The Proposals of Upperclassmen to Settle for Marriage in the Novel Passages of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens

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Updated: Nov 23, 2022
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The Proposals of Upperclassmen to Settle for Marriage in the Novel Passages of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens essay

Jane Austen’s and Charles Dickens’ novel passages are both proposals from upperclassmen settling for marriage. Austen’s character poorly proposes to his cousin with the intent of marriage as a social obligation, while Dicken’s character proposes by describing the challenges he has and will overcome if they marry.

Jane Austen’s character holds a pretentious personality, where he assumes his cousin will say, “yes,” to his proposal because of his status. The motivation for marriage is socially charged by his practice as a clergyman it is his duty “to set the example of matrimony in his parish.” There is no romantic feeling guiding this proposal, in fact, he states that the woman addressed is “acceptable.” An interesting factor is that his standard for a future wife is based off of impressing his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. He frequently compliments his “noble patroness” in the presence of his proposee. By referencing to Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s suggestion as his true motive behind his proposal and claiming that when Elizabeth Bennet’s wit and vivacity will be “tempered with the silence and respect which her rank will inevitably excite,” he warns his cousin against voicing her opinions as she usual does and practically states that she is beneath his patroness and must keep quiet out of respect and awe. His overconfidence in the proposee’s acceptance leads to believe that he doesn’t have to woe her, and states how she is just “acceptable to her.” All of these factors will lead to a rejection of his proposal. He offends his cousin by belittling her to his patroness and even exposes his social pressure for major.

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The character in Charles dicken’s novel gives a desperate proposal which uses flowered language to hide an internal conflict. He begins with the romantic statement of having fought long and hard for love as he cries out that he has been “under the influence of some tremendous attraction which I have resisted in vain,” and this ongoing struggle has lead to this ultimate confusion of thoughts. However this creative sentence holds an underlying meaning and poses the rhetorical questions of “Why did he have to resist his love?” and “Is his love simply a materialistic lust or is it substantial?” His intent was to portray his commitment to his proposal similar to a knight vanquishing a dragon for his maiden’s honor. The misgivings of his pursuits are that his cause is not noble like a knight’s it is selfish because of her implied lower social status. Dicken’s provides evidence in his writing as the character first attempted to say “I would go and do anything with you” but instead belittles her by saying “you could draw me to exposure and disgrace.” His poor proposal then attempts to bribe the bride by referencing his good relations to members of her family. Taking amidst the romantic language the proposee won’t notice the harsh condescending tone of his proposal and will agree to his “earnest” offer of marriage.

The men in both novels through their own personal intents fail to offer themselves in marriage surrounded by love. Austens’s novel contains a pretentious man who seems to love his patroness more than the woman he is proposing to and Dickens’ novel reveals a condescending lover who loves himself more.

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The Proposals of Upperclassmen to Settle for Marriage in the Novel Passages of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. (2022, Nov 23). Retrieved from