Compare the first line in the novel to today.  In the novel Pride and Prejudice the first line reads: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune,...

Compare the first line in the novel to today.

 

In the novel Pride and Prejudice the first line reads: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Do you think this is still going on today?

Asked on by samz2012

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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This question is up to individual interpretation and opinion, so I encourage you to think through what you believe in addition to hearing the opinions of others.

In many ways, this opening line is meant to be humorous, as Austen is clearly commenting on a societal norm that she herself did not necessarily pursue.  I do not think women today life a similar life to the Bennet girls.  Mothers tend to encourage daughters to pursue an education before pursuing marriage.  Society today tends to encourage everyone to be financially independent.

That said, I do believe that the human condition presented in this line has not changed.  Even in today's society, people tend to seek two things in adulthood: career and family.  I believe humans are hard-wired to desire a relationship with a committed partner, for life.  Also, in many ways, even if the quote isn't completely true today, the opposite is.  Men and women who are immersed in education and career often do not make time for building a marriage relationship.  This is one reason proposed for the rise in average marrying ages as well as the rise in age for having children.

So, no, while I do not believe the heart of the opening line reflects today's society quite like it did in context, I do believe that the human desire for a committed adult relationship is universal, and made easier to pursue when making money is not a person's primary focus.

 

 

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