Pride and Prejudice Reader Response
To me personally I found this book to be beneficial in understanding the ways of society throughout time. Within Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice, Bingley and Jane's relationship proves that social pressures essentially inhibit people from fulfilling their true identities, and their true desires. Whether it manifests itself in the pressure to marry for security and convenience, or the pressure to attain affluence and culture, the social norm erases individual identity and the joy of independent choice. One example of this stems from Jane's relationship with Bingley. Her mother pushes her to marry him because of his wealth, but his sister, Caroline, urges him to marry a woman of higher status. This is a key example of how marriage becomes a matter of money-- and not just of financial security, but of status. For this reason, Jane and Bingley almost do not end up together, a result of unhappiness for the two. In response to Bingley's distance from Jane, Mrs. Bennet constantly nags and questions her daughter about Bingley. In fact, the reader is told that "an hour seldom passed in which she did not talk of Bingley, express her impatience for his arrival, or even require Jane to confess that if he did not come back, she should think herself very ill used. It needed all Jane's steady mildness to bear these attacks with tolerable tranquility" (96). Mrs. Bennet’s motivation for this constant nagging is, of course, her longing to see Jane in a good marriage and to be with someone of wealth and status. This social pressure to marry gainfully consumes Mrs. Bennet to the point where she not only has her "nervous attacks," but she makes her daughters miserable as well! Basically, the root of Jane and Bingley's unhappiness stems from the Bennet sisters' pressure to marry beneficially and the pressure put on Bingley by his sister to marry favorably, an urging which keeps him from proposing to Jane for quite some time. As far as...
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