The Wedding Planner
Elizabeth Bennet is perhaps the most independent of Austen's heroines. Of course, we're all rooting for her to find true love and she does settle down in the end. But what do you think of the notion that the "heroine's journey" in Austen always seems to end with marriage? Austen herself never married, but weddings seem to exist as "proof" that her heroines have come full circle and are successful. Is there an Austen novel that you think might have ended just as happily without marriage? Is Austen's creative choice to end with marriages simply a sign of her times?
Though marriage can always be found in her novel, it is wonderful. I like full circle final.
Feb 3, 2008 3:51 am
I think it might be her writing of a journey that she wished to make herself.
Feb 28, 2008 8:46 am
i agree i think we wrote it becuase thats what she wanted as well. during austen's time it was more acceptable for a woman to marry and i think it left a gap in her and she tried filling it with her novels
Mar 31, 2008 8:13 pm
OK - I am on this insane Jane Austen kick, which stared about a month ago when I saw the Masterpiece theater Pride and Prejudice. then I read it, then I read Sense and Sensibility, then Persuasion, Now Emma. There is a pleasure in the way these women speak for themselves and negotiate a place for themselves in the context of the society they travel in. You bet these stories always end in marriage, it's a convention of the romance, but the heroines are extremely independent and it seems a victory that they find a worthy mate and a happy marriage, and they hold on to their integrity despite silly parents, impending poverty and social pressure.
Apr 2, 2008 7:51 pm
I've noticed that the strong heroines of Austen are only "conquered" shall we say by the stronger personalities of the men with whom they fall in love. I find the men are inspirational for their strong and good personalities. Austen's heroines refuse to settle for less than a man who is worthy of them.
Apr 6, 2008 10:28 am
I'm a big Pride and Prejudice fan! But, I do confess that it rattled me in high school when my English teacher pointed this out:
(STOP READING IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE ENDING OF THE BOOK)
Elizabeth condemns Charlotte when she marries Mr. Collins, because Charlotte only wants financial security, and doesn't really esteem Mr. Collins.
Elizabeth does esteem Mr. Darcy, but - lucky her! - he happens to also be the wealthiest guy in the district. So, it's all very well for her to preach that women should hold out for "the right one" - but she is never actually confronted with the decision Charlotte faced. What's Charlotte supposed to do? Continue to wait for true love (which becomes less and less likely to happen), or act quickly to evade financial hardship (which becomes more and more likely to happen)?
Jun 23, 2008 6:03 pm
I disagree I think she did make a choice, but marriage in Austen's time wasn't about love, it was about wealth and connection. Charlotte's choice is difficult for Lizzy to understand because she finds it crass and would rather be single than marry the wrong man, the fact that Darcy is rich, show's that Austen was trying demonstrate that class and connections were bounderies that could be broken for love...the fact that she refuses him outright at first, shows that she did make a choice, she wouldn't marry a man just for his money...that she later falls in love with him is what changes her mind. Also fighting against Lady Catherine's objections further shows that Austen was trying to show that those walls could be broken down for love, despite what society and decorum may think.
Jun 26, 2008 12:41 pm
That's a good point - haha, she did reject him at first. I'd gotten caught up in the happy ending. In fact (and this speaks to the first post as well) - it's amazing how readers can get caught up in Elizabeth and Darcy's romance, and miss the lessons Austen has woven into the other marriages and relationships in the novel.
For that matter, I think she actually presents more negative marriages (and potential pairings) than positive. Only Elizabeth/Darcy, Jane/Bingley, and Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are satisfactory.
Collins/Charlotte, Wickham/Lydia, and Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are all discomfiting, as would have been the pairings of Caroline/Darcy, Lady Catherine's daughter/Darcy, Collins/Elizabeth, or Wickham/Georgiana.
This backdrop of poor matches heightens the triumph of Darcy and Elizabeth. I suppose today's readers can't really appreciate how alarmingly likely unromantic marriage was for readers of Austen's time.
Jun 27, 2008 9:02 am