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    The Author’s Dismay at the Culture of Patriarchy in Pride and Prejudice, a Novel by Jane Austen

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    Jane Austen, the author of Pride and Prejudice, expresses her dismay. At the culture of patriarchy, in Austen’s view the right to own land. And receive inheritance is only available to first born boys is based on bias tradition. She reflects this belief by detailing the pressure put upon the Bennet. Sisters to marry a wealthy man who can supply their needs, given their father’s estate will be given to the closest male heir, leaving their financial fate in the hands of a husband.

    There is a culture prevalent throughout the book of men. Searching for a wife not because of genuine love between them, but because they hold something to gain. In such a case Mr. Collins seeks marriage with one of the Bennet daughters, particularly Elizabeth, because he is entailed to the estate of Mr. Bennet. He feels he is entitled to one of the Bennet daughter’s hand in marriage. Because he is going “to inherit this [The Bennet] estate after the death of your [Elizabeth’s] honored father…”(106), and he would not gain satisfaction in life without “choose[ing] a wife from among his [Mr. Bennet] daughters…”(106).

    Austen uses the proposal to mock the system of patriarchy and represent it as a lost cause, as Elizabeth rejected his proposal, leaving him without a wife. She uses Elizabeth’s character as a representation of the beliefs held by women which were suppressed, but expressed in a subtle way through actions, and not through direct disavowment. In the same way, Austen reveals the not so apparent side of patriarchy through Colonel Fitzwilliam.

    Who is the youngest of his brothers, therefore leaving him ridded of any monetary value. He feels the need to reject any offers of marriage that do not offer wealth and reveals he “suffer[s] from the want of money”(182) because “younger sons cannot marry where they like”(182), alluding to the fact that he has to seek women in rare cases of inherited wealth which substantially narrows his selection in a wife, effectively ending the possibility of genuine love.

    The system of patriarchy puts a great deal of strain on Mrs. Bennet, the mother the Bennet daughters. She becomes obsessed with the arrangement of her daughters marriages. Seeking high and low to find a man she feels is suitable to fill this role, in doing so she places her daughters in several awkward exchanges with men in an attempt to arrange their marriages, but did this out of hope for their future economically, however she did not concern herself with the social predicament it could lay upon them.

    Austen describes Mrs. Bennet’s “business”(7) of “life was to get her daughters married…”(7), conveying the dedication she feels the need to exert to ensure marriages are arranged, and how she put all things aside to secure their daughter’s future. At times Austen exaggerates Mrs. Bennet’s actions to those of reality in the 1800’s, but it is essential to magnify her actions to get Austens ideas understood.

    In Pride and Prejudice Austen subtly expresses, and at times not so subtly, her unhappiness with the system of Patriarchy and inheritance traditions, and revolves the book around issues faced with such a system. She uses her characters to express how appealed she is at a system which biasly deprives women, and men alike to receive wealth they are equally entitled to, and how a whole women life can revolve around how marriages will be arranged, and then how their daughters will marry.

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    The Author’s Dismay at the Culture of Patriarchy in Pride and Prejudice, a Novel by Jane Austen. (2022, Dec 12). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-authors-dismay-at-the-culture-of-patriarchy-in-pride-and-prejudice-a-novel-by-jane-austen/

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