College of Arts and Sciences
Marriage, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles
Anderson, Joanna S., "Marriage: A Formative Institution" (2014). Senior Honors Theses. 461.
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, features five main marriages that demonstrate the eighteenth century companionate marriage model in varying degrees. Many of the societal changes in the eighteenth and nineteenth century contributed to the rise of the companionate marriage, and these many changes are reflected in the rising genre—the novel. Specifically, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice incorporates the major themes of the novel as a genre, specifically, the rise of the individual and equality of souls, to show that the companionate model of marriage makes marriage a formational platform for two individuals. Austen clearly sets apart Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage as the strongest union because they prove to be better suited companions based on their willingness to make their marriage the foundation on which they form each other as individuals and as a couple. Through this textual study and by contrasting and comparing each marriage, Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage stands out because of their desire to make marriage a formational basis for their lives. While their marriage is a nineteenth-century fictional model, it holds truth that applies even today.