The Theme of Social Class in “Persuasion” College

‘Persuasion’, written by Jane Austen in 1817, is a novel which grapples with the key social and cultural issues of living in a patriarchal society, in which social class is viewed to be very important. Due to this, we are able to draw contrasts and similarities between the modern day, and the 19th century. Social class presents the theme is an array of ways such as; through marriage, the problems of class, how people behave due to class, as well as superficiality of class.

Marriage plays a vital role throughout the novel, and social class is important in this as it seemingly dictates who one should or shouldn’t marry. This is displayed by saying: “ he had purchased independence by uniting himself to a rich woman of inferior birth.” The verb ‘purchased’ conjures up an image to make it seem as if it was a transaction instead of pursuing love, and this is further emphasised by the noun ‘independence’, which creates a plethora of meanings and leaves the reader to create their own interpretations. One of which could be that he breaking the social norms by marrying someone outside of their class, and therefore becoming somewhat more independent as he is not reliant on social contradictions. Furthermore how hard it is to climb up the...

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