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The Role of the Economy and Its Effects on Women’s Roles in Austen’s Novels

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"The role of the economy and its effects on women's roles is introduced from the very first lines of the novel. Austen says, "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife...[and]...he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other" (Austen 1) of the daughters of the neighborhood. Economy and financial matters is an appropriate way to begin the novel because it addresses a central problem for the main characters and for women in general in the early 19th century. Ownership at the beginning of the 19th century was denied to women. According to The Historical Context of Pride and Prejudice, "titles and property usually passed along a male line. Women were usually left something in securities, but such inheritances were often pittances that would not comfortably provide for a woman. While women of the highest classes managed to keep more control of their money and thus of their lives, women of the gentry,

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