Netherfield Park: Mr. Bingley and Mr. Bennet
I feel happy that I can keep my promise of yesterday that I would write about Pride and Prejudice for the whole month of October 2009. This is the first day and today, I read the first two chapters of the novel. They mainly deal with Mr. and Mrs Bennet. Mrs. Bennet is excited that a rich and single young man has come to stay atNetherfield Park. She thinks that it is a great opportunity for her five daughters because this rich young man named Mr. Bingley may get married with one of his daughters. So, in Chapter I, she tries to persuade Mr. Bennet to visit him and get acquainted. Mr. Bennet makes fun with her.
In second chapter, we find that Mr. Bennet had already visited Netherfield Park and met Mr. Bingley. This matter came as a great shock to his wife and daughters and they all are very happy.
It gives us a glimpse of the social condition of Jane Austen’s time. Marriage was the most important thing for girls. Later we will know the reason. Inheritance law was bad and since, Mr. Bennet did not have any son so after his death, the wealth would not go to his family members (daughters). So, it was important for the girls to get married with men of decent income.
If we look at today’s Britain then it is clear that things have changed totally. Many young men and women do not even want to get married and live together and even many children are born out of wedlock. So, people like Mrs. Bennet in our time are not worried for their daughters getting married to rich young men in England. Well, many of them are perhaps worried that whether their girls would get married at all. In 200 years, British society has transformed from a family oriented one to individualistic one. Netherfield Park has lost significance.