In The Importance of Being Earnest, Pride and Prejudice, and "The Rape of the Lock", they are all told from different prospectives and social classes, but in contrast all share the same views--marriage to a man of great wealth and well established standing would raise a woman's social ranking in society. This overview of marriage shows in the attitudes of women during this time period. Batting eyelashes and making oneself wanted without seeming trampy or coquettish was the acceptable flirting technique of the early 1900's. This instillment of thought was put into the women's minds as young children, which grew and developed as the young lady matured and approached to the direction of marriage.
In The Importance of Being Earnest, initially, Lady Bracknell is in control over Jack/Earnest and Gwendolen's relationship. In Gwendolen's opinion, her mother watches over her and treats her like a young child, trying to protect her from everything negative. Lady Bracknell says, "Pardon me, you are not engaged to anyone. When you become engage to someone, I, or your father, should his health permit, will inform you of the fact." (p.720-Act1) Here, she justifies that not only is she in control of her daughter's life, but eventually the outcome of Jack's love life. Then, after Lady Bracknell established who was in charge of the situation, it is up to Jack/Earnest to convince her to let him marry Gwendolen. Gwendolen says, "Earnest, we may never be married. From the expression on Mama's face I fear we never shall." (p.742-Act1) Thus, Gwendolen makes it clear to Jack that although they want to take their relationship to the next level, her mother is the main obstacle between them that prevents this from happening. Last, Jack fights to save his relationship with the love of his life by following all of the rules of Lady Bracknell, in hopes that she would change her mind about him. Jack says, "May I ask then what you would advise me to do? I need hardly say I would do anything in the world to ensure Gwendolen's happiness.