Many people simply regard Pride and Prejudice as a love story, but in my opinion, this book is an illustration of the society at that time. She perfectly reflected the relation between money and marriage at her time and gave the people in her works vivid characters. The characters have their own personalities. Mrs. Bennet is a woman who makes great efforts to marry off her daughters. Mr. Bingley is a friendly young man, but his friend, Mr. Darcy, is a very proud man who seems to always feel superior. Even the five daughters in Bennet family are very different. Jane is simple, innocent and never speaks evil of others. Elizabeth is a clever girl who always has her own opinion. Mary likes reading classic books. (Actually she is a pedant.) Kitty doesn’t have her own opinion but likes to follow her sister, Lydia. Lydia is a girl who follows exotic things, handsome man, and is somehow a little profligate. When I read the book, I can always find the same personalities in the society now. That is why I think this book is indeed the representative of the society in Britain in the 18th century.
The family of gentleman in the countryside is Jane Austen’s favourite topic. But this little topic can reflect big problems. It concludes the stratum situation and economic relationships in Britain in her century. You can find these from the very beginning of this book.
The first sentence in this book is impressive. It reads: “It is a truth well known to all the world that an unmarried man in possession of a large fortune must be in need of a wife”. The undertone is very clear: the foundation of the marriage at that time is not emotion but possession.
People always think that Austen was an expert at telling love stories. In fact, the marriage in her book is not the result of love, but the result of economic needs. After reading this book, I know the truth is that a poor woman must be in need of a husband, a wealthy man.
I couldn’t forget how eager Mrs. Bennet wants to marry off her daughters. If you want to know why she is so crazy about these things, I must mention the situation in Britain at that time. Only the eldest son had the privilege of inheriting his father’s possessions. Younger sons and daughters who are used to luxurious lives have no choice but marry a man or woman in possession of a large fortune to continue their comfortable lives. Thus, we can see that getting married is a way to become wealthier, particularly for women without many possessions. Jane Austen told us that money and possession determined everything, including marriage and love in her century.
In “Pride and Prejudice”, the sister of Mr. Bingley strongly opposed his plan of marrying Jane because the Bennets don’t have many possessions and their social positions are much lower than them. From this, we can see there are a lot of obstacles for a not very rich woman to marry a wealthy husband. The society, the relatives would not allow them to get married.
In modern society, although the marriages of economic needs have decreased rapidly, the concept of “money determines everything” is still rooted in some people’s mind. A lot of parents try hard to interfere their children’s marriages. Education background, possessions, jobs remains the main reason that may influence one’s marriage. Marry for money is still a big problem in our society. We can’t help thinking: can money determine everything?
Austen left this problem for us to think. The genius of Jane Austen lies in this perfect simplicity, the simplicity that reflects big problems. Although Austen was only 21 when she wrote “Pride and Prejudice”, her sharp observation of social lives makes the style of this book surprisingly mature and lively. The plots in her works are always very natural. The development of the plot is as inevitable as a problem in mathematics. I think the depth of Pride and Prejudice is the reason that makes this book prominent and classic. Today, her book still can be the guide telling us the economic relationships both at her time and in modern time.