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Analyze the nature and function of family in the following two works, Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice - Essay Example

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Instructor name Date The Nature and Function of Family for Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennett Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte lived in a rapidly changing world, yet one in which half of its population still lived under rigid constraints and traditional expectations…
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Analyze the nature and function of family in the following two works, Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice
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Download file to see previous pages It is not surprising that the world captured in Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre reflect some of the dynamics of these economic and social upheavals as they rippled through the country and restructured families as well as individuals. In both the real world and the fictional worlds of these novels, new roles also meant changes in the rigid system of manners that had typified the upper classes. This is reflected in the books as well since wealthy merchants and sailors began to afford the properties of the decadent rich who began losing their former status because of their traditional idle lifestyles (Priestley 60). Both Austen and Bronte introduce women who are thinking, feeling and reasonable people, planting the early seeds for the future feminist movements in characters such as Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre in the novel bearing her name. In both books, the nature and function of family is seen to be changing in the face of these changed female characters, yet they still play a significant role in the ability of these women to achieve their dreams. In the Victorian world, it is clear that one of a daughter’s principle responsibilities in life is to take care of her family in any way she can. This referred both to her family in terms of parents and siblings as well as her family in terms of husband and children. This frequently translated to making a strategic marriage that would provide the family with financial well-being into the future. This was because women were still significantly restricted in their abilities to earn a living. The young woman's personal feelings toward the man were rarely considered a sufficient reason to refuse any offer proposed. This concept is shown in Pride and Prejudice in the form of Charlotte Lucas’ decision to marry Mr. Collins. She accepts his proposal as a last act of desperation to secure the monetary security she needs to remove the burden from her parents rather than because she harbors any hope for a true emotional attachment. She reflects that "marriage was the only provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be the pleasantest preservative from want" (65). However, Elizabeth operates under a new worldview in which the individual, son or daughter, has a right to expect some compatibility with the person they marry and to assess for themselves whether the match is appropriate (Bald 42). Despite the tremendous pressure her mother puts on her to accept Mr. Collins, placing the entire family's future welfare on her shoulders, Elizabeth cannot even think of considering a marriage in which happiness and true affection are not present. She gains this strength through the quiet but firm support of her father who believes her mind is as capable as his own. While her end goal remains to find a husband, Elizabeth has established her ground rules as first being someone who will respect her independent nature and permit her the flexibility to exercise it. She has the confidence to pursue this path because she knows she has the love and support of at least some of her family behind her. Many of these same pressures fall on the shoulders of Jane Eyre as she is expected to subsume her own personality to the benefit and wishes of her aunt after having been orphaned and left penniless. She has no independent income that might ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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