The general consensus yesterday about Jane Austen's concept of marriage was that, though sad, it's true that Jane Austen would not encourage her heroines to marry for love if there was no money. Poor Mr Darcy may never have had the chance to marry Elizabeth if he wasn't fabulously rich, though I'd prefer to think she would have loved him anyway.
It's hard for us to understand this now, when there are career opportunities out there for people who are determined to improve their lot in life (though with the economic crunch, there are certain limitations), but in Jane Austen's world, few people could aspire to move beyond their class. People like Captain Wentworth are all the more "heroic" because they actually succeeded. The general objection to the Navy was that people could rise from the ranks and advance despite not having the backing one would need in the army. (If you haven't seen/read Sharpe, that's a great place to see how hard it is to become an officer if you're a commoner). With the prize money involved during war time, you could accumulate a fortune. Otherwise, if you did manage to make money some way or the other, it was considered "trade", which automatically excluded you from the ranks of the gentry. Luckily, with the industrial revolution, the middle class became much bigger, and the kind of social structure we know today grew out of it. Certainly for women marriage is no longer one of the few possible options. But in Jane Austen's world, it was a given. You had to marry well, and marrying for love was a luxury few could afford, if you happened to love the wrong person.
Well, we're almost at the end of this wonderful month of questions. Three more questions, and I'll be announcing the winners. Make sure to tune in on the 31st to find out if you're one of the five winners. You might have a book and a box of chocolates coming your way!
Pride and Prejudice question 28
Today's question is a film question: Setting aside previous actors who have played these roles, which actors would you like to see in the roles of Elizabeth and Darcy? Why would they be good in these roles?