Through the Pride & Prejudice final project, I was able to expand my knowledge of societal and marital norms of Jane Austen’s time. The ideology of marriage in England was idolized. For females, it was extremely crucial that they marry for financial stability and not for the concept of love. Life in the twenty-first century completely differs from life in the eighteenth century. Although there are some similarities, the martial and societal norms have completely transformed. Through the final project, I was also able to collaborate with my peers. I was able to receive feedback about myself which helped improve my skills as a learner. In this essay, I will be contributing my ideas and opinions about my knowledge of the English culture, the comparison of the two centuries, and my individual reflection. In Jane Austen’s novel, Pride & Prejudice, individuals are able to gain insight into how societal and marital norms were incorporated in the daily lives of people living in England. Austen gives numerous amounts of examples of how life as a woman living in England was revolved around the ideology of marrying for financial stability instead of love. Mrs. Bennet’s mentality is solely revolved around wanting to marry off her five daughters to wealthy men to provide a reassuring future. When Elizabeth rejects Mr. Collins and opposes these eighteenth-century marital norms, Mrs. Bennet goes into shock and does not want to associate with her daughter. Due to this ideology of marriage, there were limited options for the women to choose from. Marrying for love was not uncommon but it did not exactly follow the norms embedded in society. In order to have the “ideal marriage”, a woman would have to marry into wealth or a higher social status. If I lived during Austen’s time period as a middle-class unmarried woman, I would want to find a suitor who was able to provide the financial stability I needed. Although I do not believe in marrying for money, it is important that a woman, especially those from lower classes, be able to have an opportunity to be secured. As a middle-class woman, I would have a different role in society as I do today. Women in the eighteenth-century were raised to be submissive and almost powerless to their husbands. They were also raised to bear offspring and tend to the house. Today, I have the privilege to accomplish anything I aspire to do. Marital and societal norms nowadays completely differ from those in Austen’s time because we have the ability to marry who we want without being harshly judged. Gay marriage is now acceptable whereas before in Austen’s time, it was not socially acceptable due to their strong beliefs based on the Catholic religion. We have the opportunity to express our sexual orientations freely with lesser consequences than those living in the eighteenth century. Gender roles nowadays compared to those in Austen’s time have drastically changed. Growing up as a woman in England during the eighteenth-century, their morals and values were towards finding a husband, bearing children, and housework. Men, on the other hand, had limitless power. They were expected to rule over their wives and gain as much property and wealth as they could. Today, women have the ability to be independent and strive for their dreams. There are countless opportunities for both men and women.


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