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The ironic aphorism of the opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice brings the issue of money and marriage at the center of Austen's novel. That marriageable girls are driven to the young, solvent bachelors for their security and identity must be an important feminist angle in the last decade of the 18th century.
The whole book has been written from Elizabeth Bennet's point of view, and Elizabeth's self-respecting intelligence serves as a strong resistance to the offensively proud cynicism of the male chauvinist in Darcy. Elizabeth's disapproval of Charlotte's marriage to the clownish Collins is yet another aspect of seeing marriage from the feminist standpoint.Elizabeth accepts Darcy's proposal only after the proud male is sufficiently humbled to make a second proposal to her.
Elizabeth was Austen's fictional counterpart, an exceptional woman who finds love and marriage in her own terms. She even successfully encounters Darcy's formidable aunt to become the mistress of Pemberley. Austen's ironic stance in respect of the new economy of love has marked her book an early discourse in the politics man-woman relationship.
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