An essay on Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"
Following the writing of Somerset Maugham, there is fiction which needs the experience that comes with age, so for young people such fiction is not interesting.
It's a very narrow world, the characters visiting each other in their manor houses. In this family all the sisters are constantly talking about love and marriage. In that period of the European continent, the age of Napoleon, noble families like theirs had little concerns. They go to church on Sunday, they gossip about the neighborhood. Very quiet.
But these days, this fiction is still very famous and there are many film adaptations. It's very strange, how did it become popular? At the time, the upper class, they didn't need to do housework. Their concerns were to find a partner, go to a ball, a very strong interest in love and marriage. Among the sisters, whether they need love to get married.
I think now, civilization is very advanced and we have many electronics which do the housework. Now the average woman in New York and Tokyo is liberated from housework. The average person now lives as if they have thirty slaves. The girls working in other times are discussing and thinking about love and what sort of marriage is good or not. A marriage with or without love?
Secondly, in that age, girls didn't have the right to inherit property. One prominent lady called Elizabeth thinks that, without mutual respect, marriage is nothing. So, in that society, if she gets older there's no way to live. If the other ladies get married to a rich man, Elizabeth can be a teacher to the sister's children. Their future is very restricted. But these days, from World War One onward, the girls have the right to inherit. In the book Elizabeth is proposed to by a nobleman. As a lady, it's a great chance, her future is guaranteed. His manor house is like a castle. But the scene of the proposal is very ridiculous, because her family is not as noble, whereas he is somewhat like an aristocratic. Darcy says that in his life there are many people opposing this marriage, but he loves her. But Elizabeth's answer is a complete refusal because of the impolite proposal. But if she was a more usual woman, she would have been delighted.
Such independent thought and action from a woman gets a lot of sympathy from modern women. And, as a Japanese person, I understand Elizabeth's strong will to be independent. I think this story is very modern.