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Circumstance in Jane Austen’s early novels

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Nicholas S.
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  1. Importance of financial and social circumstance while marrying.
  2. The character of Mrs. Dashwood.
  3. Lucy Steele - epitomy of the common belief.
  4. Edward and Elinor's marriage and Miss Steele's and Willoughby's.
  5. Characters from Sense and Sensibility and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
  6. dominance of circumstance and money in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

Circumstance and money figure heavily in Jane Austen's first two novels?Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice?particularly in the way these social and financial considerations impact marriage. They can cause multiple problems, thwarting passionate romance, such as in the cases of Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars, Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, and Jane Bennett and Mr. Bingley; the same considerations also create affectionless unions motivated entirely by circumstance, as seen in the instances of John Willoughby and Miss Grey, Robert Ferrars and Lucy Steele, Wickham and Lydia Bennett, and Mr. Collins and Charlotte Lucas. The accumulated effect of the marriages in these novels underscores a predominant theme in Austen's writings: when entering into a state of matrimony, circumstance should be a secondary consideration to love, because without love there can be no marital happiness.

[...] Circumstance and money dominates Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, the considerations of which affect each character profoundly, particularly in the manner social and financial concerns impact their marriages. Consistently, these considerations only affect matrimony negatively, both in the way they blunt true love and the way they promote affectionless unions based on social and financial circumstance. In the cases of Edward Ferrars and Elinor Dashwood, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett, and Mr. Bingley and Jane Bennett, these matters of money and status keep [...]


[...] In the union of Charlotte to Mr. Collins, Austen strikes a more socially satirical note, taking an obvious swipe at a British society that forces women without fortune, or better romantic prospects, to either enter into a loveless marriage, or become an old maid. Unlike Lucy Steele, the reader empathizes with Charlotte, for ?without thinking highly of either men or of matrimony [marriage] was the only honorable provision for well- educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want? (83). [...]


[...] Regret is a trait neither Wickham nor Lucy Steel are in possession of, or ever display on the page. Like Lucy, Wickham is determined to secure a spouse with money. When his initial target, Georgiana, falls through, he turns his attentions elsewhere?also like Lucy, in her switching from one Ferrars to the next. First Wickham focuses on Elizabeth Bennett, and then, finally, he run away with Lydia Bennett. Ultimately, he is punished for his behavior. As is revealed by way of Mr. [...]

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