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"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possesion of a large...

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pbidalia | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 16, 2012 at 9:25 AM via web

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"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possesion of a large fortune, must be in want of wife.."

Critically examine this line from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

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William Delaney | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 16, 2012 at 12:06 PM (Answer #1)

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The opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice does several things very adoitly. It serves as a thesis sentence for the entire novel. It displays Jane Austen's subtle sense of human. It also displays her understanding of her world and of human relations. The construction of the sentence also suggests that the novel is going to be full of contradictions, circumlocutions, subterfuge, equivocation, and outright deceit. What the sentence really means is that when there is a single man who is possessed of a good fortune living in the neighborhood, a number of young unmarried women are going to take a keen interest in him. Their mothers, aunts, and other older female relatives are also likely to take a keen interest. The novel is about young women competing for husbands in a world where women were largely dependent upon men and had no really attractive career oppoortunities outsie of marriage and child-bearing. The opening sentence of the novel has been frequently discussed by eNotes editors. You can see some very good and thorough answers by clicking on the reference links below. What is especially appealiing about Pride and Prejudice is that Austen deals with an extremely serious matter in a witty and satirical fashion.

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maryam-a412 | Student, College Freshman | eNoter

Posted August 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM (Answer #2)

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this sentence is very important as it reveals a lot about the novel and author. it show that Jane Austen is well aware of the customs and thoughts of her fellow human beings. it then also reveals an integral theme=theme of marriage.

this sentence allows a glimpse into the general notion that any and every single and wealthy man is looking for a woman to be her life partner. whereas this statement also shows how certain people interpret it and mould it according to their belief, specifically talking, women. women surmise that every single and wealthy man is no doubt looking for a wife at any circumstances as if he;s miserable without a woman. this notion can be contradicted too because at times wealthy men are least bothered about marriage. even nowadays many wealthy men are more concerned about their career than their love life or quest of finding a wife. hence it must be noticed that this phrase depicts the true psyche of women. and women being important roles in the novel, it is necessary to fathom their point of view about things. this sentence is very universal as it happens in every age and every culture. a poor man will be eyed at by several women who would be daydreaming of marrying him themselves or marrying their daughters/sisters/other relatives. what one forgets is that maybe that wealthy man does not have this intention. in a way Jane warns us, especially women to leave their conventional ideas and understand the man's motive first rather than daydreaming about weddings.

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