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Character reflects ones marriage or attitudes towards love


日期:2009年09月23日 作者:byspaper 编辑:adminlunwen518OP  
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Character reflects ones marriage or attitudes towards love

Jane was the most mild, kind and modest girl in this novel. Her character is vividly showed in many parts of the novel. “Compliments always take you (Jane) by surprise, and me (Elizabeth) never” and “ Oh, You (Jane) are a great deal too apt you know, to like people in general, you never see a fault in any body, all the world are too good and agreeable in your eyes. I (Elizabeth) never heard you speak ill of a human being in my life.” (George Saintsbury 194)We can see from here that it is quite natural for Jane, so kind and innocent, falls love with the pleasant and simple Bingley. She adored Bingley very much. But her tranquility and introversion nearly consumed her felicity. Jane was so excessively demure that even when her heart was fluttering with romantic passion, her manner showed only genteel pleasure and politeness. It was generally evident that Jane was yielding to the preference which she had begun to entertain for him from the first, and was in a way to be very much in love; but she considered with pleasure that it was not likely to be discovered by the world in general, since Jane united with great strength of a feeling, a composure of temper and a uniform cheerfulness of manner, which would guard her from the suspicious of the impertinent. Jane cherished her feelings towards Bingley, yet she chose to conceal it. She tried to control her passion, lest anyone find it. Darcy, therefore, could detect no attachments from her serene appearance and forms the idea that Bingley was involved in an unrequited love. Then, great efforts were ensured to separate Bingley from Jane.

Having been informed of Bingley’s departure, Jane was in great distress. But she pretended to be all right and said nothing about her sadness. Her weakness and obedience had been thoroughly exposed now. “ ‘You doubt me’, cried Jane, slightly coloring “Indeed you have no reason. He may Ilive in my memory as the most amiable man of my acquaintance, but that is all. I have nothing either to hope or fear, and nothing to reproach him with. Thank God! I have not that pain. A little time therefore – I shall certainly try to get the better.’” That’s all her interpretation and solutions to the wound of love, “ a little time” (Jane Austen 134) can ease her mind, cure her wound. What a passive attitude towards love it is! They finally got married and lived happily ever after, which were the results of Darcy and Elizabeht’s efforts. As I analyzed before that Wickhame and Lydia’s marriage represents capitulation to personal claims. It is difficult to fit Bingley and Jane into this pattern because immobility, not capitulation or progressive adjustment, characterizes them until they are united by outside forces. They may, however, be connected to the pattern by noting that they possess traits necessary for adjustment but do not see this until it is pointed out to them. They are also related to the pattern by their inability to assert personal claims and resist certain social claims, which inability results in passivity rather than in adjustment or capitulation. In the thematic structure they can be placed towards the center, but below Darcy and Elizabeth in a realm of impercipience, passivity, and chance.

The combination of decent Darcy and sensible Elizabeth results in a successful marriage. I give this marriage much preference over the other ones, as it is a great inspiration to us and an ideal one we are looking for. Darcy first appears to us as a handsome but very proud person, cold and ill-mannered. “Darcy soon draw the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome feature, noble mien.” And “ he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud , to be above his company, or above being pleased!” (Wu Weren 125) As a matter of fact, he was a good man, a man of integrity, with the sombre attractiveness of a wicked one. His love to Elizabeth, nourished by day-to-day encounters with her, grew steadily and quickly. He admired Elizabeth for her intelligence and disposition, tried to understand her by every possible means. The more he understood, the more he loved her. His first proposal to Elizabeth is the culmination of the whole novel. Darcy. Suffered by his long-suppressed feeling, decided to make a proposal to Elizabeth. It was no easy thing for him to court her regardless of her humble family and her inferior position. But his ardent admiration for Elizabeth beats his consciousness and social position. While his arrogance spoiled the chance of being accepted. He chose to tell her that he liked her against his character, against his will and reason. His sense of her inferiority, of its being a degradation, of the family obstacles seriously offended Elizabeth. So she indignantly hurled his proposal back in his face. Embarrassed and ruffled, he didn’t lose the control of himself, he acted like a real gentleman, he asked Elizabeth to forgive him for having taken up so much of her time, and accept his best wishes for her health and happiness. His love to Elizabeth, undoubtedly, was ardent and sincere, even Elizabeth herself was quite astonished at his court and sorry for the pain he had suffered. “Her astonishment, as she reflected on what had passed, was increased by every review of it. That she should receive an offer of marriage from Darcy! That he should have been in love with her for so many months! So much in love as to wish to marry her in spite of all the objection which had prevented his friend’s marrying her sister, and must appear at lease with equal force in his own case, was almost incredible!” (Jane Austen 174)

Darcy’s steady character and noble minds determine that his love was not mere overnight’s impulse. After having been accused of arrogance and selfish of the feelings of others, Darcy decided to make a change of himself. In order to win the favourable impression of Elizabeth, he invited Elizabeth, her aunt and uncle to visit his Pemberley. No efforts spared on the part of Darcy, we can find his manners remarkably improved and his behavior strikingly altered! That he should even speak to her was amazing! – but to speak with such civility, to inquire after her family! Never in her life had she seen his manners, so little dignified, never had he spoken with such gentleness as to this unexpected meeting. What a contrast did it offer to his last address in Rosing’s park, when he put his letter into her hand! She knew not what to think nor how to account for it! Of course, she could account for it! Love was the real cause of all those amazing alternations.

We can get a better understanding of Darcy’s character through Lydia Wickhame’s case. He certainly had deep aversion to Wickhame for he had seduced his sister in vain and slandered him maliciously. However, his affection for Elizabeth outweighed anything else. He did his utmost to rescue L:ydia and Wickhame from their trouble. He met Lydia and Wickhame several times, extricate them from their debts and assist them in their marriage. Without consideration of humiliation and social position, he did all these things secretly and consciously. The only motive he professed was that his conviction of its being owing to himself that Wickhame’s worthlessness had not been so well-known, as to make it impossible for any young women of character, to love or confide in him. But we were all deeply touched by the real motive behind this.
Elizabeth is my favorite heroine. “She was a young woman very much addicted to making speeches, very pert often, fond of having the last word, and prone to hasty judgements, with really nothing but her prettiness and a certain sharp smartness of talk to recommend her.”(Margaret oliphant 290) She was self-dignified and sensible, valued true love as something noble and lofty, but never trade self-esteem with love, never trade money with love.

Her refusal of Collins’ pompous proposal is a mirror, which reflects, for the first time, her perception and character, and her attitudes towards love. Elizabeth lived in an acquisitive society, a society which treats a penniless old maid less as a joke than as an exasperating burden upon her family. Elizabeth, if she were not lucky enough to marry a rich man, would have not enough money to support her future life, which she was fully aware. Nevertheless, she turned down Collins’ proposal against her mother’s will. Because no love ever existed between them. Collins foolishness and falseness sickened her. We have already observed the insistent significance of the entail and Collins, who would inherit the estate when Bennet died. In proposing to Elizabeth, the magnanimous Collins said that he knew that she would, after her father’s death, had no more than a thousand pounds in the four percents. Such hieroglyphics, which Collins asked to threaten Elizabeth, but nothing could shake her firmness. Her choice provedto be wise later. Collins then married Charlotte, whose marriage was considered by Elizabeth as unaccountable and ridiculous. She thought that Collins was a conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly man and that woman who married him, couldn’t have a proper way of thinking.

Then came the proposal of Darcy, yet her prejudices against Darcy ensured the same results. There were three things Elizabeth seriously holds against Darcy: She thought he had spoiled Jane’s chances with Bingley; that he had done this because he despised the social position of the family, and that he had ruined Wickhame’s career without due cause. In spite of deeply-rooted dislike, she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man’s affection, and though her intentions did not vary for an instant, she was at first sorry for the pain he was to receive. Obviously, Darcy’s proposal was more impressing than that of Collins, as it derived from the true affection. But his haughty words insulted Elizabeth’s self-esteem. She was by no means to sacrifice her self-respect to accept Darcy’s court. She hurled his proposal sharply and decidedly in his face. “ I had not been for a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.” (Jane Austen 154) Ruffled and vexed as he was, he was still impressed by her courage and frankness. As a matter of fact, her harsh refusal of Darcy’s proposal increased his admiration instead of reducing his passions.

Elizabeth, however, was a witty and sensible lady. She tried to find the real character of Darcy through her own observation and understanding. Later, she was invited to visit Pemberley, Darcy’s home. At Pemberley, Elizabeth’s understanding of Darcy deepened. She never took anybody’s words lightly without giving them her proper consideration. Having been informed of Darcy’s great assistance in Wickhame and Lydia’s case and Wickhame’s true character, Elizabeth became more favorably inclined to him than ever before.

Then came the Lady Catherine’s visit. She was Darcy’s aunt, and came to clarify the rumor that Darcy had engaged with Elizabeth. Hoping to marry her own daughter to Darcy, she had charged down with characteristic bad manners to order Elizabeth not to accept his proposal. The spirited girl was not to be intimidated by the bullying Lady Catherine and coolly refused to promise not to marry Darcy. “ If there is no other objection to my marrying your nephew, I should certainly not be kept from it by knowing that his mother and aunt wished him to marry Miss De Bourgh. You both did as much as you could in planning the marriage. Its completion depended on others. If Darcy is neither by honor nor inclination confined to his cousin, why is not he to make another choice? And if I am that choice, why may not I accept him?” (Jane Austen 231)

Finally, Elizabeth married Darcy, a really successful marriage.

Collins and Charlotte seem assured of a more orless indispensable social equilibrium which Wickhame and Lydia lack. Wickhame and Lydia’s marriage based on great sexual satisfaction. The relationship between Bingley and Jane provides the novel with less movement than do Collins- Charlotte and Wickhame – Lydia, but it provides more subtle and perhaps more revealing contrasts to the Darcy – Elizabeth relationship.The contrast between Bingley – Jane and Darcy – Elizabeth enables us to feel poiganant modulations each time we compare one couple with the other. Bingley and Jane possess personal attractiveness and dignity, social graces, and a measure of good sense, but they lack insight, strength, and self-confidence. Jane’s indifference towards Bingley and her quickness to believe that he has lost interest in her show inability to assert personal claims and to resist excessive social claims. Bingley similarly lacks self-confidence, and he yields easily to criticism of Jane’s social position. If we can’t imagine Bingley and Jane acting much differently, we at least are strongly concerned and sympathetic with their weakness; we wish that they had the strength of Darcy and Elizabeth. Unlike Bingley- Jane, Darcy – Elizabeth are deep and strong enough to hope for each other’s continued affection even after circumstances have borne strong evidence against it. Also, they are able to stand up against excessive social claims. Darcy becomes willing to associate himself with the Bennet family ( Lady Catherine’s opposition is a much slighter obstacle). Although the excessive social claims, which Elizabeth must resist might be slighter, they are not negligible. First, she must resist an overbearing verbal storm from Lady Catherine (which surely would crush a Jane), and then she must assert her claim to Darcy despite her realization of her family’s true narture, of lesser importance are her embarrassments in informing her family that she will marry Darcy and her pain in observing Darcy in association with her mother and younger sisters. Contrast between these two couples are reveals dangers that hover near for Darcy and Elizabeth. Elizabeth could not act as do Charlotte and Lydia, but we can imagine her yielding to hopeless passivity. Darcy could not act as Collins or Wickhame do, but we can imagine him permanently stiffening into the inflexible pride he displayed in condemning Elizabeth’s family to her face. Such action would scarcely parallel Bingley’s behavior, but the weakness it would display would have effects like those of Bingley’s weakness. Most important of all, Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s differences from Bingley and Jane suggest to us the power of will which Darcy and Elizabeth develop, the ability to educate themselves which lies at the heart of the novel.

In this novel, Jane Austen, by describing four different marriages, expressed her viewpoint that one�s character reflects his or her marriage and attitudes towards love. At the center stand Darcy and Elizabeth whose struggles lead to areconciliation of personal and social claims. Far to one side of them stand Collins and Charlotte, who demonstrate a complete yielding to social claims. At the opposite extreme stand Wickhame and Lydia, who represent capitulation to personal claims. Although the Collins � Charlotte and Wickhame � Lydia marriages dramatize the possible fate of a girl in Elizabeth�s social position, their chief purpose is to show by contrast the desirability and integrity of the adjustment between Darcy and Elizabeth. Only Bingley and Jane help to dramatize alternatives which were significantly possible for Darcy and Elizabeth and thus to show the strength represented by their adjustment.

Works Cited

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Walton Street: Oxford University Press, 1970
Bush, Douglas. "Mrs. Bennet and the Dark Gods: The truth about Jane Austen," The Sewaneeb Review Autumn, 1956: 591
Marcus, Mordecai. "A Major Thematic Pattern in 'Pride and Prejudice'," Nineteenth-Century Fiction December, 1961: 274-79
Oliphant, Margaret. "Miss Austen and Miss Mitford," Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine March, 1870: 290
Saintsbury, Geroge. Prefaces and Essays. London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1933.
Schorer, Mark. "Pride Unprejudiced," The Kenyou Review Winter, 1956: 72
Wu, weiren. History and Anthology of English Literature (part 2). BeiJing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 1988.

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