A Defence of Mrs Bennet, written by Jean Main-Reade
About the author: Jean lives in Truro and, in between writing articles for the local press and volunteering as a presenter on the community and hospital radio, she is working on an exciting writing project about the life of former resident of Falmouth who lived in the 1800s.
I love this article. Upon first reading P&P, I saw Mrs Bennet as a very silly woman. But years later, after hearing other opinions, I have come to the same conclusion. Mrs. B. was doing her duty and taking care of her daughters’ future. I still laugh at her silliness but I don’t have quite the condescending attitude I previously held.
I never thought of that before, but you’re absolutely right. Mrs. Bennett was the one looking out for her daughters’ future. Mr. Bennett was kind of useless.
I also absolutely agree. Obviously I thought really hard about all the characters when I was writing What Kitty Did Next (Red Door Publishing; and on this website) and Mrs B is a pivotal character both in my novel and Kitty ‘s development. It was indeed the business of her life to get the girls married, as it was for any dedicated mother in those days. She may have got on her daughters’ nerves (what’s changed, who has teenage daughters? ) but she did her best, with no help from Mr B, who may well have married in haste and repented at leisure but was a pretty absent father in most ways. Mrs B was a nag but she was good humoured and well meaning. And she has given us all a lot of laughs. In the novel of course and via Alison Steadman’s wonderful portrayal.
Mrs. Bennet was looking out for her daughters of course, but she also wanted to make Lizzy marry a man she despised, which is taking things a little too far in my opinion. I think a person can be happier in a cottage with the people they love than in a palace with no one to love or respect. Certainly though, she was doing more for them than Mr. Bennet.
This was a delightful read. I want to hear more from the writer… This was well written.