In 19th century England. manners played a large function. In her book Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen portrays many different facets of English societal manners in the 1800s. and these aspects of English etiquette. including going etiquette. societal properness. and dancing. greatly affect the secret plan of the book. One facet of English societal etiquette was the set of rigorous regulations for how one was to move to look as a socially expert individual and therefore a desirable lucifer for matrimony.
They were for the most portion mute regulations. but during the nineteenth century at that place began to be a turning choice of etiquette books available. for case. Dr. Fordyce’s Sermons to Young Women. Mr. Collins’ attempt to read this book aloud to the Bennet miss is received with small enthusiasm. particularly from Lydia ( Austen 321 ) . One wanted to follow these regulations good so as non to look socially awkward ( Article ) .
Most regulations were rather commonsense. like one that states that a gentleman must ever be introduced to a lady ( Article ) . Making debuts the other manner unit of ammunition would be rather unacceptable. There were some regulations that were aimed towards protecting the reputability of a immature lady.
Two such regulations were that a lady was ne’er to have on pearls or diamonds before midday. and that she should ne’er name on a gentleman unless it was a affair of concern. Making either of these things would set up a adult female as a lady of loose repute ( Article ) . However. it was possible to follow the regulations excessively good ( Article ) . Mr. Darcy’s chief unfavorable judgment of Jane Bennet is that. in his sentiment. she does non love Mr. Bingley ; he says. “… [ Jane ] I besides watched. Her expression and manners were unfastened. cheerful. and prosecuting as of all time. but without any symptom of curious respect. and I remained convinced from the evening’s examination. that though she received his attendings with pleasance. she did non ask for them by any engagement of sentiment” ( Austen 413-414 ) . In other words. Mr. Darcy does non believe that Jane is in love with Mr. Bingley because of her composure and collectedness while talking to him. Jane is following the regulations. but a small excessively good. These fortunes affect the secret plan greatly. Because of this. Mr. Darcy is determined to interrupt up Mr. Bingley and Jane’s relationship since he thinks there is no existent fondness involved. Mr. Darcy takes the first chance to make this. which happens to be when Mr. Bingley goes back to London for a piece. Convinced that Jane does non love him. Mr. Bingley decides to remain in London the full winter.
These are major events in the secret plan. and they come about because of the rigorous societal regulations of English society. In the nineteenth century. dance was a cultural and societal basic. It was gratifying and served many intents. one being an chance to demo off the figure and gracefulness in motion of a immature lady or gentleman ; “ [ Dancing ] allowed the figures of immature people to be exposed to public regard at parties. dances and balls” ( Article ) . This was frequently advantageous to the terpsichorean: a opportunity to demo off their elegance. However. in some instances it had the opposite consequence ; “Mr. Collins. awkward and solemn. apologising alternatively of go toing. and frequently traveling incorrectly without being cognizant of it. gave [ Elizabeth ] all the shame and wretchedness which a disagreeable spouse for a twosome of dances can give” ( Austen 337 ) . When Mr. Collins dances with Elisabeth. he shows himself to be an awkward terpsichorean. and this inelegance seen here in dancing is observed besides in his societal life. As with Mr. Collins. dance besides served to supply a expression into the character of a immature lady or gentleman ( Article ) . In Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy’s violative behaviour with respect to dancing during the ball reinforces the public sentiment of his disagreeable nature.
His refusal to dance with anyone but Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley shows his pride. particularly after he slights Elisabeth. stating “She is tolerable. but non fine-looking plenty to allure me” ( Austen 278-279 ) . In contrast. Mr. Bingley is an good-humored and polite character. He dances every dance. is really gracious. and pays particular attending to Jane ( Austen 278-279 ) . Because of these two characters’ different behaviour at this first ball. they set up their reputes ; Darcy gets a bad repute as a proud and disagreeable adult male. and Mr. Bingley gets a repute as an good-humored adult male who is merriment to be about. Mr. Bingley through dancing besides got an chance to demo Jane that he cared about her ; in the 1800s. if a gentleman asked to dance with a lady twice it normally meant that said gentleman was interested in the lady. At the first ball. “Mr. Bingley danced with [ Jane ] twice…” ( Austen 279 ) and thereby showed his fondness for her. an fondness that grows stronger throughout Pride and Prejudice. Dancing besides affects the secret plan of Pride and Prejudice. During the ball at Netherfield. Darcy dances with Elizabeth. and two of import things happen during this dance. First. Darcy’s fondness for Elizabeth begins to boom. As he is dancing with her. they have a small statement. After the dance. Darcy begins to be angry at Elizabeth. but “…in Darcy’s chest there was a tolerable powerful feeling towards [ Elizabeth ] . which shortly procured her forgiveness. and directed all his choler against another. ”
Besides. during this dance Elizabeth’s position of what happened between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham. that Mr. Darcy has unashamedly exploited Mr. Wickham. is established in her ain head. Without dancing. the secret plan of Pride and Prejudice would non be the same. Another thing that affected the secret plan of Pride and Prejudice was going etiquette. In Jane Austen’s clip. holding a friend over meant much more than merely a sleepover. House guests would frequently remain for two months or more. although some visits did last for merely a twosome of hours. Merely as there are today. there were guidelines for going every bit good as hosting or being a invitee. although they were a good spot stricter in the nineteenth century than they are now. While going. one wanted to be seen in a respectable passenger car. The best kind of transit was a daybed and four: a four-horse passenger car. Optimally. the daybed and four would be closed in on all sides and decorated with a coat of weaponries. The following best thing was a curricle. drawn by two Equus caballuss. While inferior to a daybed and four. a curricle was owned by most affluent people in the nineteenth century. and is approximately tantamount to today’s yacht.
A gig was the last thing any respectable individual would desire to be seen in. A gig was merely a basic jerkwater vehicle with two wheels. and a great beginning of embarrassment for any single unfortunate plenty to be caught siting in. Barouches. Landau. and touring cars. while being inferior to a curricle or daybed and four. were still superior to a gig ( Article ) . After covering with socially acceptable going. when a invitee arrived at their finish. they had to act as a invitee should. If the finish was at such a distance from the guest’s place that a short visit would be impractical due to the length of clip spent going. the invitee would be expected to remain a long clip. at least two months ( Article ) . As Elizabeth’s visit to the Collins’s draws to an terminal. Lady Catherine de Bourgh comments that she seems out of liquors and assumes that is must be because she is traveling home shortly ; “But if that is the instance. you must…stay a small longer” ( Austen 423 ) she says. When Elisabeth courteously declines the offer on the evidences of holding to be in town on Saturday. Lady Catherine protests. “Why. at that rate. you will merely hold been here six hebdomads. I expected you to remain two months… Mrs. Bennet could surely save you another fortnight” ( Austen 423 ) . The manner Lady Catherine says it. a two weeks is a fiddling sum of clip to add on to a visit. whereas today a two weeks is a reasonably long clip to remain at a friend’s house.
There were besides regulations for how a host should act to her invitees. For illustration. one of these regulations was to non direct a invitee place in bad conditions conditions or when the guest’s wellness would non let it. In the beginning chapters of Pride and Prejudice. Mrs. Bennet has Jane drive to the Bingley’s place on a Equus caballus alternatively of a passenger car. in hopes that it might rain ( Austen 293 ) . This is an illustration of a invitee utilizing the regulations to flex her host’s will. If it starts raining. it would be really impolite for Miss Bingley to direct Jane place after the visit in the pouring rain without a passenger car to maintain her dry. Therefore. the lone socially acceptable thing for Miss Bingley to make would be to ask for Jane to remain until the rain lets up. However. things do non travel precisely every bit planned. It starts raining as Jane is on her manner to the Bingleys. and she gets soaked through. Upon geting at the Bingley’s place. she finds the rain has made her ill with a bad cold. which in bend forces Miss Bingley to follow the regulations and insist upon Jane’s remaining until she feels better.
Netherfield is merely three stat mis from Longbourne. but Jane’s stay ends up being longer than normal for such a short distance because Mrs. Bennet toyed with the regulations. This is an illustration of how the regulations of etiquette affect the secret plan. This visit is a important portion in the friendly relationship between the Bingleys and Mr. Darcy and the Bennet sisters. When Elizabeth comes to see Jane. she is invited besides to remain until her sister is better. Many of import things happen during this visit. Miss Bingley’s disagreeable nature is established. Mr. Darcy’s love for Elizabeth begins to boom. and Miss Bingley’s competition with Elizabeth over Mr. Darcy is begun. although most of the competing is done on the side of Miss Bingley. In Pride and Prejudice. going etiquette causes Jane to go acquainted with the Bingleys. societal etiquette causes Mr. Darcy to interrupt up Jane and Mr. Bingley’s relationship. and dancing causes Mr. Darcy to fall in love with Elizabeth. All three of these are facets of English high society etiquette. and all three cause major events that greatly affect the secret plan of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Austen. Jane. The Complete Novels of Jane Austen Volume I. New York: Modern Library. 1992. Print. Jane Austen’s House Museum. “The Manners and Customs of Life in Jane Austen’s Time – OR How to Win the Mating Game! . ” Jane Austen’s House Museum. N. p. . 2007. Web. 12 Nov. 2012.
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