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Bad parenting in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park


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Novaković, Tamara. (2016). Bad parenting in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Knežević, Borislav].

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Family relationship and the topic of parenting in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park are discussed. The position of the parents and the upbringing or lack of it in the two novels is put into social context of Austen's time, in which the individual is still subjected to social norms and accepted behaviour patterns, but which also reflects the new ideas of a more balanced distribution of power and autonomy within the family unit. The focus is on two heroines Elizabeth Bennet and Fanny Price and the emergence of a new domestic female that dictates the path of courtship and marriage. In Pride and Prejudice, the domestic reform comes in the form of assertive and outspoken Elizabeth Bennet. In Mansfield Park, it comes through the recognition and incorporation of the poor cousin into the family. Elizabeth's father Mr. Bennet neglects his parental role, and Mrs. Bennet's main preoccupation is to see her daughters married. Fanny's substitute father Sir Thomas is an oppressive parent who alienates his children, and his wife Mrs. Bertram is a non-existent mother. Fanny's birth parents are equally inadequate. However, all parents make themselves inadvertently of use to the heroines. Mrs. Bennet’s habitual impropriety and her father's neglect challenge Elizabeth's passivity and provoke her into action. By distancing herself from her parents and learning from their mistakes, Elizabeth is able to grow and eventually achieve happiness through marriage. The negligence from her substitute and birth parents causes Fanny to further develop her sense of propriety and ultimately make her the moral compass of the story. In the end, the heroines achieve a balanced union between their private lives and the requirements of their society. Through the marriages shown in the novels, the idea is asserted that marriages based on love and esteem are more likely to endure the test of time than those contracted for material gain.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, family, domestic woman, domestic fiction, reform, parenting, parents, class, gender, upbringing, social reform, marriage, education, individuality, female sexuality
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Knežević, Borislav
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2016 10:36
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2016 10:36

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