Justify Why Elizabeth Bennet, a Single Woman Witho

4108 Words17 Pages
As an educated woman of the gentry at the turn of the eighteenth century, one would have little expectations other than to find a husband with a significant fortune and estate, thereby insuring financial security. For women were almost entirely dependent on their male counterparts - for shelter, wealth and status in society. The idea was, therefore, not to marry for love, but for practicality, and availability. A woman with unrealistic expectations for marriage would, in all probability, live as a spinster for the entirety of her life. This state was most undesirable as the only option for an unmarried woman in her late twenties was to seek out work as a governess. The unpleasantness of this position, which would place you far below the average middle-class household and with little hope of social advance, meant that it became imperative for young women without fortune to find a husband. As her five daughters reached adulthood, it became particularly important for Mrs Bennet to source a secure relationship for each because once their father passed away; they would have no male presence to provide financial support. It was especially unfortunate that the Bennet family had not produced a male heir as their property, the Longbourn estate, was entailed in such a way that it could only be passed on to the nearest male relative. This meant that the girls would not only be left with little independent wealth upon their father’s death, but also without the security of a home. Consequently, Mrs Bennet had resolved that she would not rest until she succeeded in her goal. In other words, she well and truly “made it the business of her life” to get her daughters married. As a result, the somewhat cavalier fashion in which Elizabeth Bennet, second eldest of the daughters and main protagonist of the novel, refuses proposals from two well-respected gentlemen is truly atypical

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