Open Access Thesis
Master of Arts (MA)
Department or School
English Language and Literature
Laura George, PhD
Margaret Dobbins, PhD
Reading Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Emma from a feminist perspective reveals Austen’s desire for progressive marriages built on equality and love. Comparing the characteristics and eventual marriages of Austen’s heroines, Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse, to other women and relationships in her novels highlights their uniqueness as women of agency who desire more than the society of Regency England offered women. Through such comparisons, Austen brilliantly displays her critique of the patriarchal society and the limitations that it set on women. Her critique is further established in the two novels through her emphasis on breaking down the false patriarchal dichotomies that were prevalent in her society. Austen’s fight for women’s equality aligns her with other feminist thinkers of the time, such as Mary Wollstonecraft, and works to set the stage for what would later become first-wave feminism.
Miller, Alexis, "Feminism by proxy: Jane Austen’s critique of patriarchal society in Pride and Prejudice and Emma" (2021). Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations. 1122.