One Writers Vision: Jane Austen
Written Assignment 3
February 16th, 2013
Admiral Croft who was among the nouveau rich, had the financial means to rent Kellynch from Sir Walter, one of the so-called landed gentry. How (I assume this should be what) does Jane Austen's treatment of class and social mobility reveal about these men and their women such as Anne Elliot and Mrs. Smith? Which group fares better and why?
Persuasion is set in a time when landed gentry were beginning to lose their firm grasp over the money and power of society and were being forced to acknowledge not only the presence of the nouveau riche, but the fact that one cannot survive on name alone. The nouveau riche were faring better financially but were not accepted socially by titled men such as Sir Walter, who may have been losing their estates slowly due to falling incomes and a spread of the collective wealth of the area but were still not apt to welcome those from families who may not have been mentioned in Burke's Peerage. Social mobility was allowing people with new money the access to old families with title and position that previously would have been unattainable.
Austen shows an interesting difference between being rich and being titled – one stands firm and one is easily lost. Sir Walter is losing his fortune at a rapid pace, and along with it, his home and estate, while his title and position in society stand firm. He could lose every penny, but the title on his name would still grant him entry to most any home or societal function. Mrs. Smith, on the other hand gained her position in society by marrying a rich man, and when he died and the money dried up, so did her invitations to participate in the season. It is made clear that this is a common result of losing one's fortune, as Anne visits her and it is mentioned she is “living in a very humble way, unable even to afford herself the comfort of a servant, and of course excluded from...
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