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Money played a crucial role in starting relationships between couples in both Bridget Jones's Diary and Pride and Prejudice. Money was essential to life in the 1800's and today, and many relationships between mates were made because of the role this money played in the couples' lives.
In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice it is seen how money played a major part in romance back in the 1800's. At the very beginning of the novel a man named Bingley of considerable wealth is moving into the area. When asked by her husband Mr. Bennet her intentions of meeting him, Mrs. Bennet, a mother of five daughters replies, "You know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them" (Austen 2). This statement combined with the opening sentence stating "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" (Austen 1) automatically gives the reader a thorough idea of how instrumental money was in making relationships back then. From this point on, almost all relationships between lovers (during this time period had to be married to be lovers) are largely based on money. Mr. Bennet doesn't have money to support his daughters in the future because he hasn't made that much and is giving it all to his next male heir, Mr. Collins. Due to this fact he and Mrs. Bennet know they have to convince their daughters to get in relationships with wealthy men.
While their daughters Elizabeth and Mary wanted to marry for love, it seems as though everyone else is motivated to be in relationships for money. Elizabeth's friend Charlotte Lucas does what is proper for a girl in this society. Charlotte marries Mr. Collins for money, stating that "I ask only a comfortable home" (Austen 87). The men also take a part in getting into relationships for money. This is shown when Darcy tells Elizabeth in his letter how Wickham was trying to marry his sister for her money. The letter from Darcy reads- "Mr. Wickham's chief object was unquestionably my sister's fortune" (Austen 137). Another example of Wickham trying to get money from a relationship is when Darcy has to pay him off to marry Lydia Bennet.
Money in the family plays a key role for couples during this time period. When Darcy's aunt, Lady Catherine learns of Darcy being engaged to "a young woman without family, connections, or fortune" (Austen 239), she is infuriated. She is a good representation of the wealthy of this time period, showing that to have a relationship with a rich man, it was taboo not to be rich yourself as well. Money from both sides of the relationship is also shown to be important when Darcy proposes to Eliazabeth earlier on. Austen writes of Darcy's manner during his proposal, saying "His sense of her inferiority-of its being a degradation -of the family" (Austen 129). Darcy sees Elizabeth this way due to her lack of wealth, and the standards society has imposed on them. This had to have made making a relationship with no money almost impossible, leading to a very unpromising future for those couples not fortunate enough to have money.
If not for money, many relationships would never begin in today's time either, as is shown to be apparent in Helen Fielding's novel Bridget Jones's Diary. The novel begins with Bridget's mother trying to pressure her into getting into a relationship with a man named Darcy for his money. Her mother describes Darcy as being "one of those top-notch barristers. Masses of money. Divorced." (Fielding 9). Already you can see money being incorporated into the relationship scene from this statement. Also, as Darcy is a top barrister, his girlfriend is a "top family law barrister" (Fielding 88) also and probably gets paid well for it. This brings to mind how the families in the 1800s also encouraged relationships with those families of equal wealth.
Magda speaks of how relationships between married couples in today's time depend on money as well. This is shown by her saying how she is a "obsessed lady who lunches while he makes all the money" (Fielding 113). While she seems to enjoy the support, she misses being independent of this dependence on her husband's money, wishing she was single again, and envying his independence outside of the house. Magda speaks more of his independence in being the breadwinner while she stays at home, saying that "You should make the most of being single while it lasts, Bridge, "she said. Once you've got kids and you've given up your job you're in an incredibly vulnerable position. This alludes to his ability to be able to do whatever he wants still, including with other women, and spend money at will while she stays at home with no job and is dependant on his money.
Money makes relationships much more promising to the couples involved. Bridget is attracted to being in a relationship with her boss, who by his position has more wealth and power than her, as "he is in top-level job" (Fielding 27). Later on wealth plays a factor in relationships again when Bridget reacts to Darcy's estate similar to how Elizabeth reacted to Pemberley "at that moment she felt, that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!" (Austen 163). Similarly, when Bridget arrives at Mark Darcy's, "At the door things began to look even more promising" (Fielding 199). This shows once again how money is indeed attractive in building a relationship.
There is even a get-rich quick scheme for Bridget's mom and her lover Julio, involving stealing money from everyone. Also, before leaving for Portugal, Bridget's mom convinces her to give her money which also finances the relationship. Bridget asks her why she doesn't ask Julio for money, to which she gets angry, "Can't Julio lend you some money?" (Fielding 234), to which which Bridget's mom "went all huffy (Fielding 234)". This is obviously out of frustration of the lack of funds in their relationship. If Bridget's mother and Julio had been well off financially, there would not likely have been a problem in their love life.
Regardless of the time period, money has shown to be key when it comes to creating relationships. You can factor many things into a relationship, but if money is not a part, the relationship is doubtful when it comes to forward progression. According to these 2 novels, aside from love, money is the most important thing of all in a relationship. It is noted that love was the most respected in a relationship by the authors, as both Elizabeth and Bridget didn't care about how much money the men they fell in love with had. Both books showed how it was society of the time that placed such pressures on individuals within the relationships. Luckily the men they started relationships with had money, so they have bright future ahead of them, as opposed to an unpromising future had they not.