The Destructive Qualities of Class Distinction are Evident in Jane Austin's Novel Pride and Prejudice as it Shows the Separation Difference Between the Wealthy People and the Less Fortunate

The Destructive Qualities of Class Distinction are Evident in Jane Austin's Novel Pride and Prejudice as it Shows the Separation Difference Between the Wealthy People and the Less Fortunate

The developing times of economic barriers prove how limited one is when it comes to true love. Women and men had certain expectations that they had to follow as social barriers define a society’s structure. The destructive qualities of class distinction are evident in Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, as it shows the separation difference between the wealthy people and the less fortunate. It is extremely crucial for people to challenge society’s norms to achieve their personal happiness and well being. Throughout this novel, Austen establishes the difference between classes of families from rich or poor backgrounds, leading to a better appreciation of what the less fortunate people had to endure. The women in this novel were subjected to and portrayed a certain way in order for them to be married to a wealthy husband. Not only were women affected by the crucial economic standards of society, but men also had to follow traditions that had been kept in their families for centuries, leading men to be forced into a marriage that would displease them. Furthermore, this novel shows the development of society from an economic stand point. Society does impose barriers which make relationships complex as society has such a define structure of how everything should actually be.

Pride and Prejudice, relates frequently to the different variations between the upper class (wealthy) as well as the lower class. A wealthy family desired their son or daughter to stay within the circle of luxury, as that was the way they were brought up. However, families that did not have as much wealth obviously wished for their sons or daughters to marry rich so they would be able to afford various luxuries that would be provided for them. Social classes have been prevalent and are quite evident in Jane Austen’s novel. Mrs. Bennet attempts to marry her three daughters to wealthy men, in order for her to obtain her husband’s fortune. Yet, when Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy’s family they felt that she does not offer any musical or artistic skills and talents; therefore she would not be worthy of a wealthy, confident, and successful man such as Mr. Darcy. This caused a major barrier for the future couple as Mr. Darcy’s family did not approve of Elizabeth: “ ‘ Why did not you all learn? You ought all to have learned. The Miss Webbs all play, and their father has not so good an income as yours. Do you draw?’ ” (Austen, p 144). Miss de Bourgh, Darcy’s aunt, demonstrated evil and disapproval of Elizabeth, as she did not come from a well to do family and felt that she was not worthy of a man such as Darcy. She interrogates Elizabeth about the amount of possessions she neglected to have growing up, proving her final point that she simply did not belong in their “wealthy world.” Elizabeth did not back, but instead defended herself as she felt that her parents had taught her everything she needed to know. Although class differences were faced and are still faced today, true love is able to conquer a barrier such as this.

Along with a variety of classes, women in Pride and Prejudice were portrayed a certain way in order for them to be married to a wealthy husband. During this time period, it was extremely crucial that women learned how to draw, play an instrument, and learn how to excel in their manners. A man wished for a wife/ spouse whom would please him by these talents. A wife had to have great-domesticated skills in order to handle the household. Women had certain expectations to fulfill society which was thoroughly discussed in the course of Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice. Mrs. Bennet attempted to teach her daughters how to behave properly and politely, as she knew that this was what would attract a man. It seemed Mrs. Bennet forced her daughters to pretend to act a distinguished way, as she feared that her girls would fail to meet the man’s standards, as they came from an underprivileged family. However, Elizabeth felt that the man whom she would marry, must love her for who she truly was. She did not agree with pretending to be something that she was not, as she believed in true and passionate love. Mrs. Bennet realized that due to the class distinction Elizabeth must truly impress him in order to gain acceptance from Mr. Darcy’s family. Elizabeth and her sisters were forced to constantly meet rich and arrogant men, in hopes of finding a husband. Many women like Elizabeth’s friend, Charlotte, felt that if they were proposed to, they should not refuse as they felt that they could not miss any opportunity. Although, Elizabeth was not fooled into marrying a man just for his money; she wanted something real: “ ‘Without thinking highly of either men or of the only honourable provision for well educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must their pleasantest preservative from want.’ ”(Austen, p 109). Elizabeth displayed hurt and disappointment with Charlotte’s acceptance to Mr. Collins’ proposal. Elizabeth realized, that she only accepted the proposal knowing the financial stability of his fortune as well as this could be the only opportunity for her future. Charlotte did not accept this proposal out of want, but rather with the intent to have a wealthy fortune and live a great life; one that her parents wished for her. The women of Elizabeth’s generation, as well as some of the modern women of today, like the idea of marrying a wealthy man who can provide for them, as that is what is expected from society, a working husband and a domesticated wife.

As women felt the pressure to marry into a wealthy family, men also faced problems in their family. Men were required to follow the traditions that have been kept in their families for centuries, leading them to be forced into a marriage that would immediately displease them. Large amounts of pressure were described through Pride and Prejudice, creating a more problematic plot. As Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth began to really fall in love, Mr. Darcy’s family completely and utterly disapproved. They believed that since all the men in his family married wealthy women who were best suited for them; Darcy should follow their tradition as well. His family did not of his un-wealthy friend who was attempting to be part of their family. They wished for a girl who was better suited and shared similarities with Mr. Darcy. His family longed to keep tradition alive and completely disapproved of marrying outside of their superior status: ‘ I am not to be intimated into anything so wholly unreasonable… You have widely mistaken my character, if you think I can be worked on by such persuasions as these. How far your nephew might approve of your interference in his affairs, I cannot tell; but you certainly have no right to concern yourself in mine.’ (Austen, p 266). Miss De Bourgh displays anger and frustration as Mr. Darcy wishes to marry Elizabeth. She attempts to explain to Elizabeth that she does not belong in their society and that all the other men in their family before Darcy married a wealthy woman. Elizabeth took all this in, and confidently rebutted that her relationship and Darcy are none of her business and that she is not intimidated by Miss de Bourgh’s status or amount of money. Dealing with the pressure of one’s family truly affects a person’s relationship as it complicates matters for the two people entangled in the relationship.

The destructive qualities of class distinction are evident in Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, as it shows the separation difference between the wealthy people and the less fortunate. Throughout Pride and Prejudice, many class differences were discussed, enhancing the plot. Women in this novel were perceived a certain way as they were in high hopes of finding a husband. Finally, not only were women affected by the economic standards in society, but also men had to follow the traditions that had been set by the rest of their family. Pride and Prejudice shows the development of society about accepting different people who come from either a wealthy or less fortunate family.