How does Austen's tone convey her criticism of marriage  in Pride and Prejudice?  Please give quotes to help explain.

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herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Jane's sarcastic witticism is what makes her convey her personal views of marriage as a tool to create status instead of as a symbol of love. Granted, Jane DOES understand that marriage SHOULD be a symbol of love, but she also admits that this view is not accepted within her current society.

Some of those phrases come from Charlotte, especially who is the first to admit that she would marry Collins  only to be safe and have a place to live:

"My reasons for marrying are, first, that I think it ... a right thing for every clergyman in easy circumstances (like myself) to set the example of matrimony in his parish; secondly, that I am convinced that it will add very greatly to my happiness; and thirdly--which perhaps I ought to have mentioned earlier, that it is the particular advice and recommendation of the very noble lady whom I have the honour of calling patroness."

This shows you the sadness of Charlotte's situation.

Another of many quotes is

"Pardon me for interrupting you, madam," cried Mr. Collins; "but ... if she is really headstrong and foolish, I know not whether she would altogether be a very desirable wife to a man in my situation, who naturally looks for happiness in the marriage state. If therefore she actually persists in rejecting my suit, perhaps it were better not to force her into accepting me, because if liable to such defects of temper, she could not contribute much to my felicity." (1.20.4)

In this quote, Collins is clearly assigning a status to women as many other men did at the time and warning Mrs Bennet about Elizabeth's behavior as being dangerous for marriage, due to her open mindness and ouvert communication.]

This next quote, however, hits marriage hardest and again comes into Charlotte's choice for marriage over poverty, and here is when we hear Jane, and not Charlotte's mind, speak:

Charlotte herself was tolerably composed. She had gained her point, ... and had time to consider of it. Her reflections were in general satisfactory. Mr. Collins, to be sure, was neither sensible nor agreeable; his society was irksome, and his attachment to her must be imaginary. But still he would be her husband. Without thinking highly either of men or matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want. This preservative she had now obtained; and at the age of twenty-seven, without having ever been handsome, she felt all the good luck of it. The least agreeable circumstance in the business was the surprise it must occasion to Elizabeth Bennet, whose friendship she valued beyond that of any other person. Elizabeth would wonder, and probably would blame her; and though her resolution was not to be shaken, her feelings must be hurt by such a disapprobation. She resolved to give her the information herself, and therefore charged Mr. Collins, when he returned to Longbourn to dinner, to drop no hint of what had passed before any of the family. A promise of secrecy was of course very dutifully given, but it could not be kept without difficulty; for the curiosity excited by his long absence burst forth in such very direct questions on his return as required some ingenuity to evade, and he was at the same time exercising great self-denial, for he was longing to publish his prosperous love. (1.22.3)

 


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subrataray | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Austen in her novel Pride and prejudice discusses the contemporary issue of marriage as social rehabilitation .Marriage to property , and marriage as the only security of the women who have neither education nor self-employment come up as the critique of of the opening decades of the 19th century country -side England .

The opening lines of the novel conveys the criticism of marriage .The idea is wrapped in irony .The parents of marriagable daughters need grooms with fortunes .

Wick ham  otherwise needs financial support even when he elopes with Lydia , and Darcy privides that .

Charlotte wants a social establishment .And hence , a buffoon like Collins is enough for a comfortable home .Thus marriage is "Solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment " .

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