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Shirley YangEuropean LiteraturePeriod 1 January 28, 2018A Battlefield Society is a battlefield. We are the soldiers, fighting to keep our reputations alive. If it dies, we die with it. If our reputation is kept alive, we are rewarded with honor, love, and respect. Like today, where reputation plays an important factor in determining individual worth, it played an equally if not more important role in Jane Austen’s world, especially for women. Its importance is clear at many points of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, as the characters go to great lengths to protect or to raise their prestige. In Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, reputation is the central rite of their society. The wealthy, like the Bingleys’, the Darcys’, and Lady Catherine, attempt to uphold their reputation by marrying into other rich families. At the same time, the middle class, like the Bennets’ and the Lucases’, try to climb up the social pyramid by marrying rich and powerful men, like Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. The distance that Mrs. Bennet is willing to go to make sure her daughters marry into rich families is fascinating. For instance, to win Mr. Bingley’s favor, she forces her daughter, Jane, ride on horseback to the Bingley’s house in the pouring rain, hoping she would catch a cold and have to overstay her visit at the Bingley’s estate. By extending Jane’s time at the Bingley’s, Mrs. Bennet hopes that will help grow the romance between Jane and Mr. Bingley. In other words, she put her own daughter’s health at stake to improve her family’s reputation. This showcases just how desperate some were to get married or see their children walk down the aisle, all for the sake of upholding or improving one’s reputation. Although women have more rights and freedom in today’s world, reputation still plays a crucial role in determining individual worth. In the 21st century, one’s reputation determines more than who one will marry. For instance, a company’s reputation impacts their revenue, sponsors, and customers. A celebrity’s reputation impacts people’s respect for them, their net worth, and the number of endorsement deals. At the same time, there is more than just one path to rise in the social pyramid and raise one’s reputation today. Instead of marrying into a well-off family, one can use their talents and work ethic to prosper in our society. For instance, Oprah Winfrey started at the very bottom. Winfrey was born into a financially burdened family but using her gift of communication, intelligence, and people skills to pursue her calling and make a name for herself. Today, Oprah Winfrey is a household name, respected and loved by many throughout the world, which displays just how successful she is. What is more, she did all this without marrying into a rich family. For as long as human society has existed, we have been defined by our reputation to some degree. As a result, our and others’ reputations have always played a role in our daily lives, as it determines who we befriend, who we marry, who we respect and who we trust, whether it is 400s B.C. Greece, nineteenth century England, or twenty-first century United States. While keeping up or improving one’s reputation can lead to using unethical tactics like cheating and stealing, the worry over reputations keeps our society in check. Without having to worry about our image, the whole world could erupt into a battlefield, each person fighting to satisfy their freed and beliefs, whether it is ethical or not.