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social features in pride and prejudice advantages and drawbacks of this society and in our society

Page history last edited by semra 15 years, 1 month ago

What ındividuals adhere to strict rules of social conduct in ‘pride and prejudice’. What are advantages and the drawbacks of living in such a society?

Jane Austen pays attention to  the social conduct in a strict rules of society.

Individual character means  a person’s conduct above the minimum level demanded by present social norms and social opportunities. Only three or four characters in the story exhibit traits of true individual character ( Elizabeth, darcy) that exceeds the minimum required by society. For instance, Elizabeth does not adhere rigidly to the standards set forth by society.

            Charlotte has a formed character that is steady, strong, sensible and good. Lydia is a pure biological type without social conditioning even at the level of behavior. Kitty is even less formed.

            Persons with social character are those whose lives are determined and directed by the  fashions, beliefs, attitudes, opinions and values of the society in which they live. Their conduct is determined by the expectations of society. Jane and Bingley are finest examples of social character. They maintain the required external behavior but do not rise even a little above that level. Even though Bingley is sure to marry Jane he ask Darcy.  Social approval is that important to him. Both Caroline Bingley and Lady Catherine show the self-important behavior permitted by their wealth and social status. They never exhibit any human quality above the basic requirements or roles that are expected from them. Collins is a pure social character. He plays out the social role to such an extreme in thought, feeling and action that his conduct appears foolish and odious.

Mrs. Bennett’s aspirations, beliefs, opinions and behaviors are fully determined by the society of which she is a part. Sir Lucas, Fitzwilliam and Georgiana also strive to fulfill their allotted social roles as perfectly as possible.

I think that there is no advantage of living in such a society.

Drawbacks of Living in such a society

Women’s roles

 Women had a very limited role to play in society. Firstly, they were to be accomplished. Secondly, they were to find an acceptable husband. Having acquired this acceptable mate. Women’s place was still very much in the home at this time. Women were not supposed to write books, take an interest in politics, work, deal with money, or do anything that was considered as falling into the realm of men.

Men’s roles

Men, on the other hand, had a very defined role to play as well. Men were made to rule the world. Politics, government, financial matters, land, trade, military matters – all of these fell to the men, as well as education and the arts. Almost every aspect of life was the man’s domain. 

            Institutions which enforce gender roles

Marriage (obviously) – keeps women in the home, transfer them from father’s responsibility to husband’s responsibility.

Educational system – women were not allowed to attend schools with men.

Inheritance is another drawback. Very rarely did women own property or control their own fortunes.

Government – Women were not allowed to sit in the House of Commons or the House of Lords, the two main governing bodies of England. Neither were they allowed to vote, or speak in Parliament.

           

Stereotypes

Common stereotypes

  • Women belong in the home
  • Deference should always be given to upper classes
  • Money = power
  • Marriage is a social/political alliance
  • Men are smarter than women
  • Happiness in marriage is a matter of chance, not chose.

Rigid rules of conduct that are part of our social interaction

The rules of our society are not as strict as in this pride and prejudice period.  Some of rigid rules are;

Women didin’t have the elction  rights.

They were not active as they are now.

In twelve years of reform women in Turkey were transported from the harem and the veil to membership in Parliament.

And women have the rights of inheritance.

They marry for love but this wasn’t the same in previous years.

 

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