“Pride and Prejudice” was first issued on 28 January 1813 (Bloom, 1987). This book is considered to be the most well-known of Jane Austen’s works. This novel is related to one of the first works in the genre of romantic comedy.
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The author of the novel Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) belongs to the group of English novelists (Bloom, 1987). The list of her works consists of “Sense and Sensibility”, “Pride and Prejudice”,” Mansfield Park”, “Emma”, “Northanger Abbey”, and” Persuasion” (Bloom, 1987). Jane Austin is widely known for her witty comments about society and its activities that together with the perfect usage of irony put her on the level with the best-known novelists of England.
The novel “Pride and Prejudice” is considered the most famous of the writer as it creates the world that is alive, even though was called by Dorothy Van Ghent “time and space”. Indeed the location of the story refers to a very limited area and the time described in the novel is very short. The fact that needs consideration refers to the events described by the author. Without doubts, the events that happened played a very significant role in the lives of the main characters (Gilman, 2000). Dorothy Van Ghent describes the novel as a part of the barbarian culture without any worries about God, death, sex, etc. Dorothy Van Ghent does not mention the inner world of the novel and does not cover the feelings of the main characters. The relations of the main characters and the essence of the meaning and plot of the story leave the reader in admiration of the author’s magnificent talent of creating alive out of nothing. In her novel, Jane Austen sets a balance between individual requirements, social norms of behavior, and approaches, which makes the reader consider the novel as a certain separator in the formal approach to the society in the author’s work. Society and relations of the main heroes are the main themes of the work by Jane Austin. Dorothy Van Ghent mentioned that the time period in the novel leaves no place for mystery. Of course, no mystery could be found within human relations which are indeed the real mystery. The author managed to represent the interrelation between social requirements and individual demands as mutually enriching that fact could be considered as a mystery. The time and space aspects play an auxiliary part and just keep the characters within a certain area in order to provide the activity of the heroes. The author’s goal was to identify the formal terms which will show the interrelation between social and personal approaches while the difference between them remains unimpaired (Gilman, 2000). The main difference between the approach of Dorothy Van Ghent and other critics lies in the concept that the world of the novel and the inner world of Jane Austin should be referred to as two different things. The approach of Dorothy Van Ghent is carried out by applying social norms and standards paying practically no attention to the inner world of the characters and the author. The only stated explanation refers to the terms of the time when the heroes lived. Without paying any attention to the concept that the social norms and regulations are constantly changing. That means that what was considered normal at the time of Jane Austin could simply become inapplicable at the times of Dorothy Van Ghent (Gilman, 2000). Another point mentioned by the critic says that the social circumstances in the novel are restricted. This research will try to argue this statement.
The definition of the meaning of the word society must follow a certain approach that imaginable society represents both an aspect and a structure in literature. Throughout history, the term society was defined as a mimicking process of the real world. Different researchers put efforts to identify the number of possible kinds of society in the literature (Bloom, 1987). The conclusion was that that quantity depends on various types of social types that the author created or is able to inhabit but not on the certain needs of the literature.
Jane Austen’s novel is based on two formally new approaches which identify the society in her work. The first approach corresponds to the possibility of the author to create techniques that allowed her to concentrate at the same time on the requirements and problems of society and those of the characters. The second approach is grounded on the fact that despite the obvious tension between individual’s private and social lives, Jane Austin showed the society in the novel as a certain tool that allowed her to represent the heroes in the full depth that they deserved (Bonaparte, 2005). These two approaches are interrelated. The first refers simply to the question of the formal approach of balance between two aspects of the novel; the second approach corresponds to the formal society formal place and also relates to value judgments (Bloom, 1987). Dorothy Van Ghent refers to the novel in the context of highlighting the problem of the developed person with certain feelings and the conditions of his or her social life (Langland, 1984). This question requires discussion. The terms of that time left little freedom to women both social and physical. This approach resulted that the only way out for a woman was left in the marriage act. Then she becomes dependant fully upon her husband and may not think about the future. The social aim is achieved. In return, the husband demands a full submission of his wife. Some people may find it disgusting, but one should not forget about the terms of that time. The only way to ensure the future life lies in the marriage act (Bonaparte, 2005). Another point should be also stated. The considerations for an unmarried woman in the eighteenth century were far from resembling treatment deserved by a woman in the modern world. However, still, the main aim of the majority of women of the modern world lies in the marriage act and future children (Langland, 1984). In the eighteenth century, early marriage acts were a common and widespread tradition. The life of a woman was represented by the above-mentioned actions and then followed by death (Bonaparte, 2005). Jane Austin simply represented the true situation of an eighteen-century woman. There was no time and space in her life but it is only to the terms of that time. Such a rational approach was the only way to survive and to occupy a certain social position when a woman was treated with certain respect (Langland, 1984). The whole life of a woman can be represented with several activities and without doubt marriage act and husband searching process occupies one of the most significant acts in her life. It did not take a lot of time for these activities in the eighteenth century. The result played a more important part in the process than time spend. In a conclusion, it could be said that in order to understand the novel one should understand the terms and conditions of the eighteenth century and try to realize the impact of social pressure on the representatives of that society.
Austen, Jane. 1962. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Scholastic Book Services.
Bloom, Harold, ed. 1987. Jane Austen”s Pride and Prejudice. New York: Chelsea House Publishers.
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Bonaparte, Felicia. 2005. Conjecturing Possibilities: Reading and Misreading Texts in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Studies in the Novel 37, no. 2: 141+.
Gilman, Priscilla. 2000. “Disarming Reproof”: Pride and Prejudice and the Power of Criticism. Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal. Accessed 19 May 2007.
Langland, Elizabeth. 1984. Society in the Novel. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.