Analyzing the Satire of Social Class Within Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice delves into the issue of why social standing in a society based solely on class should not be the most important thing when evaluating the worth of a person. Through several different literary techniques – such as letters and abundant focalizers – Austen conveys important information about key issues she has with the significance placed on social standing. The theme of class and social standing is echoed constantly throughout Austen’s novel in numerous ways, highlighting several aspects of the gentry that she distrusts. The entirety of the novel focuses mainly on the distances placed between characters …show more content…
This is how Austen is able to satirize these problems so efficiently that a modern audience does not realize that she is poking fun at the societal importance of class in her time and instead sees nothing but a charming romance. Yet Austen was doing much more than writing a simple love story.
The novel was written in a transitional period when peoples’ way of thinking was shifting from a romantic look at life to a more enlightened view of living. The ideals of the eighteenth century – where people saw society as organized and divinely structured – were quickly lost to the thinkers of the more modernistic views of society in the nineteenth century, in which there was a significant loss of faith in any spiritualistic based society. Instead, nineteenth century thought turned towards the idea of the individual as the only path towards order. This new idea of placing emphasis on the self was especially important to Austen, yet she realized that the tendency of an organized and structured society was to value a person by their material wealth, rather than who the individual really was. She was able to take both ideas and mold them into her ideal situation, which can be seen in the last few lines of the novel when Elizabeth is at last accepted into Pemberley and its heritage. It is here that the individual “remains exactly where Austen would have