The book is written for modern Americans, and modern Americans would find it in severe distaste to see a girl being blindly obedient to her father even when what he asks of her goes against her own wishes. Modern Americans want to see a strong female character that fights the norms to do what she wants. This is something that is highly valued in modern American culture. For instance, the suffragettes are highly respected historical figures because although it went against all cultural norms, they fought for what they believed in. Similarly, Birdy fights for what she believes in; the right to pick who she marries: I saw Shaggy Beard’s messengers in the yard, talking solemnly to each other.
This patriarchal society represented in Emma portrays the importance of marriage for women as it was their only means of financial security as well as the advancement of their position in society. ‘Emma’ had none of the “Usual inducements of women to marry,” because she had inherited wealth. Austen presents us to this world sympathetically as she uses an omniscient narrator that looks at everything from Emma’s perspective which is quite similar to Clueless as Heckerling’s voice-overs are created by Cher, which gives us an insight into her meddlesome ways. Emma still understood the importance of marriage for lower class women because she takes a girl of lower class under her wing, Harriet Smith, and tries to raise her status in society and find
In Austen’s time, the Regency Era, social status was decided by the person’s family background, reputation, occupation and wealth. Austen’s novel orbits around the heroine Emma Woodhouse, whom the wise narrator first introduces her as “handsome, clever and rich….” The collection of relevant adjectives straight away gives the reader the thought of superiority and a view to Emma’s family background. Even though Emma is first described as a pristine character, Austen fiddles around with irony as she repeatedly focuses on Emma’s flaws and imperfections rather than her morality. “Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing; but I have never been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.” This reinforces that Emma does not intend to find love for herself and this reflects her
Considering the carriage/car scenes in Emma and clueless, do you think attitudes to male/females relationships have changed from early nineteenth century context to late 20th century context. There are clear links between both texts, Emma and Clueless relating to how attitudes to male/female relationship have changed from early 19th century context to late 20TH century context. An aspect of change in male/female relationships is the existence of civility and manners in Emma compared to the way an argument can diminish your respect for someone else in Clueless. In Emma, when there is the conversation over Mr. Elton’s feelings towards Emma, there is a cautious effort to treat one another in a polite manner. For example “Angry as she was, the thought of the moment made her resolve to restrain herself when she did speak.” This highlights the vigilant effort to have respect for a human, no matter how displeased a person is with their actions.
Austin illustrates the restraints of social class through the establishment of particular relationships and characters. The ‘very pretty’ but not ‘remarkably clever’ Harriet Smith embodies the difficulties in socialising outside ones social class and Emma’s dialogue ‘I could not visit a Mrs Robert Martin of Abbey-Mill Farm’ illuminates the social restrictions of the class hierarchy if Harriet were to marry Mr
Lydia is incapable of seeing the shame she brings on the family through running away to be married, as shown in her letter to Harriet; “I can hardly write for laughing.” Her thoughtless attitude to marriage is highlighted here – although she is motivated by love, she hasn’t thought about the consequences of what she’s doing. This again illustrates a difference between herself and Elizabeth, who tells Lydia later that “I do not particularly like your way of getting
Marlene calls Thatcher; ‘Maggie’ – colloquial use of her name suggesting closeness, perhaps a metaphor for the incorporation of the prime minister’s ideology into society and presenting its strong impact on ordinary life, especially Marlene’s. Churchill however shows how this allusion to a return of the ‘stupendous eighties’ is unrealistic, Thatcher’s contemporary ideology doesn’t work for women or those of lower class unless they lose their identity but perhaps contrasting that it’s exactly this strong ideology that has enabled Marlene to succeed in a world of ‘monetarism.’ For example, Nijo doesn’t actually beat her husband but for the purpose of the play, to highlight the feminist theme, Churchill exaggerates - her thoughts and desires are so strong that they seem real. Nijo defies male dominance like Marlene breaks stereotypical male dominance by reaching ‘top’ through gaining the promotion over other male contenders. The embodiment of Marlene in the character of Nijo emphasises the loss of parts of Marlene’s identity. It’s ironic that Marlene sympathises with characters of Act1 and doesn’t realise the catharsis of her unconscious manifesting itself in this surreal scene.
For example, turning down Mr. Collins may demonstrateher as a no-brainer woman among the society at that time. But by rejecting him, this suggests that Elizabeth places her own judgment over social pressures to comfort. In spite of the fact that she has been forced to get married with Mr. Collins by her mother, she persists to her strong position of rejecting his proposal. Plus, although Lady Catherine tries to strong-arm her into rejecting any proposal from Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth gets angry and asks her to get away. Hence, it can be noticed how Austen stresses on the empowerment of women through Elizabeth’s
Elizabeth is a character who defies the social conventions of marriage in the novel. Austen describes marriage as ‘the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune’ (Austen, 2008: 104). Austen also states that ‘however uncertain of giving happiness, [marriage] must be their pleasantest preservation from want’ (104). This idea of marriage, as seen by social conventions of the time, is embodied in Charlotte Lucas. Charlotte does not desire love or happiness, but asks ‘only for a comfortable home’ (106), and believes that ‘happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance’ (18).
Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest mocks Victorian love and marriage through different characters in 19th century England, which is wittingly displayed using satire. Aristocrats such as Gwendolen and her mother Lady Bracknell both hold contrasting views, which includes what they feel is required in a life partner. Lady Bracknell strongly believes marriage is just a financial agreement and will not let her daughter marry a man who has no status in society. On the other hand, Gwendolen believes love triumphs over wealth, but Wilde seems to change her meaning of love. So is marriage really a result of love or can it be possible that it is simply just a business contract?