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Class, Rank and Status in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice


  • Kajsa Söderström

Summary, in English

Pride and Prejudice, published in 1813, is one of Jane Austen’s best known novels but there is much hidden from a modern reader when encountering the text. Being unfamiliar with the class system of early 19th-century England and its complexities will diminish the impact of the novel that would be apparent to an early reader of Austen. In this essay, I discuss class, rank and status by taking into consideration the historical background as well as the biographical background of Jane Austen. Based on these aspects, I have located where Jane Austen has placed important characters within the class system as well as examined how this affects the characters’ own perception of class and the resulting impact on the events of the novel. I conclude that notions of class and rank most significantly influenced marriage and are therefore used to drive the plot. I also found that through exploring class and marriage, Jane Austen’s commentary on early 19th-century English society is more easily discerned.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Jane Austen
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • social class
  • social rank
  • social status
  • historical background
  • biographical background
  • social criticism
  • early 19th century


  • Birgitta Berglund (FD)