Pride and Prejudice

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And do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for love… or just for security and wealth? Many people have very different views on marriage. In Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice, many characters disagree about what marriage should be. Some believe there should be happiness and love in a marriage, and others believe happiness is simply a matter of chance. In the poem “Habitation,” Margaret Atwood uses literary techniques such as symbolism and metaphors to show that the idea of marriage is sugar-coated, and a marriage takes work and upkeep to sustain happiness. Both of these pieces of literature have very unique views on marriage.

Pride and Prejudice shows many different views on marriage. Many of the characters in the novel would agree that marrying is a practical choice, and should be done for security. Charlotte Lucas and Mrs. Bennet both especially believe this. Mrs. Bennet’s ultimate goal for her daughters is to have them married. She states, “If I can see but one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield, and all the others equally well married, I shall have nothing to wish for.” Mrs. Bennet believes that once her daughters are married, everything will be taken care of, they will all be safe and secure in marriage.

While Mrs. Bennet is thinking of marriage as security, Margaret Atwood crushes this idea in the first few lines of her poem “Habitation.” With the opening metaphor, “Marriage is not a house or even a tent,” Atwood denies marriage being secure. The house and tent symbolize security, so marriage is not that. Margaret Atwood gives the reality of marriage, that it is not a warm, comforting shelter, but a constant battle full of insecurity. Atwood sees marriage not as easy, secure bliss, but something that is a struggle, something that takes strength and determination. This idea would stun some of the characters...
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