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Pride and Prejudice First Line Explanation

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    Meaning please

    "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
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    It is something that everyone knows that if a man has everything he wants, he must also want a women to share it with?
    It doesn't seem overly complex in meaning to me.. Maybe I'm dense though.
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    Put into the context of the 1810s (when the novel was written):

    It is accepted by everyone (of a well-to-do background) that a wealthy man must marry a wife to ensure that all of his assets remain in the possession of the family name.

    - only legitimate sons could inherit their father's fortunes, hence the need for their fathers to marry in order to continue the family lineage.

    The opening sentence has an air of sarcasm about it. If you really read into it, there is the sense that Austen is strongly opposed to the way wealthy men go about marriage - she is against how it is founded on practicalities rather than deep-seated love between two individuals. Therefore, you could argue that Austen is criticising the patriarchal values of the institute of marriage prevalent in the early nineteenth century. You would need to find other evidence within the novel to argue this in an essay, however.
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    ^That makes muchhh more sense than mine :p:
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    (Original post by Doublereedfreak)
    ^That makes muchhh more sense than mine :p:
    i know :p:

    'want' is not used how we generally use it today. It roughly means 'is in essential need' - i.e. it is absolutely necessary for a wealthy man to marry because of the family and property laws of the time, rather than simply personal preference to marry.
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    (Original post by Doublereedfreak)
    ^That makes muchhh more sense than mine :p:
    By the way, loving all the instruments you can play I've attained grade 8 oboe but i'm afraid i can't play anywhere near as many other instruments as you - just clarinet, recorder (!) and piano (i suppose if i was feeling generous to myself i could also add harpsichord and tin whistle to that list!).
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    (Original post by danny d)
    By the way, loving all the instruments you can play I've attained grade 8 oboe but i'm afraid i can't play anywhere near as many other instruments as you - just clarinet, recorder (!) and piano (i suppose if i was feeling generous to myself i could also add harpsichord and tin whistle to that list!).
    Thank you
    I'm a bit addicted to learning instruments. :p:
    You still play a fair few to be honest and I wish I could play piano; I'm useless at it. :
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    (Original post by Doublereedfreak)
    Thank you
    I'm a bit addicted to learning instruments. :p:
    You still play a fair few to be honest and I wish I could play piano; I'm useless at it. :
    I say i can play it...but i can't very well. I've taught myself without the help of any books or anything so my hand and finger positions aren't right, or so i'm told. Taught myself clarinet as well but i rarely play it because i prefer the sound of the oboe! Always wished i could play the bassoon though; they have such a gorgeous sound (which i can't help but feel is a little unappreciated by a lot of people).

    Slightly strayed from the point of this thread now though
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    (Original post by dumbgeek)
    Meaning please

    "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

    She's basically taking the piss and being sarcastic by saying just cause one's rich one has to be looking for love when it's not always the case

    But for us lit students it also hints as to what the book itself is about ''fortune'' and ''wife'' being two main words that hint at the themes to come:yep:
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    (Original post by danny d)
    I say i can play it...but i can't very well. I've taught myself without the help of any books or anything so my hand and finger positions aren't right, or so i'm told. Taught myself clarinet as well but i rarely play it because i prefer the sound of the oboe! Always wished i could play the bassoon though; they have such a gorgeous sound (which i can't help but feel is a little unappreciated by a lot of people).

    Slightly strayed from the point of this thread now though
    Yeah we kind of stole the thread.. Ah well he's got his answer :p:
    I've only had lessons on Sax, bassoon and oboe and I've recently given up oboe sadly and don't have my own due to how expensive they are. It is underrated , I agree. Bassoon is gorgeous to play.
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    (Original post by Doublereedfreak)
    Yeah we kind of stole the thread.. Ah well he's got his answer :p:
    I've only had lessons on Sax, bassoon and oboe and I've recently given up oboe sadly and don't have my own due to how expensive they are. It is underrated , I agree. Bassoon is gorgeous to play.
    Oboes really are ridiculously expensive. Mine cost me £900 and must be a good twenty to thirty years old so I'm assuming it was really quite a lot new. It makes a beautiful sound - it's lower notes are really warm and rich and it's just generally less nasal than every other model i've ever played. The only problem is that it's tuning on a few notes leaves quite a lot to be desired so i have to change my embouchure a lot to compensate. It quite hard to play really.

    And god knows why i bought the clarinet i have. Again, it's old and makes a really nice sound but, for a clarinet, it's ridiculously difficult to play. I pick up and play my aunty's and think 'oh, they should really be this easy to play'. Ah well, as i say i don't often feel the urge to play it anyway.
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    (Original post by danny d)
    Oboes really are ridiculously expensive. Mine cost me £900 and must be a good twenty to thirty years old so I'm assuming it was really quite a lot new. It makes a beautiful sound - it's lower notes are really warm and rich and it's just generally less nasal than every other model i've ever played. The only problem is that it's tuning on a few notes leaves quite a lot to be desired so i have to change my embouchure a lot to compensate. It quite hard to play really.

    And god knows why i bought the clarinet i have. Again, it's old and makes a really nice sound but, for a clarinet, it's ridiculously difficult to play. I pick up and play my aunty's and think 'oh, they should really be this easy to play'. Ah well, as i say i don't often feel the urge to play it anyway.
    Somestimes I go through seasons of what I like to play so go through a cycle of them all. At the moment it's saxophone and flute but in a month or two it will probably be clarinet and bassoon :p: Just don't give up all together though.
    Oboe is quite hard in general to play :o:
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    (Original post by Doublereedfreak)
    Somestimes I go through seasons of what I like to play so go through a cycle of them all. At the moment it's saxophone and flute but in a month or two it will probably be clarinet and bassoon :p: Just don't give up all together though.
    Oboe is quite hard in general to play :o:
    Yep, it's the kind of instrument that can really embarrass you as a performer. I have a love-hate relationship with it. :rolleyes:

    Right, having added an extra paragraph to my P&P opening line explanation, so as to legitimise this convo on instruments of the orchestra, i shall be off to bed. Goodnight

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Updated: September 2, 2009
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