Module 4: Marriage, and in particular marrying well, dominat

Module 4: Marriage, and in particular marrying well, dominates “Pride and Prejudice’ and “A Room with a View.’ Explore and compare how marriage is presented in these novels. Both “Pride and Prejudice’ (1813) and “A Room with a View’ (1908) are social comedies exploring the existence of humans as social beings, primarily young, middle class women. Despite being written approximately 200 and 100 years ago respectively, these novels are still very popular with modern readers. Middle class women of these eras did not work, a good marriage being their ambition in life. Austen and Forster used the search for an appropriate union as the key themes for their novels. In the close knit societies depicted, the heroine’s approach to marriage is very much affected by her social influences, whether they be characters or events. The effect of these influences upon both Elizabeth Bennett and Lucy Honeychurch eventually leads to an all important moment of self-realisation and revelation which ultimately allows them to make the “correct” decision (according to the narrative voice), to marry Mr Darcy and George Emerson. Despite these apparent structural similarities, the authors vary in their presentation of their heroines. I have decided to focus upon the presentation of the “moments of revelation’ and the attitudes as to what constitutes a “good marriage’ in each novel. These aspects of the novels are heavily influenced by the historical and cultural contexts of the time. It is very important not to oversimplify Jane Austen’s view of marriage: unlike Forster she does not advocate the argument that love is the only important factor to consider when choosing a partner. This is probably because of the differences in their societies; one critic remarked of Austen; “without a doubt”?her loyalties are to the writers of the past” . They also suggested that in a similar way to her heroine, by 25 years old she had: “…

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