.Hi! I am reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Could someone please help me out from the questions as below? Thanks!
Q1: Did a clergyman has high social status in 18th century of the UK? How much did a clergyman earn at that time if you know? What is the difference between a clergyman and a pastor
Clergymen had moderate status. They were men of position, but not of high status. Their stipend depended on the patron of the church and on the tithes paid by the parishioners. Some were rich, some were very poor. There is no fundamental difference between a clergyman and a pastor.
Q2: Why did Jane Austen say this? Does the name of Richard refer to handsome?
though his name was Richard - and he had never been handsome
Jane Austen is here being ironic.
Q3: What 's the connotation of the words as below? Does it mean 'the more children, the better in the UK at that time"? And I sense Austen wrote this in sarcastic tone. Am I right? As I said above, she is being ironic. "Northanger Abbey" is an ironic take on the currently fashionable "Gothick" novels, which were full of excess and unlikely situations.
A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number.
Q4: What did 'beggar petition' refer to? "The Beggar's Petition" - A poem: The Beggar's Petition by Thomas Moss
Q5: Is it true that in the 18th century women and men were not allowed to know each other voluntarily even they had happened to talk a few words with each other? Should they be introduced formally by somebody?
In polite society, an introduction was required before a man and a woman could be regarded as being of the same social set. There is nothing to stop men or women speaking to the other sex on everyday matters, such as saying "Thank you" if a door was held open.
Q6: Should the women always wear a bonnet if they were out? Yes - a girl below the age of 16 could go bareheaded, but a woman who is over that age had to have their head covered in public.
Q7: Could a girl refuse to marry a man her parents arranged if she didn't love him in the 18th century? Could the couple divorce at that time?
Technically, yes, no girl could be forced into marriage. In fact, there are many cases of girls being married off by their parents - love certainly was not a major factor. However, "love" is one of those arguable states, and there is no doubt that many of these arranged marriages were very successful. I think too that there is a vast difference between what Jane Austen would perceive as love and what people today see in it. She was very well aware that physical attraction was not necessarily the best foundation for marriage, particularly if money was short. Mr Bennett in "Pride and Prejudice" married for love, and look what happened there!
Divorce required an Act of Parliament, so was only available to the truly rich.