From Carriages to Career. Social Security in "Pride and Prejudice" and "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries"

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2015

14 Pages, Grade: 1,3



1. Introduction

2. Elizabeth
2.1 Pride and Prejudice
2.2 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

3. Charlotte
3.1 Pride and Prejudice
3.2 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

4. Conclusion

Works Cited.

1. Introduction

It is clear that in today’s society the necessity to marry is not as strong as it was in Jane Austen’s time. Back then, women had to marry in order to survive; now, at least in the modern Western world, this is not the case. Women have more opportunities when it comes to their future, without having to marry. For a woman to have a career may seem normal today, but in 19th century England this was not an option. However, the need to live a good and secure life is still troubling women today.

The web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012) is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813), where Lizzie Bennet vlogs about her friends, family and life. Even though Pride and Prejudice and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries take place in different times, social security still influences the lives of the characters.

In Pride and Prejudice, Lizzy Bennet wants to marry but only for love and not because her mother is telling her to. She rejects Mr. Collins' and Mr. Darcy's first proposal because she does not love them. Eventually Lizzy does get married, because she falls in love with Mr. Darcy and accepts his second proposal, thereby fulfilling her intention to marry for love. In The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Lizzie is a grad student, living at home together with her parents and her two sisters. She is single, but getting a boyfriend is not one of her concerns. Instead, she is trying to get a good job to start her career and to justify her expensive education.

Charlotte Lucas marries Mr. Collins, not because she loves him, but because she wants and needs to get married. She ends up unhappy but she reaches her goal to find a husband and obtain a secure life. Charlotte Lu accepts Mr. Collins’ job offer because she sees an opportunity in this employment to help her in the future. She benefits from this job at Collins & Collins despite Lizzie disagreeing.

2. Elizabeth

2.1 Pride and Prejudice

Though he is not as rich as Mr. Darcy or Mr. Bingley, Mr. Bennet is still considered part of the Landed Gentry, a part of the landowning upper class (Sheehan). He has an income of 2000£ annually, "[…] which, unfortunately for his daughters, was entailed, in default of heirs male, on a distant relation […]" (Austen 32). For a family to only have daughters, like the Bennets, was unfortunate because they have no direct male heirs to inherit their wealth and to keep it in the family (Sheehan). Since Mr. Bennet has no sons, his inheritance has to go to the closest male relative he has; in this case Mr. Collins (Sheehan).

This is why Mrs. Bennet is so obsessed with finding single and especially rich men for her daughters. "The business of her life was to get her daughters married […]" (Austen 4). She is concerned for her daughters’ futures as it was necessary for women in the 19th century to marry in order to have a good life. In this time "women have to lose their freedom and rights to self-determination in order to win at life- that is by marrying into an upper class that would support them for the rest of their lives" (Chin-Yi 5). To live in a world where an unmarried woman can hardly survive on her own, while having five daughters, who all have not married yet, can be distressing.

When Mr. Collins asks Lizzy to marry him, she declines because she does not love him. This shows that she is an independent and strong-willed woman, especially for that time. However, it is also selfish of her to refuse Mr. Collins’ offer. Lizzy knows that neither she nor her sisters will inherit their father’s property. With her marriage to Mr. Collins, she would be financially stable and socially secure because he inherits Mr. Bennet’s land. Even though this marriage would assure the continuation of her lifestyle as it is now, the aspect of being married to Mr. Collins seems so unpleasing to her that she risks her secure future in order to find true love. Of course, in the end, it all works out for her, since she marries Mr. Darcy, whom she loves and who is very rich and prestigious. Nevertheless, her refusal of Mr. Collins’ proposal is a bold decision because at that time she does not know that she will be married to Mr. Darcy. For the sake of her own independence and marital happiness, Elizabeth denies the opportunity to have a secure future and risks the chance of keeping her lifestyle.

Mr. Collins sees his proposal to Lizzy more as a business transaction than a romantic gesture. "This was his plan of amends – of atonement – for inheriting their father's estate; and he thought it an excellent one, full of eligibility on his own part." (Austen 83). He initially wants to marry Jane, but after Mrs. Bennet tells him that she is soon to be engaged, he changes his mind and asks Elizabeth instead (Austen 83). When he proposes, he lists his reasons for marrying. Not for marrying Lizzy in particular, but marrying in general:

My reasons for marrying are, first, that I think it a right thing for every clergyman in easy circumstances (like myself) to set the example of matrimony in his parish. Secondly, that I am convinced it will add very greatly to my happiness; and thirdly […] that it is the particular advice and recommendation of the very noble lady whom I have the honour of calling patroness. (Austen 124)

He does not mention any feelings he might have for Lizzy but rather names more reasons why he would make a perfect husband. "My situation in life, my connections with the family of de Bourgh, and my relationship to your own, are circumstances highly in my favour […]" (Austen 127). Elizabeth knows that, if she should agree she could never find happiness with Mr. Collins. "You could not make me happy, and I am convinced that I am the last woman in the world who would make you so." (Austen 126).

Naturally, her mother is shocked that Lizzy refused the marriage proposal, not because she thought Elizabeth and Mr. Collins would be the happiest couple, but because she fears for her daughter's future;

But I tell you what, Miss Lizzy – if you take it into your head to go on refusing every offer of marriage in this way, you will never get a husband at all – and I am sure I do not know who is to maintain you when your father is dead. – I shall not be able to keep you […] (Austen 133)

Mrs. Bennet knows that Lizzy just missed the chance of having a not necessarily happy, but secure life. She is concerned about what might happen to Lizzy when her father is dead and she still has no husband.

Even before Mr. Collins actually proposed to her, Lizzy knows that he might ask her to marry him. At the Netherfield ball it "struck her, that she was selected from among her sisters as worthy of being the mistress of Hunsford Parsonage […]" (Austen 103). Her mother also tells her that "the probability of their marriage was exceedingly agreeable to her." (Austen 103). Lizzy, however, choses to ignore this and hopes that "Mr. Collins might never make the offer […]" (Austen 104). She wants to dance with Mr. Wickham, but has to dance with Mr. Collins instead (Austen 103). This is also when she develops a great dislike for him:

The two first dances, however, brought a return of distress; they were dances of mortification. Mr Collins, awkward and solemn, apologising instead of attending, and often moving wrong without being aware of it, gave her all the shame and misery which a disagreeable partner for a couple of dances can give. (Austen 106)

Ironically this is also where Mr. Darcy first develops feelings for her (Austen 111).

When Mr. Darcy first confesses his feelings, Lizzy is shocked since she did not expect this at all (Austen 219). She refuses him even more vehemently than she did Mr. Collins. "[…] I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever prevailed on to marry." (Austen 224). After he leaves, Elizabeth cries because she is confused (Austen 224). Mr. Darcy's marriage proposal differs a lot from Mr. Collins' proposal. This time the man actually loves Lizzy and does not want to marry her just for economic benefits. However, at that time, Lizzy dislikes Mr. Darcy even more than she does Mr. Collins. Naturally, she refuses, making it the second proposal she declines. Darcy's large fortune does not affect her decision. Just from a financial point of view, Mr. Darcy would make an excellent husband, but Lizzy's severe dislike for him makes it impossible for her to agree to this offer. This all changes when Mr. Darcy gives the letter to Lizzy. After reading it, she realizes how wrong she was in hating Mr. Darcy (Austen 241). She starts to regret her decision when she visits Pemberley and sees the beauty of the place. "And of this place […] I might have been mistress! […] Instead of viewing them as a stranger, I might have rejoiced in them as my own […]" (Austen 280-281).

It is in Pemberley that Elizabeth starts developing feelings for Mr. Darcy, which grow even stronger over time. "It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley." (Austen 426). When she tells her mother of their engagement, she is delighted after an initial moment of shock. This is ironical because not long before, she still disliked Mr. Darcy (Austen 427). But after thinking of Darcy's fortune, she is exceedingly happy for her daughter. "How rich and how great you will be! What pin-money, what jewels, what carriages you will have!" (Austen 431). "I can think of nothing else! Ten thousand a-year, and very likely more!" (Austen 431).


Excerpt out of 14 pages


From Carriages to Career. Social Security in "Pride and Prejudice" and "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries"
University of Frankfurt (Main)  (Institute for English and American Studies)
Universally Adapted Truths: Versions of Pride and Prejudice
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
491 KB
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, Youtube
Quote paper
Anne Sander (Author), 2015, From Carriages to Career. Social Security in "Pride and Prejudice" and "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries", Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: From Carriages to Career. Social Security in "Pride and Prejudice" and "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries"

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free