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"Jane Austen is driven by her interest in the relationships between men
Explore "P&P" in the light of this comment with references to "TYW". To
what extent is this true of the texts?
While both texts have very different genres, Pride and Prejudice being a romance
novel and The Yellow Wallpaper being a gothic short story, they each have certain
themes and ideas in common.
Marriage is a main theme running throughout Pride and Prejudice, with it introduced
on the very first page, `a single man... must be in want of a wife', and the great
conclusion of the novel being Elizabeth's and Darcy's engagement. The tone of the
narrator on the first page hints very heavily at sarcasm, suggesting that Austen (if
this is who the narrator is supposed to be) may be critical of the Georgian views and
conventions relating to marriage, or the contemporary preoccupation with it.
This captivation with marriage is demonstrated effectively by Mrs Bennet. She
spends her time hoping for young men to appear and marry her daughters. Long
before she knows anything of Bingley, Mrs Bennet begins declaring `A single man of
large fortune... what a fine thing for our girls!' and starts to plan Bingley's life before
he has even moved in `I am thinking of his marrying one of them (her daughters)'
adding that `it is likely he may fall in love with one of them'. Ironically, Mrs Bennet's
improbably expectation is realised.
Bingley turns out to be an almost angelic character, `good looking and gentleman
like', however Mrs Bennet would have accepted anyone as a son-in-law regardless of
countenance. This is proved by her reaction to Lydia and Wickham's marriage. The
shame of elopement and the hopelessness of the union are all but forgotten in her
excitement that Lydia has gained a husband. The man who dishonourably attempted
to seduce her daughter is suddenly referred to as `Dear Wickham' denoting affection
for such a deceitful, impetuous man.
Also, through the use of free indirect discourse, Austen presents the reader with a
negative opinion on Darcy, using Mrs Bennet's voice. `Everybody hoped he would
never come there again.' Has an almost childlike tone to it, a tone synonymous to
Mrs Bingley's overdramatic outbursts such as `Ah! You do not know what I suffer'.
This idea of Mrs Bingley's dislike is confirmed by the narrator in the very next line
`Among the most violent against him was Mrs Bennet'. The use of the word `violent'
succeeds in portraying her utter dislike of his seemingly `forbidding, disagreeable
countenance'. Mrs Bennet's `violent' dislike is a far cry from the joy she feels
towards Darcy and Elizabeth's marriage. `Happy... was the day on which Mrs Bennet
got rid of her two most deserving daughters'. Surely if she was so against Darcy to
start with, she would be against such a union? Perhaps this is an example of the
novels Bildungsroman form, Mrs Bennet learns that first impressions are not to be
trusted and educates her self on Mr Darcy's true character. Or perhaps she was just
pleased her personal dream of marrying off her daughters was being realised.
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In the yellow wallpaper, the marriage the reader is presented with obviously has its
flaws. Affection is shown on both sides, in a somewhat patronising tone in `Dear
John's' case. He called the female narrator his `little goose', treating almost as he
would a child, and appears to dominate the relationship. However the narrator
describes him as `careful and loving' hardly letting her stir without special direction.
Perhaps she is being sincere, or maybe she has fooled herself into thinking she is
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shown in chapter four, when Jane and Elizabeth are alone. Jane, who had bee
'cautious in her praise of Mr. Bingley' now reveals her 'admiration' of him. Austen
uses a pattern of three to portray Jane's positive opinion on the new resident,
'sensible, good humoured, lively', seemingly a perfect match for the delicate Jane.
The close relationship between Elizabeth and Jane is portrayed throughout this
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becomes blurred, the woman becomes clearer. At first she reacts negatively to this
new discovery 'It is like a woman stooping down... I don't like it a bit', however as the
story progresses her affection increases 'that poor thing began to crawl... I ran to
help her', yet even though she seems to be trying to 'help' her escape the 'bars'
behind the wallpaper, she goes on to say 'If the woman does get out...…read more