The book Pride and Prejudice is a story about love, ambition, pride, and first impressions. Ironically the book was initially named First Impressions because of the way each character in the book viewed others based solely on their first encounters. The book takes place in the 1 9th century, and within this time period women were not exactly treated equally by society. Men were considered more superior than women, and men were also considered to have more rights.
In fact, women were not even allowed to own a property of land without a man beside them.
This is why women of this time were in reach for a man that could provide for their needs, primarily financially-wise. The five unmarried daughters of the Bennett household are all in search of a wealthy man and when they heard the news of a new neighbor named Mr. Bindle they started to become excited. In the scene, where the Bennett household attends the ball hosted by Mr.
Bindingly, we witness the difference in gender roles of how men and women treated each other.
Jane, who is the oldest of the five daughters, is quickly introduced to meet Mr. Bindingly, the single wealthy young man that just moved next door. Jane and Mr. Bindingly start having a delightful conversation as they et to know each other, and just by the first impression of each other they start to spark a relationship. Jane was interested in Mr. Bindingly even before seeing him in person, mainly because of his wealth. Mr. Bindle however began to grow an interest with Jane swiftly after admiring her beauty, not even giving Cane’s sisters a chance.
Mr. Dairy who is a friend of Mr. Bentleys is also at the ball, but he refuses to dance with anyone there because he believes no women there is desirTABLE or as “handsome?’ as he is. Elizabeth, the second oldest daughter of the Bonnet’s is offended by Mr. Dairy’s rude moment and is surprised at his impression of her, when he has not even got the chance to know her yet. This not only shows how arrogant and blunt Mr. Dairy is, but it also shows how men of this time had the dominant role.
Although women were in search for marriage, the same thing was expected for a man. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” A woman was not complete without a husband nor was a man complete without his wife. Later in the novel, Mr.Dairy’s prejudice toward Elizabeth begins to dwindle away as e gets to know Elizabeth as a person.
However Elizabethan prejudice towards Mr.. Dairy is still prevalent since he refused to dance with her at the ball. Mr. Dairy writes a letter to Elizabeth explaining all his reasons of denying her and Mr.. Dairy even admits that he should not fall in love with a woman Of her social status, but he cannot help himself. Not only were women back in the 19th century treated unequally by gender, but people were also treated differently based on their social class In society. Elizabeth starts to realize her love for Mr.. Dairy, and after refusing his proposal of marriage the first time he begins to rethink her feelings and ends up marrying him, while Jane marries Mr.Bennett.
By understanding how society treated people during this time period, it’s clear that there is a huge difference when compared to our society today. Although we may still judge people on first impressions or continue to discriminate women in some ways, we surely have gone a long way in developing our society as a whole and quite frankly it has made life more equal for each individual. Men and women for the most part have the same equal rights today, and this should continue for generations to come.
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