Jane Austen

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Marriage and Money in Jane Austen's Novels; Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Lady Susan During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, money was a controlling element in most marriages. Not only did money determine ones social rank but it also influenced the connections one could establish. Austen conveys her society's preoccupation with money, class and connections clearly in her novels Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Lady Susan. Throughout these novels, she eloquently illustrates how a person in possession of a large fortune is often to be better than those that are not as fortunate. These people of large fortune looked down upon anyone who did not have as much money as they did. Money there for established what class you were in as well as the connections that you could make with other people who were of the same general salary. Although there is not much room for a person to move up on the social latter, there are ways in which to do this; such as, trades men who earn enough money and would be able to buy their way into the gentry or even the aristocracy, much like Sir William Lucas and Mr. Bingley of Pride and Prejudice do.

Social class is more often than not established by who families, not the individual, therefore if one family member is disgraced, the entire family suffers for it, like in Pride and Prejudice, when Lydia elopes with Wickham. Not only could Lydia have been ruined by this foolish action but the rest of Bennet girls would be ruined as well. Women during these centuries are not allowed to support themselves; instead, their social rank was determined for them by their fathers, until they were married when it would be then replaced by that of her husbands. Unlike...