Social and Economic Issues of Pride & Prejudice

Topics: Elizabeth Bennet, Woman, Pride and Prejudice Pages: 3 (1050 words) Published: September 2, 2012
A couple of the interactions between Elizabeth Bennet and Caroline Bingley verge on "catfights." What social and economic issues contribute to competition between women? Consider which relationships between women in the novel are in contrast to the relationship between Elizabeth and Caroline. What impact do different personalities have on how characters relate?

Has competition between women changed since 1813? If you think it has, how have the stakes changed? The tactics? Using the first 12 chapters of the novel and/or the section in The Norton Anthology on the nineteenth century as your sources, write a response considering the issue of relationships between women, comparing and contrasting then with now. Consider the different things women (then or now) might compete for—men, money, jobs, friendships, status, or whatever else occurs to you.

Caroline is obviously very possessive over her brother and disapproves of him showing interest in Jane. She is also possessive of attention by Mr. Darcy and it causes her jealously since he pays more attention and admiration toward Elizabeth. Even after Caroline tries so hard to capture his gaze or have conversation with him, he doesn't seem to be interested at all. This can cause so many wild and selfish emotions inside women. The big question is why?

In Caroline Bingley's case, there is a lot at stake when another woman comes into a situation with a man that she has already has an interest in and is trying to pursure. According to Caroline, in "good society" women are expected to "…have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages…and possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions…" (29). These are the tactics a woman of Caroline's same social and economic upbringing would use to capture the attention of a wealthy man in her day. Because it was hard to find a good man of great wealth in 1813, women were pitted...
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