, and idealism, particularly Elizabeth’s romanticism and individualism, Austen dramatizes her heroine’s struggle to locate a spot inside the conservative and social institution of marriage.

In the course of Elizabeth’s struggle, it is to be noted that she also beings to emerge as a feminist character. By way of Elizabeth Bennett’s outburst at Lady Catherine de Bourgh, her lack of horizontal hostility and becoming described as sporty be Georgiana, one particular can see that towards the end of the novel Elizabeth Bennett truly emerges as the feminist character she only subtly started as. When Elizabeth meets with Lady Catherine de Bourgh when the Lady visits Elizabeth’s property, Lady de Bourgh confronts Elizabeth about her relationship with Mr. Darcy for the duration of which Elizabeth says to Lady de Bourgh “he is a gentleman I am a gentleman’s daughter so far we are equal.” (Chapter 56, Page 306)

This is the 1st time in the novel that Elizabeth can genuinely be portrayed as a feminist character. Feminism is a doctrine that equates women and guys equal, and this moment when Elizabeth declares herself equal to Mr. Darcy is when Elizabeth emerges as the feminist subtly hinted in the preceding chapters. From the beginning of the book Elizabeth was merely an outspoken woman with several opinions to express and unafraid of becoming suppressed by those about her. She never ever actually equated herself with men or her oppressors, she never ever really paved a true road for herself with her own virtues and suggestions for good results for her future, as opposed to Charlotte Lucas did by marrying Mr. Collins with only intentions of living a comfy life. Feminism during that time is a lot different from how it has evolved to present time and a perfect example of a feminist for the duration of the era would be Charlotte Lucas.

Charlotte can be observed as a feminist rather of Elizabeth in the course of the very first chapters of Pride and Prejudice because of her capability to make firm choices for herself not primarily based on wanting solely to reside for her husband’s every want and need. Charlotte states “I ask only a comfortable home and taking into consideration Mr. Collins character, connections and scenario in life, I am convinced that my opportunity of happiness with him is as fair as most men and women can boast on entering a marriage state.” (Chapter 22, Web page 109) Elizabeth, in the course of these very first several chapters, was a lot like a carefree and witty young lady, even so by generating such a powerful statement against Lady de Bourgh, she has genuinely rose above that rank to a feminist woman. Equating herself with a man and that too of a considerably larger status than herself shows that she has not only grown as a feminist but also in the way that she has grow to be comfortable with herself as who she is that she will not take criticism from anybody.

There is also a lack of horizontal hostility that is observed on the portion of Elizabeth. Horizontal hostility is when members of an oppressed group fight amongst each other since they can not vent their anger out on these in power. In the course of the late eighteenth century and nineteenth century, the oppressed would be women and the oppressors would be the guys and these of larger class. Women had been treated as commodities and less valued consequently causing this horizontal hostility amongst their own sort. Females would usually pent out anger on each other by mocking, taunting, belittling and backstabbing every single other. Elizabeth goes by way of a variety of scenarios in which she can show this horizontal hostility against her fellow females. For instance, Miss Bingley who appears to have a keen interest in Mr. Darcy nevertheless when she notices his apparent curiosity of Elizabeth, she starts to dislike Elizabeth bent on proving her flaws to him. Through this hate shown towards Elizabeth, she can effortlessly put her anger on one more lady or back on Ms. Bingley. Nevertheless, she chooses not to and as an alternative hits her oppressors straight. For example, her outburst at Lady Catherine de Bourgh instead of walking away from that predicament with her head bent in defeat and expressing her anger out on her sisters or buddies Elizabeth promptly retaliates to Lady de Bourgh’s comments. This variety of standing up for oneself shows the movement away from the standard lady of that time to a far more modern and self concerned lady.

The ultimate moment in the book when Elizabeth is genuinely emerged as a feminist is when Elizabeth is described as getting a sporty demeanour by Georgiana. “Georgiana had the highest opinion in the globe of Elizabeth though at first she typically listened with astonishment bordering on alarm at her lively, sportive manner of talking to her brother” (Chapter 61, Page 333) unlike Charlotte Lucas who took on the traditional role of a woman right after marrying Mr. Collins and caring for him and his house, Elizabeth retains her livelihood and freedom right after marriage. Through Georgiana’s surprise, it need to be noted that females would conventionally change right after being married, taking up the part of the homely caregiver submissive to her husband’s will. Sporty is defined as fond of or good at sports describing Elizabeth as sporty gives her masculine qualities as it was the males that would play sports and be active.

Mary Wollstonecraft states “I heard exclamation against masculine woman, but where are they to be located? If by this appellation men mean to inveigh against, their ardour in hunting, shooting, and gaming, I shall most cordially join in the cry but if it be against the imitation of manly virtues or, more appropriately speaking, the attainment of those talents and virtues, the physical exercise of which ennobles the human character, and which raises females in the scale of animal getting, when they are comprehensively termed mankind, all those who view them with a philosophic eye must, I think, wish with me, that they may each day develop much more and more masculine.” (A Vindication of the Rights of Females) In this, Wollstonecraft introduces that calling a woman masculine raises them to that pedestal of becoming a human getting, possessing information, talents and virtues – attributes of males. By describing Elizabeth as masculine, she automatically receives all these attributes getting put, after once more, as an equal to Mr. Darcy this time, not only by herself but by those about her.

Throughout Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennett has been a constant headstrong character. She has been in a position to speak with a variety of individuals from bourgeois to the aristocratic comfortably with a sense of wittiness. Even so, these qualities did not show her feminist character, merely the makings of a feminist character. Clearly, Austen believes that girls are at least as intelligent and capable as males, and considers their inferior status in society to be unjust. She herself went against convention by remaining single and earning a living via her novels. In her private letters Austen advises buddies only to marry for adore.

By means of the plot of the novel it is clear that Austen wants to show how Elizabeth is in a position to be happy by refusing to marry for economic purposes and only marrying a man whom she actually loves and esteems and living her life after marriage nevertheless being respected by her husband and becoming offered freedom. By way of her courage and ease at diligently talking back to Lady Catherine de Bourgh at her demeaning comments towards Elizabeth, her respect and empowerment for her womankind and by being described as sporty by Georgiana, Elizabeth emerges as the feminist that she merely hinted to be. Austen reflects her courage and feminine beliefs via Elizabeth, both correct feminists.
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