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Title: The proposal for a life time of happiness : the different types of marriages in Jane Austen’s novels
Authors: Foo, Lionel Rong Sheng
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities::Literature::English
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person in possession of a novel by Jane Austen must be reading about marriages. Austen ends every single one of her novels with at least one marriage, however, Austen’s ideas on the marriage market in the 18th Century are not simply based on some ideal fantasy of hers. They are, as Peter Knox-Shaw’s notes in his study on Austen’s influence by the English enlightenment, “firmly rooted in observation” (Knox-Shaw 8). So what exactly has Austen observed about the English and their marriages? Austen’s heroines and heroes are different in their situations and characteristics and from that, readers can observe the different types of marriages that are formed between these people. This essay will focus on three main types of marriages from three of Austen’s novels: the marriage to educate in Northanger Abbey, the marriage of contentment in Pride and Prejudice, and the “incestuous” marriage in Mansfield Park. A couple from each of the three novels will be studied with careful attention: from Northanger Abbey, Henry Tilney’s interactions with Catherine Morland, from Pride and Prejudice, William Collins and Charlotte’s Lucas’ situation, and from Mansfield Park, the incestuous affair between Edmund Bertram and Fanny Price. From these three separate marriages, this essay will show how the different situations in life will result in the different types of marriages that Austen will condone and how ultimately, the important thing is to achieve happiness in one’s marriage and happiness that will last and be sustained.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:HSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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