The Jane Austen Factor

| | Comments (4)

Course assignment:

“Every young man with a large income leads the life of a hunted partridge.” 

This quote immediately brought a famous line from another book to mind, the first line in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”  It is interesting to see Fitzgerald’s view of women and men in the 1920s as compared to Austen’s female perspective in the 1810s.  However, while the two sentences above may seem to be expressing opposing views, they actually are saying the same thing.  Austen’s comment is laced with irony; she too realizes that frequently it is the women who do the pursuing, not the men.  And while women were forced into certain roles during these respective times, that does not mean they quietly went along with these expectations.  While they may have needed to retain the appearance of the time’s stereotypes, their minds did not.  Marjorie explains, “’I hate dainty minds…But a girl has to be dainty in person.  If she looks like a million dollars she can talk about Russia, ping-pong, or the League of Nations and get away with it.’”  The most interesting aspect to me though, is that Fitzgerald, a male, was able to look into female society and come up with such conclusions.    


Maddie Gillespie said:

You made a wonderful observation that really opened my eyes and made me think! I stand in agreement with said observations and the relation between Austin and Fitzgerald. When I read the quote you used above, I thought that I was in agreement with Marjorie. Then, I started to wonder if that wasn't a bad thing. Anyways, women will probably always hunt after the rich men and vice versa. Money makes the world go 'round these days, no?

Jeanine O'Neal said:

I was going to pick this quote instead of the one I did pick, but not for the same reason you did. When I first read the quote, it reminded me of "The Bachelor" and how all these women want to marry him just because they think he has money. He is then in essence the "hunted partridge."

That is an interesting arguement. The last quote in particular was a neat role reversal considering the time period in which this story set in.

Erica Gearhart said:

I love the ideas you present here. However, although Fitzgerald and Austen came up with the same conclusions, both poking fun at the fact that women search for rich men, I think Fitzgerald's view is somewhat incorrect. Yes, people have and will always search for partners who are wealthy, but in Austen's day this was a necessity. A woman could not really make money in any other way. Austen herself was breaking social norms when she wrote for pay. However, in Fitzgerald's time period, women were much more independent. This was the time period when women went to work, earned the right to vote and basically showed that men were not as important for their daily survival as they had previously been. It would have been much less likely for a woman to search for a rich man in Fitzgerald's time than in Austen's.

Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.


February 2008

Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
          1 [2]
[3] 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29