Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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How are women portrayed in Pride and Prejudice and what is their role?

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The women we see portrayed in Pride and Prejudice range from the upper-middle and gentry classes to aristocrats like Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Elizabeth defends herself to Lady de Bourgh as a gentleman's daughter, and we note that her father owns an estate big enough to support hunting, a gentleman's hobby. We don't see what life is like for women in the servant or lower classes.

The women Austen depicts are united in being focused on their only career option (or their daughters' only career option), which is marriage. Marry they all must, or they face the humiliation and uncertainty of ending up old...

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irishbrit | Student

Okay, so I must write a critical research paper, and argue the role of women during the 19th century. I am struggling to put a thesis together that is both argumentative and specifically deals with the novel and the topic.

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irishbrit | Student

Thanks for the help you guys! Are there any other sources from the book stating their role? I just can't seem to find many.

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stephen-moore | Student

Women in England in the 1800's, which is when Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is set, had one primary function, which was to marry, and marry well.  The Bennet girls have a temporarily comfortable life, for in the absence of sons, when their father dies, his property will be inherited by their cousin, Mr. Collins. For this reason, the Bennet's mother is usually in a frenzy trying to orchestrate the marriage of her daughters.   Elizabeth Bennet, her third of four girls, is a delightful young lady who refuses to lose her individualism and personal identity in a society that encourages women to do exactly that. However, much like her father, Elizabeth doesn't take too seriously her mother's flighty schemes to get her married. The role of women, especially upper crust women in England at the time is to look beautiful, speak only of pleasantries, and marry quickly, preferably to someone with some wealth at his disposal.  On this eve of the Industrial Revolution, this world stands in stark contrast to the one that will soon evolve in Britain, where women's roles will transform into something completely different.

Elizabeth is the second oldest of five daughters.

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