It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it."

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

"Do not you want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.

"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."

This was invitation enough.

"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week."

"What is his name?"


"Is he married or single?"

"Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"

"How so? how can it affect them?"

"My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them."

"Is that his design in settling here?"

"Design! nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes."

"I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better; for, as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley might like you the best of the party."

"My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be any thing extraordinary now. When a woman has five grown up daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty."

"In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of."

"But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes into the neighbourhood."

"It is more than I engage for, I assure you."

"But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on that account, for in general, you know they visit no new comers. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to visit him, if you do not."

"You are over-scrupulous, surely. I dare say Mr. Bingley will be very glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consent to his marrying which ever he chuses of the girls; though I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy."

"I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving her the preference."

"They have none of them much to recommend them," replied he; "they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters."

"Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my poor nerves."

"You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least."

"Ah! you do not know what I suffer."

"But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young men of four thousand a year come into the neighbourhood."

"It will be no use to us if twenty such should come, since you will not visit them."

"Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty I will visit them all."

Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develope. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.

* Pride and Prejudice - Chapter 2

Write about the presentation of marriage in chapter 1 of “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen.

‘Pride and Prejudice’ was set in the regency era. The regency era began when the Prince of Wales was appointed Regent of England after his Father, King George III, feel insane. This time lasted the years of 1812 to 1830. During this time there was strict class system in place - these were made in regards to family connections and wealth.

During the regency era marriage became a very important factor of a young ladies life. Marriage helped women to move up in society and to acquire the things they could not get from their families – money and freedom. Men were the breadwinners of the household; this meant they had the power to divorce their wives at their own pleasure, a factor that women did not own. Women did not want love out of their marriage particularly – that would have just been an added bonus - they wanted security, as they were desperate not to become a spinster and have to rely on their families for the rest of their lives.

Nowadays marriage is very different. The marriage of two people has become equal – both partners have the same rights because generally they each bring in the same amount of money and commitment into the relationship. Divorce is now acceptable among society and women can too divorce their husbands. However, many people now marry for love and not money because must people can afford to secure themselves without the help of a partner.

Austen wanted to marry for love but deep down she knew that she should marry for money, as she needed some from of security in her life. She thought that too many people marry for the wrong reasons – she could have been married as she had an offer but she chose not too out of her own principals. All Austen wanted was love and compassion.

As she never married Austen had to rely on her family to provide her with the things she needed. As a woman she was very remarkable because despite the judging of other people she still wrote. Women were told they could not write as it was seen as something of a masculine hobby and was frowned upon greatly. For her to write at this time was a very controversial thing as she stood up for what she believed in. Her writing showed courage and guts because she continued to do something which she loved when all the people around her disapproved. During her childhood Austen had read from her Father’s library and had become greatly influenced by 18th century comtempary writers Fielding and Richardson. These two writers were witty and ironic and I believe this is how she got her style of writing.

The whole novel, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, is based around the Bennet family and Mrs Bennet’s wishes to marry off all her daughters before she dies. “You must know that I am thinking of him marrying one of them.”

In chapter 1 of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, Austen uses irony to create humour and her first sentence is filled with irony: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” When Austen says rich, single men want a wife what she means is: women want rich, single man to be their husbands. The truth is women needed men in order to survive, without men they have nothing.

Austen uses irony and satire through the characters - Mr and Mrs Bennet. Mr Bennet uses irony to fool his wife who seems to not understand his humour. “…for as you are as handsome as any of them.” Mr Bennet is winding up Mrs Bennet because he really means that she isn’t as good looking as she used to be and she isn’t attractive to men anymore. However, Mrs Bennet does not understand this and assumes that he is paying her a compliment and that is not the case. Mrs Bennet is Mr Bennet’s vehicle for irony throughout the chapter.

Austen satirises regency England’s preoccupation with marriage through Mrs Bennet: “A single mean of large fortune.” Mrs Bennet is clearly obsessed with marrying her daughters off and Mr Bennet’s does not help this with his attitude of not being bothered.

Mrs Bennet wants Mr Bennet to go round and see Mr Bingley so that her daughters and herself can become acquainted with him. Mrs Bennet wants one of her daughters to in fact marry a man that neither she nor her daughters have ever met before. “But it is likely that he may fall in love with one of them.”

The 2nd paragraph of chapter 1 outlines how parents feel when a “rich, single man” enters the area in which they live. The man is then seen as the “rightful property of someone or others of their daughters.” Austen is satirising this because she finds it ridiculous that anyone can ‘own’ a man that they know nothing about personally - just their fortune.

Regency society was very formal era. We can see this because Mr and Mrs Bennet do not refer to each other with their first names but refer to each other as “Mr Bennet” and “Mrs Bennet.” This seems to be incredibly formal for married couple to a modern audience. “My dear Mr Bennet.” Also, Mrs Bennet refuses to introduce herself to Mr Bingley and insists that Mr Bennet has to go and introduce himself first. “Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to visit him.” This is very old fashioned – as it was back then – for the man to have to visit the man first before he can introduce his wife and daughters to them.

Mr and Mrs Bennet have been married for 23 years and have 5 daughters. With no brothers this means there is urgency for their daughters to marry ‘well’. If Mr Bennet dies Mrs Bennet and her daughters will have nothing - as their marriage is the only way to provide Mrs Bennet’s security. The girls cannot inherit Longbrown because although they are next of kin to their Father back then only men could inherit money or estate.

Their marriage has been 23 long years yet the Bennet’s seem to be so far apart and not at all alike. They could even be described as incompatible We can see their incompatibility in a number of ways through their speak, values, their understanding of each other, personality and their attitude towards their five daughters.

During the first chapter Mrs Bennet says roughly twice the amount of that of Mr Bennet. Mrs Bennet has a lot to say and this is mostly to Mr Bennet when she is begging, nagging and annoying him. Mrs Bennet has a very complex way of speaking and tends to answer anything Mr Bennet says with complex answers, which seems pointless. She talks as though she is powerful yet; she is the powerless one in this relationship.

Mrs Bennet does not understand who her husband is. “She was a woman of mean understanding.” She cannot grasp his irony, which suggests she does not have a great intelligence. Mr Bennet who uses this to his advantage does not help this by making fun of her lack of understanding: “You mistake me my dear. I have high respect for your nerves. They are old friends.” Mr and Mrs Bennet have two very different levels of intelligence and this seems to be a downfall for Mrs Bennet who has a misunderstanding of Mr Bennet’s sarcasm even “the experience of three and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character.”

The Bennet’s have very different views and values on their daughters. Mrs Bennet feels that she has to marry her daughters off soon to make sure she looks good for society and she does exactly what society sees fit for her. She thinks that if her daughters do not marry she will be a failure for not helping them to do so. Mr Bennet however, is more relaxed about the whole prospect of marrying off his daughters. He simply wants them to be happy and doesn’t really care what society thinks of him or his family. We can see though that Mr Bennet is possibly only saying he doesn’t care about his daughters marrying to wind up Mrs Bennet as this seems to be one of his favourite pastimes.

Mrs Bennet desperately wants everyone to think that she does in fact have the perfect marriage. It is as though she needs society to know that she and her husband are still madly in love and that they have everything they could possibly wants - a good marriage and five beautiful daughters. Yet, there lies the problem, she has five beautiful daughters that are yet to marry and this does not look good to society. To show she has a strong marriage she calls Mr Bennet “My dear” as though she is putting up a front for the people around her.

Each of the Bennet does seem to favour one or more of the daughters. Mr Bennet seems to prefer Lizzy saying: “I must throw in a good word for my Lizzy.” I think this maybe because he feels that she is more like him than any of the other girls; this is due to her intelligence. However, intelligence is not something that Mrs Bennet worries about and she values Jane more because she is:“handsome.” Maybe Mrs Bennet can see herself in Jane when she was much younger and that is something she wants to hold onto.

Mr Bennet is more relaxed compared to Mrs Bennet who is always on edge and fraught. Mr Bennet is only concerned with his daughter’s happiness compared to Mrs Bennet’s obsession with marrying them off. “I am thinking of his marrying one of them.”

I think Austen started the novel with this complicated relationship because it helps to create a feeling of conflict that could arise in many of the relationships throughout the book.

After reading the first chapter the reader will start to expect that marriage will play a key part on the following chapters. Readers may also relate conflict and misunderstanding with relationships, which follow. As satire and irony are key styles of writing that are used throughout the play the reader will start to assume that they will too feature in the rest of the book because of the somewhat humorous beginning. Austen has produced a classic novel that has been adapted into a modern version in the form of Bridget Jones Diary this shows that this novel is a timeless piece. However, Austen has been criticised for only writing about what she knows and what has happened in her own life. She seems very limited in what she writes, talking only about her own class however this works well and by using the knowledge that she had gained within her life she has produced an easy reading novel - this mainly due to the humorous beginning that Mr and Mrs Bennet create. They start the book off memorably and dramatically.

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