Pride and Prejudice Term Paper

Topics: Marriage, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice Pages: 5 (1935 words) Published: January 31, 2013
Marriage :-

Marriage(also called matrimony or wedlock) is a social union or legal contract between people called spouses that establishes rights and obligations between the spouses, between the spouses and their children, and between the spouses and their in-laws.The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures. It takes a considerable leap of the imagination for a woman of the 21st century to realise what her life would have been like had she been born 150 years ago. We take for granted nowadays that almost any woman can have a career if she applies herself. We take for granted that women can choose whether or not to marry. Condition of women in 19th century :-

we can say that Women of the 19th century had no choices for their marriage.Most lived in a state little better than slavery. They had to obey men, because in most cases men held all the resources and women had no independent means of subsistence. A wealthy widow or spinster was a lucky exception. A woman who remained single would attract social disapproval and pity. She could not have children or cohabit with a man: the social penalites were simply too high. Nor could she follow a profession, since they were all closed to women.Girls received less education than boys, were barred from universities, and could obtain only low-paid jobs. In the 19th century Britain women were expected to marry and have children. however, there was in fact a shortage of available men. Census figures for the period reveal there were far more women than men. There were three main reasons why women outnumbered men. The mortality rate for boys was far higher than for girls; a large number of males served in the armed forces abroad and men were more likely to emigrate than women. By 1861 there were 10,380,285 women living in England and Wales but only 9,825,246 men. Most women had little choice but to marry and upon doing so everything they owned, inherited and earned automatically belonged to their husband.when a woman got married her wealth was passed to her husband. If a woman worked after marriage, her earnings also belonged to her husband. written into the marriage ceremony was a vow to obey her husband, which every woman had to swear before God as well as earthly witnesses. The idea was that upper and middle class women had to stay dependent on a man: first as a daughter and later as a wife.

Not until the late 20th century did women obtain the right to omit that promise from their wedding vows. According to Jane Austen :-
"Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor, which is one very strong argument in favour of matrimony"-- Jane Austen In Jane Austen's time, there was no real way for young women of the "genteel" classes to strike out on their own or be independent.Professions, the universities, politics, etc. were not open to women. Few occupations were open to them -- and those few that were (such as being a governess, i.e. a live-in teacher for the daughters or young children of a family) were not highly respected, and did not generally pay well or have very good working conditions. Therefore most "genteel" women could not get money except by marrying for it or inheriting it (and since the eldest son generally inherits the bulk of an estate, as the "heir", a woman can only really be a "heiress" if she has no brothers).And unmarried women also had to live with their families, or with family-approved protectors -- it is almost unheard of for a genteel youngish and never-married female to live by herself, even if she happened to be a heiress .When a young woman leaves her family without their approval (or leaves the relatives or family-approved friends or school where she has been staying), this is always very serious -- a symptom of a radical break, such as running away to marry a disapproved husband, or entering into an illicit...
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