Pride and Prejudice

Eloquence: The Window To the Soul and the Number One Requirement for a Successful Courtship

The world of Pride and Prejudice revolved around the relationships between its men and women. Austen made this theme obvious from the opening sentence. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife," (3; vI chI). The pages that followed dealt almost exclusively with the problems faced when trying to acquire a wife (or husband). This quest for a spouse was made difficult by the narrow focus of the book's social gatherings. Jane and Bingley could not make their feelings for each other obvious because they were "never for many hours together; and as they always [saw] each other in large mixed parties, it [was] impossible that every moment should be employed in conversing together," (15; vI chVI).

This conversing together was the desired result of any gathering, because it was the only way potential suitors and suitees could get to know more about each other. Faced with life devoid of In-N-Out burgers, movie theaters, and frat parties, Jane Austen's characters resorted to attendance at balls and afternoon teas to meet and better acquaint themselves with each other. Their interaction with members of the opposite sex was limited to the...

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