History Headscratchers / PrideAndPrejudice

30th May '16 3:12:19 PM bombadilla
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** But why does he think it would be that easy? After all, Lydia isn't an orphan, she isn't somebody's neglected ward or anything. She's a primary member of a very solidly upper (or upper-middle?) class (if not particularly rich or influential) family who would definitely be very invested in saving her honour, who therefore wouldn't be willing to let him get off the hook so easily.

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** But why does he think it would be that easy? After all, Lydia isn't an orphan, she isn't somebody's neglected ward or anything. She's a primary member of a very solidly upper (or upper-middle?) class (if not particularly rich or influential) family who would definitely be very invested in saving her honour, who therefore wouldn't be willing to let him get off the hook so easily.
19th Apr '16 5:35:51 AM Carmilla
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** The legal situation was actually even more complicated than this. It's not just a question of people being reluctant to leave property to their daughters because daughters would leave the family; legally, you could only leave land or property to your daughters ''to be split evenly between them''. (Money could be split unevenly, but not land.) There was no way under English law at the time to leave your whole estate to only one of your daughters, or even one of your sons other than your firstborn - either all the property went to your eldest son, or all the property was divided evenly between your children, thus putting an end to the estate as an entity. (If you wanted to leave your estate to say, your third son, you'd have to completely disinherit and possibly even disown the older two, and they'd probably be able to take you to court over it.) The purpose of entailment was not just to keep land in the family, but to keep it intact as an estate. Anne de Bourgh is able to inherit Rosings ''only'' because she is an only child. If she'd had a sister, her father would probably have entailed the property rather than have it split in half.
19th Apr '16 5:08:11 AM Carmilla
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** Also worth noting that even if the entail wasn't broken, a Bennet son would be responsible for his mother and unmarried sisters after his father's death. With no son, that responsibility falls to the sisters' husbands; any reasonably well-off man marrying a Bennet sister could expect his obligations towards Mrs Bennet and any of her unmarried daughters to be written into the marriage contract. So as the situation stands in the book, the Bennet girls aren't just bringing very little money to a marriage, they're actually bringing liability to it. Having a brother wouldn't necessarily give them any more money, but at least the liability would be removed.
18th Mar '16 8:19:54 AM DoctorNemesis
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** Ultimately the problem with Mrs Bennet is not that she's wrong to consider it urgent that her daughters get married, it's that she views marriage as the end in and of itself, rather than being a ''means'' to an end -- that end being, the future stability, happiness and prosperity of her daughters. It's pretty clear throughout the novel that she's not particularly picky about ''who'' they marry, or whether that man is suitable or will make her daughters happy. It's most obviously apparent in her ridiculous giggling and fawning over Lydia and Wickham's marriage when it should be immediately obvious to any halfway responsible parent with a modicum of good sense that this particular marriage is nothing to be celebrated and that Wickham is far from a suitable son-in-law.
18th Mar '16 7:49:59 AM DoctorNemesis
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** It's also an illustration of how utterly single-minded yet careless and foolish she is in her quest to get her daughters married; she's ultimately not that bothered by ''who'' they marry, just that they marry someone, even if that someone is clearly inappropriate. Essentially, it's cart-before-the-horse thinking. Rather than viewing the objective as "get my daughters married to a suitable, respectable man who will secure their safe, happy and prosperous future", she's just viewing it as "get my daughters married, and the rest will sort itself out".

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** It's also an illustration of how utterly single-minded yet careless and foolish she is in her quest to get her daughters married; she's ultimately not that bothered by ''who'' they marry, just that they marry someone, even if that someone is clearly inappropriate. Essentially, it's cart-before-the-horse thinking. Rather than she's viewing marriage as the end itself rather than as a ''means'' to the end; instead of her objective as being "get my daughters married to a suitable, respectable man who will secure their safe, happy and prosperous future", she's just viewing it as "get my daughters married, and the rest will sort itself out".
15th Mar '16 2:43:14 PM bombadilla
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* Thank you all, and you were right, I've found (or rather, come across) the passage that explains why Mr. Bennett having a son meant more money for the girls (it's in Chapter 50): ""When first Mr. Bennet had married, economy was held to be perfectly useless; for, of course, they were to have a son. This son was to join in cutting off the entail, as soon as he should be of age, and the widow and younger children would by that means be provided for."

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* Thank you all, and you were right, I've found (or rather, come across) the passage that explains why Mr. Bennett having a son would have meant more money for the girls (it's in Chapter 50): ""When first Mr. Bennet had married, economy was held to be perfectly useless; for, of course, they were to have a son. This son was to join in cutting off the entail, as soon as he should be of age, and the widow and younger children would by that means be provided for."
15th Mar '16 2:41:49 PM bombadilla
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* Thank you all, and you were right, I've found (or rather, come across) the passage explaining why Mr. Bennett should have had a son (it's in Chapter 50): ""When first Mr. Bennet had married, economy was held to be perfectly useless; for, of course, they were to have a son. This son was to join in cutting off the entail, as soon as he should be of age, and the widow and younger children would by that means be provided for."

to:

* Thank you all, and you were right, I've found (or rather, come across) the passage explaining that explains why Mr. Bennett should have had having a son meant more money for the girls (it's in Chapter 50): ""When first Mr. Bennet had married, economy was held to be perfectly useless; for, of course, they were to have a son. This son was to join in cutting off the entail, as soon as he should be of age, and the widow and younger children would by that means be provided for."
13th Mar '16 6:26:14 AM bombadilla
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** As I understand it, unless and until the entail was broken, Mr. Bennet couldn't even make 'improvements' to the estate, meaning he couldn't do anything, except spend less money, to raise his income. If the entail is broken, he can take out a mortgage on the estate, and use the money to buy more land, better farming equipment, more animals, etc. With the entail in place, he is severely limited in what he can and cannot do with the estate, which, in turn, severely limits his income.

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** As I understand it, unless and until the entail was broken, Mr. Bennet couldn't even make 'improvements' to the estate, meaning he couldn't do anything, except spend less money, to raise his income. If the entail is broken, he can take out a mortgage on the estate, and use the money to buy more land, better farming equipment, more animals, etc. With the entail in place, he is severely limited in what he can and cannot do with the estate, which, in turn, severely limits his income.income.
* Thank you all, and you were right, I've found (or rather, come across) the passage explaining why Mr. Bennett should have had a son (it's in Chapter 50): ""When first Mr. Bennet had married, economy was held to be perfectly useless; for, of course, they were to have a son. This son was to join in cutting off the entail, as soon as he should be of age, and the widow and younger children would by that means be provided for."
21st Feb '16 8:26:38 PM Helgatwb
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--->''[Wickham's] apparent partiality had subsided, his attentions were over, he was the admirer of some one else. Elizabeth was watchful enough to see it all, but she could see it and write of it without material pain. Her heart had been but slightly touched, and her vanity was satisfied with believing that she would have been his only choice, had fortune permitted it. The sudden acquisition of ten thousand pounds was the most remarkable charm of the young lady to whom he was now rendering himself agreeable; but Elizabeth, less clear-sighted perhaps in this case than in Charlotte's, did not quarrel with him for his wish of independence. Nothing, on the contrary, could be more natural; and while able to suppose that it cost him a few struggles to relinquish her, she was ready to allow it a wise and desirable measure for both, and could very sincerely wish him happy.''

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--->''[Wickham's] apparent partiality had subsided, his attentions were over, he was the admirer of some one else. Elizabeth was watchful enough to see it all, but she could see it and write of it without material pain. Her heart had been but slightly touched, and her vanity was satisfied with believing that she would have been his only choice, had fortune permitted it. The sudden acquisition of ten thousand pounds was the most remarkable charm of the young lady to whom he was now rendering himself agreeable; but Elizabeth, less clear-sighted perhaps in this case than in Charlotte's, did not quarrel with him for his wish of independence. Nothing, on the contrary, could be more natural; and while able to suppose that it cost him a few struggles to relinquish her, she was ready to allow it a wise and desirable measure for both, and could very sincerely wish him happy.''''
** As I understand it, unless and until the entail was broken, Mr. Bennet couldn't even make 'improvements' to the estate, meaning he couldn't do anything, except spend less money, to raise his income. If the entail is broken, he can take out a mortgage on the estate, and use the money to buy more land, better farming equipment, more animals, etc. With the entail in place, he is severely limited in what he can and cannot do with the estate, which, in turn, severely limits his income.
17th Jan '16 11:07:48 AM gothelittle
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to:

*** This is actually addressed in the book. Her uncle notes: "It appears to me so very unlikely that any young man should form such a design against a girl who is by no means unprotected or friendless, and who was actually staying in his colonel's family, that I am strongly inclined to hope the best." Elizabeth's response notes that Lydia has no brothers to step forward on her behalf, and the behavior of her father suggests that he is indolent and unlikely to stir himself, even to save his own daughter. (As Mr. Bennett departs almost immediately for London, this conjecture imparted to Wickham is, in fact, false.) In short, yes, Elizabeth believes that Wickham has every reason to think that there will be no repercussions; at least, no repercussions that he cannot handle.
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