‘IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.’
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
I have selected these few words for this week’s Trifextra challenge out of the billions of verses ever written because I love the way how Ms Austen uses them, with a cheeky tongue in cheek style, to set the whole tone for her novel. In just 23 words, she manages to ridicule the whole sacred and sacrosanct institution of marriage in her time. She brings to light the fact that women had no other option in life but to be married to a man of means if they wanted to be ‘respectable’, fed, and have a roof over their heads.
It was tragic that women had no prospects back then, no means to establish their own paths in life, but had to inevitably depend on a man for any sort of material comfort. Thinking of the female plight just a few centuries – in effect even to just a few decades – back I feel a spitting rage rising within me. And I think, so did Jane Austen and she summarises the whole situation – the whole ridiculous, tragic situation – with these apt 23 words in the beginning of what became her most famous novel.