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Pride And Prejudice A Woman's Satire

1104 words - 5 pages

Satire is a tool that an author uses to poke fun at a serious political or moral issue. In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen uses her satire to bring out the ridiculous in her comical characters. This is achieved through exaggeration of their manners and the use of humor to attack and show her disapproval for certain characters that represent the prevailing attitudes during that time period. But what exactly is Jane Austen satirizing? Many would say that she is satirizing the snobbery and shallowness of the upper middle classes. However, this is only half true. In fact, we must look at with more detail what exactly this snobbery and shallowness is aimed at. More accurately, it is aimed at ...view middle of the document...

Mr. Collins was to be sure neither sensible nor agreeable; his society was irksome…” (Page 120). Even so, Charlotte disregards happiness, putting it below financial gain. Because of this, we cannot forgive her, even if she is desperate. Another character who is obsessed with comfort and stability is Mrs. Bennet. Although she is ignorant about many details, she complains about the entailment of the Bennet estate, and becomes unhappy and hysterical. “Jane and Elizabeth attempted to explain to her the nature of the entail. They had attempted it before but it was a subject on which Mrs. Bennet was beyond the reach of reason” (page 60). Mrs. Bennet is so preoccupied with her daughters’ domestic stability later in life that she becomes ignorant of the exact details and as a result becomes unhappy.
Women’s vanity causes them to be unhappy. According to Mary, vanity “[R]elates to what we would have others think of us” (21). Vanity is another weakness shown by many women, especially in the book. One example is Elizabeth Bennet, who confesses to her folly. Throughout the book, she thinks that people see her astuteness and good sense. “I who have prided myself on my discernment!-I who have valued myself on my abilities! Who have often disdained the generous candor of my sister, and gratified my vanity, in useless or blameable distrust…….but vanity not love has been my folly” (202). Elizabeth is disappointed at her own conduct and prejudicial opinion of Mr. Darcy, which has been caused by her own vanity. This is the unhappy consequence of her vanity. However, in more extreme cases, vanity can cause even greater prejudice, especially to the lower classes. Lady Catherine is an example of this snobbish vanity. She expects anyone of lower financial standing to be subservient to her. This version of vanity is not so much associated with beauty but the vanity associated with class. Lady Catherine essentially wants and expects other people to think of her as a member of a higher class. As Mr. Collins says, “Lady Catherine is far from requiring that elegance of dress in us, which becomes herself and daughter…..She (Lady Catherine) likes to have the distinction of rank preserved”(158). Mr. Collins is implying that Lady...

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