How is Austen able to portray Mrs. Bennet as a foolish and uneducated woman when she describes her assessment of her relationship with Mrs. Long?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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All Mrs. Bennett seems to care about is her fear that Mrs. Long will be able to introduce her nieces to Mr. Bingley before she has a chance to introduce her daughters to him. Mrs. Bennett's entire life is centered on the fact that she must find suitable husbands for her daughters and the etiquette of the day requires that Mr. Bennett call on Mr. Bingley before introductions to her daughters can be made. Mr. Bennett seems unwilling to call on Mr. Bingley and so Mrs. Bennet is beside herself. However, she does console herself with the fact that the Long nieces are not as "handsome" as her daughters, so they won't be able to be real competitors with her daughters in the "marriage market". This shows that Mrs. Bennet sees her daughters more as commodities designed to make a "good match" rather than individuals with abilities and talents of their own. It also prevents the daughters from making their own choices based on their happiness instead of economic and social concerns.

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