The proposed paper:
Mrs. Bennet: A Social Climber or a Mother?
One of the less known characters of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is Mrs. Bennet. She is portrayed as a woman lacking in social graces and thus often embarrasses her daughters in public. She also took it upon herself to ensure that her daughters will marry the “right” kind of man. For her, the “right” person for her daughters is one who is rich, able to more than provide for the needs of her daughters, and can ultimately improve their social status.
When looked at from the surface, Mrs. Bennet’s actions seem to depict her as a social climber; that is, she wants her daughters to be rich and famous so she can probably enjoy a life of luxury herself. However, when analyzed from another perspective, perhaps she just wants the best for her daughters, especially since she was not financially and materially blessed when she was younger.
The paper seeks to evaluate, based on her actions as narrated and / or implied in the novel, if Mrs. Bennet is a selfish social climber or a loving mother who naturally looks after her daughters.
The response to the proposed paper:
I think this is a good place to start. It's easy to read Mrs. Bennett as a ridiculous character, at which the novel intends us to laugh/mock. But if you can find enough evidence for Mrs. Bennett as a maternal character in the positive sense, it would be very interesting. So maybe the distinction you want to make is not between a materialistic "social climber" and a "mother" (this is very vague -- are mothers necessarily, categorically different from social climbers?), but between a silly character and a sympathetic one. Perhaps also think about the other maternal characters in the novel (Lady Catherine, Lady Lucas) and consider the novel's attitude towards mothers' roles in the education of women. Also make sure to read the section on "motive" in the Elements of the Academic Essay and explain why this question is worth investigating.
This paper have to accommodate the reponse.
Due on April 11.
You may use I. The paper must have Thesis, Motive, Evidence, Analysis, Sturcture and title.
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