Persuasion: The Power of Social Pressure.
The pressures of society are intense and deliberate. These pressures seem to manifest early in life, and continue to be influential in almost every aspect of our lives. As we grow from children to adults, we become submissive to these guidelines that society has placed upon us. For women, these pressures seem more intense because of the many parts we play in society.
After reading Jane Austen's novel, Persuasion, I became fascinated by the societal pressures placed on women from that time period to the present. Though much has changed since the 18th century, some ideas have remained. These ideas or pressures from society are the focus of my essay.
In Persuasion, the reader is introduced to Anne. She belongs to a family held in high regard and social standing. Anne abides by the rules of society. She does not allow her emotions to guide her actions. She is familiar with the social structure and does nothing to change it. Change seems to be the enemy of many characters in this novel, and it is the fear of change that causes Anne to lose the one man that she truly loved.
This is not a new scenario. As members of society, we all have witnessed the compromising of beliefs to blend into society. Whether it is wearing a certain article of clothing or behaving a certain way in public, we all have participated in this invisible barrier that we call normal behavior. Like Anne, we have sacrificed our happiness in order to be accepted or liked.
In the play, The Merchant of Venice, Portia is not allowed to pick who her husband will be. This situation is very much like the predicament of Anne in Persuasion. Portia and Anne are quite similar. Both are subjected to certain guidelines that they feel they must follow. However, Portia tends to seem stronger than Anne. Though she accepts her position, she intends to make the most of it. She is an individual.