Published on March 10, 2014
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE By Jane Austen By sadistbluerabbit (Historical Analyzer)
Pride and Prejudice was published on 1813 during the Georgian Era. During this era, people under twenty one could not marry without their parent’s consent (that’s why Georgiana’s elopement with Mr. Wickham was stopped by Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam). It was also acceptable to marry one’s first cousin, which was why Lady Catherine was hoping Darcy would marry his daughter. However, people marry not because of love, but mostly because of the wealth.
CLASS The class system is used to distinguish between the rich and the poor. A hierarchical structure was enforced so that the people during this period would show respect and address correctly the people with more wealth, higher political, or social ranking than themselves. Hierarchical structure: a structure of data having several levels arranged in a treelike structure
COURTSHIP During this era, private balls and public assemblies were held for people to come together and meet; it was a serious business for the Upper Class. In this event, it is the job of the woman to find a husband, but she must not drop a single hint of her intention. On the other hand, the man who is in want of a wife must do the work to win the woman’s attention. There are many prohibitions for them. For instance, they could not have a private space to talk, they could not dance more than twice (the reason why it was a big deal to everyone when Mr. Bingley danced twice only with Jane), and they could not touch intimately (they have gloves on their hands). While the man and the woman dance, their parents watch and supervise them. The greeting and the leaving were performed with a slight head bow or curtsy. Curtsy: a woman’s or girl’s formal greeting by bending knees with one foot in front of the other.
PROPOSAL AND ENGAGEMENT When the gentleman was certain of his feelings being returned by the lady, he would ask permission to her parents. They would set a private setting to arrange the proposal. Engagement rings were not necessarily given as a symbol of the lady’s acceptance. An engagement was seen as a contract. A gentleman is forbidden to break the engagement once it was accepted and they had the lady’s parents’ consent. Moreover, a lady could only change her mind after a critical thinking and careful consideration.
MARRIAGE In order for a couple to marry legally, they needed a license and the reading of banns. They also needed a parental consent if one of them is under the age of twenty one. The ceremony must be performed in a church or chapel by an authorized clergy. During Regency (Georgian) Era, weddings were mostly of private occurrence. Banns are read on 3 consecutive Sundays or Holy Days, during Divine service, immediately before the Offertory Clergy: a group of people ordained for religious service
DOWRY When a wife from a wealthier classes entered a marriage, she automatically brought a generous dowry to the settlement; all her properties were transferred to her husband by the law upon their marriage. Men often use their wife’s dowries to shore up their estates and investments. The bride’s family would make an arrangement on her financial future as part of the settlement before they get married. The wife was often given “pin money” as her allowance for the whole year to spend for her personal needs. When the husband dies, the wife would get one-third of her husband’s land. After his death, a “jointure” could provide money and land to the widowed wife for her future, while leaving portions of it for her minor children. Dowry: property or money brought by a bride to her husband on a marriage. Pin money: money given by a man to a woman for her own use. Jointure: An arrangement by which a man sets aside property to be used for the support of his wife after his death.
INHERITANCE AND ENTAILMENT The eldest son inherited his father’s estate; younger sons inherited a little, and were usually compelled to marry into wealth and/or earn their own living. However, if the property is entailed by the previous owner, it must go to the nearest male relative. The benefit of having a property entailed, it protects the estate from being sold off. The disadvantage of entailed property is if the man has no sons (like Mr. Bennet), it would end up to his nephews, or even to distant relatives if there are no males closer. This would leave the widow and the unmarried women in the family in desperate situation if the heir chose not to help them (reason why Mrs. Bennet wanted Elizabeth to marry Mr. Collins).
BIBLIOGRAPHY http://www.isabellegoddard.com/regency-courtship-marriage.html http://reginajeffers.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/regency-era-marriagecustoms/ http://macliterature2011.wikispaces.com/file/view/The+Regency+Period %5B1%5D.doc http://macliterature2011.wikispaces.com/file/view/Class%26Hierarchy.do c/214596606/Class%26Hierarchy.doc www.thefreedictionary.com (definitions)
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