Are you more Marianne than Elinor, Lydia rather than Lizzy? Be More Jane will teach you to address life with more sense and less prejudice, taking useful lessons from the novels and letters of Jane Austen. Times may change, but many of our problems remain the same. Sophie Andrews, a young Janeite, knows from personal experience that in times of trouble, or just on matters of friendship, family and love, answers are to be found in the pages of Miss Austen’s novels!
In this brilliant extract from “Be More Jane”, Sophie channels her inner Lydia Bennet while examining marriage in Jane Austen’s time! If you’re like to read more, you can pick up a copy signed by Sophie Andrews by clicking here!
Jane on Marriage
“A woman is not to marry a man merely because she is asked.” Emma
Wise words from the financially independent Miss Woodhouse, but unfortunately, this was often the most sensible course of action in Jane Austen’s time. Love in marriage, though desirable, was a luxury. For many women, denied the opportunity to work or to inherit property, marriage was essential to gain financial security or better their social status.
Upper class women might have to accept a proposal from a man they barely knew and had never had a private conversation with, other than perhaps during a dance or two! Arranged marriages and marriages of convenience are still commonplace in some cultures today, but many of us are lucky enough to have the freedom to choose whom we marry, and to expect that love will come first.
When considering Jane Austen’s six main novels, all but one of her heroines face the need to find a husband as soon as they can, in order to secure their own future and sometimes that of their relations too. Poor Mrs Bennet in Pride and Prejudice is mocked for excessive eagerness and lack of subtlety in her matchmaking, but the urgency to marry off her five daughters is more forgivable when you consider her constant fear of losing the family home to their cousin Mr Collins, Mr Bennet’s entailed heir.