This Jenny Jones was no very comely girl, either in her face or person; but nature had somewhat compensated the want of beauty with what is generally more esteemed by those ladies whose judgment is arrived at years of perfect maturity, for she had given her a very uncommon share of understanding. […] This advantage, however, like most others of an extraordinary kind, was attended with some small inconveniences: for as it is not to be wondered at, that a young woman so well accomplished should have little relish for the society of those whom fortune had made her equals, but whom education had rendered so much her inferiors; so is it matter of no greater astonishment, that this superiority in Jenny, together with that behaviour which is its certain consequence, should produce among the rest some little envy and ill-will towards her; and these had, perhaps, secretly burnt in the bosoms of her neighbours ever since her return from her service.
Their envy did not, however, display itself openly, till poor Jenny, to the surprize of everybody, and to the vexation of all the young women in these parts, had publickly shone forth on a Sunday in a new silk gown, with a laced cap, and other proper appendages to these.
The flame [of envy], which had before lain in embryo, now burst forth. Jenny had, by her learning, increased her own pride, which none of her neighbours were kind enough to feed with the honour she seemed to demand; and now, instead of respect and adoration, she gained nothing but hatred and abuse by her finery. The whole parish declared she could not come honestly by such things; and parents, instead of wishing their daughters the same, felicitated themselves that their children had them not. (1.6.8-10)
Jenny Jones really has it rough: she is a woman in a sexist society, so the people around her think it is inappropriate that she has so much education. But even worse, the villagers also think that her sudden riches—her new silk gown and lace hat—are proof that she has done something sinful. Everyone turns against Jenny Jones, both because they are jealous of her good luck and because she refuses to behave like the other poor women around her.
Jenny Jones's trouble with her fellow villagers illustrates something really horrible about both class and gender inequality. It is not <em>only </em>the rich and the men who keep these systems going. Even though it appears to go against their own interests, women participate in gender discrimination and working class people also take part in class discrimination. When it seems like Jenny Jones is getting <em>too rich</em> for her position as a poor person and<em> too educated</em> for her role as a woman, everyone in the village gets jealous, angry, and mean.