How Not to Father: Mr. Bennet and Mary

Article: http://jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol22no1/ellwood.html

Unbeknownst to most people who read Pride and Prejudice, Mary Bennet is one of the most, if not the most, tragic character in the novel. Mr. Bennet largely neglects his fatherly duties by retreating to his library and losing himself in books, a act that on the surface makes him seem rather lazy and detached, but when looked into, brings to light a nearly criminal neglect of his younger daughters. This article delves into this neglect, specifically with Mary, and shows how his neglect turned Mary, already unlucky to be born as an unattractive woman, into an empty and sullen person that has little promise for success. This article really unearths the hidden truth behind Mary’s character and her feeble attempts to connect with those around her, which puts her character in a new and depressing light.

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This image just about sums up the true relationship between Mary and her father.

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2 thoughts on “How Not to Father: Mr. Bennet and Mary

  1. I would like to start with how I could of easily done my life without this knowledge. As someone who often saw humor in Mary this article was very depressing…I feel shame for my amusement.
    But with this new knowledge, Mary’s sad state is very evident in the original text. One can also see this neglectful behavior throughout the adaptations, however to a slightly lesser degree. In the adaptations her situation is used as a source of comedy, which with this new realization is extremely messed up and almost cruel.

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  2. I’ve always been uncomfortable with how Mr. Bennet is applauded for being a neglectful father. Now I feel even worse. But I may use this article in the future. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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