Marriage in the early 1920s seems to be very important from what we read in chapters one to twenty-four. In the first chapter of the book, the first paragraph is about marriage, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” from this we can see that the people in the 1920 s thought that if a man happened to be single and rich then he must be looking for a wife. It didn’t seem to matter what type of person the man was, if he was caring or loving, or what he looked like, just as long as he had a good fortune mothers would present their daughters to him hoping that he would choose to marry one of them. We can see in chapter one that Mrs. Bennett is extremely eager to get her daughters married off.
When Mrs. Bennett found out that there was a young, rich single man moving into Netherfield she was delighted and really excited about the possibility of him wanting to marry one of her daughters. “A single man of large fortune, four or five thousand a year, what a fine thing for our girls ” As soon as she heard the news she busied herself preparing her daughters to be presented to the new man. She was determined for him to marry one of her daughters, “I am thinking of his marrying one of them” On page seven it says “The business of her life was to get her daughters married” This shows how important it was to Mrs Bennett to get her daughters married, that she was spending her life trying to get them husbands.
“If I can see but one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield, and all the others equally well married, I shall have nothing to wish for” Some women believed that you should marry for love like Miss Jane and Elizabeth Bennett, but most women shared the same opinion of Mrs Bennett and believed that love had no connection in choosing a husband, most of them wanted to marry for money to have a rich comfortable lifestyle. This was the opinion of Elizabeth’s friend Charlotte Lucas, Charlotte believed that happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance Her opinion was that two people should know as little as possible about the person of whom they are to marry, as she believes that no matter how well you know the person as soon as they are married they will grow apart. So it is better to know as little as possible so they don’t know of each others habits and can spend time getting to know each other and learning to love one another. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.
Mr Collins shares the same opinion as Mrs Bennett, he believes a woman should marry a man who has a good fortune and he considers himself to have a good fortune. He expects every woman would want to marry him. Having now a good house and very sufficient income, he intended to marry; and in seeking a reconciliation with the Longbourne family, he had a wife in view Unfortunately for Elizabeth, she was his victim, he had her in view to be his wife. Mr Collins reasons for marrying weren’t very good ones, his first reason was that he was a clergyman and he wants to set a good example to his parishioners. His second reason was it will add very greatly to his happiness and his third reason was that Lady Catherine thought it would be good for him. Elizabeth did not like his reasons and as her opinion of marriage included love and care and knowing the person she was to spend her life with she declined his offer, as she almost detested him.
Accept my thanks for the compliment you are paying me, I am very sensible of the honour of your proposals, but it is impossible for me to do otherwise than decline them Mr Collins was extremely surprised at Elizabeth’s reply and could not believe what he was hearing to be true, he thinks she is just playing hard to get and totally refuses to believe that she is refusing him, “It is usual for young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their favour, and that sometimes refusal is repeated a second or third time. I am therefore by no means discouraged by what you have just said, and shall hope to lead you to the altar ere long” Mr Collins then left Longbourne and spent the remainder of his stay at Lucas Lodge were he began to throw himself at Charlotte. He soon asked Charlotte to marry him and she accepted only because she believed him to possess a good fortune and could provide her the lifestyle she had desired.
“Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, cared not how soon that establishment was gained Without thinking highly either of men or matrimony, marriage had always been her object” Charlotte is convinced that she is making the right decision to marry Mr Collins, she feels this will be the only chance she will get of happiness as she is afraid she will die an old maid, “I am not romantic, you know; I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr Collins character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state” Elizabeth was not happy about the situation of Mr Collins marrying Charlotte, She thought Charlotte was stupid to accept his proposal as Elizabeth thought Charlotte could do better for herself. These thoughts most likely came about, as Elizabeth didn’t really like Mr Collins and felt he wasn’t good enough for her best friend. She was worried that Charlotte would not find happiness with him, but as she was a friend she accepted it as what was going to happen.
Chapters one to twenty-four say a lot about the importance of marriage in the early 19th century, marriage was important to everyone and each person had their own reasons why they thought it was important, for Charlotte Lucas and Mrs Bennett, it was for status and security whereas for Miss Jane and Elizabeth Bennett, it was more important to marry the person you love and wanted to spend the rest of your life with so they were willing to wait until they knew they were with the right man.