What are the expectations and statuses of women that Jane Austen portrays in Mansfield Park?

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Like her other novels, Austen points out that the expectation of women is to marry well. In other words, middle class and genteel women were expected to marry men who were independently wealthy and could hopefully offer an advance in social status. It is expected that Maria, Fanny's cousin should marry well. In fact it became her "moral obligation, her evident duty to marry Mr. Rushworth" who had a "larger income than her father's" (Ch. 4). Maria becomes engaged to him very soon.

However, because Fanny is the daughter of poor relations and is being looked after out of charity,...

(The entire section contains 311 words.)

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