Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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What is a good thesis statement for the role of women in the 19th century in Jane Austen's  Pride and Prejudice?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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To find a thesis statement, one must define the role(s) of women in this period. Austen actually shows a fairly broad range of roles of women in the 19th century (though published in the 19th century, Pride and Prejudice was actually written in the late 18th century) in Pride and Prejudice. The range spans from Lady de Bourgh to Mrs. Younge and from Lydia to Miss Darcy and Miss de Bourgh.

The most active role is represented by Lady de Bourgh. She is not only nobility who hostesses dinner parties and intimidates guests, she also has the full running of the estate (most probably with the aid of a steward though none is specifically mentioned) and the village of peasant who work on the estate. Along with managing the estate's agricultural productivity, she also ensures that the ill are tended to, the quarrelsome are admonished, the aged are cared for, and all other social dynamics are provided for so that the village is peaceful as well as productive. This may seem insignificant since we of modern times have little concept of what running an estate in the 19th century encompassed, but in reality it was something akin to administering a small modern hospital full of able bodied workers, the infirm and aged, those needing to be fed and those needing attention.

Mrs. Younge, a widow, represents an educated, genteel working class woman who has sufficient background, breeding, and cultivation to be an acceptable teacher and (ironically) moral guide for a girl of Miss Darcy's breeding, social...

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