How do economic concerns touch the lives of characters in Pride and Prejudice?

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Woman in Jane Austen 's time had hardly any career options. Lower-class young women could go to work as household servants for very little pay. Middle-class young women with adequate educations could go to work as governesses to young children. Almost all women were dependent on men--husbands, fathers, brothers, male...

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Woman in Jane Austen's time had hardly any career options. Lower-class young women could go to work as household servants for very little pay. Middle-class young women with adequate educations could go to work as governesses to young children. Almost all women were dependent on men--husbands, fathers, brothers, male employers. The only good career was marriage, but young women without dowries were greatly handicapped in finding husbands unless they happened to be exceptionally attractive. This was the problem for all five girls of marriageable age in Pride and Prejudice. They were dependent upon their father, but their house was "entailed," meaning they would not inherit it when he died but would be homeless. The father had little money to leave them. They all wanted to get married, and the novel is about how they went about finding husbands. Marriage for all of them was largely a matter of economics. Love was a secondary concern. Mr. Darcy was a great potential prize because he was not only rich but handsome, and he owned one of those enormous mansions which figure so prominently in many English historical novels, including Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Clothing, parties, and visiting were of the utmost importance because young women had to be continually on display, waiting ahd hoping for "Mr. Right" to come along.

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