Irony In Jane Austen Essay

3471 words - 14 pages

Lauren TullyElaine SavoryJane Austen5/13/10Comically IronicA sense of irony has always been present in Jane Austen's writing, it's a theme that highlighted her novels for two centuries and will continue to make impressions on readers. Pride and Prejudice, like many of the popular novels written by Jane Austen, is seemingly romantic yet incredibly sharp and witty, a story that revolve around relationships, class separation and the politics of love. Although it was not much of a success in Austen's own time, it has grown in its importance to literary critics and readerships over the last two hundred years. There are so many layers to the story that make reading it not only amusing but exceedingly interesting and opened my eyes to her incredible sense of catering to her audience. The reader can learn much about both the upper-class society and the lower-middle class of Austen's time, as well as an insight to Austen's opinion about this society. Austen presents the high-society of her time from a critical point of view, ironically describing human behavior in the complicated relationships between her characters. Austen as a narrator never seems to be condescending or snubbing in her criticism but applies it in a playful manner with the interactions between her characters. The playfulness of the characters mixed with her witty, ironic comments on society are the reasons that make this novel still so agreeable for contemporary readers. While the novel depicts social rules and character traits that seem old fashioned to the modern reader, the sharp tongue of the many loveable characters in Austen's novels, particularly Pride and Prejudice, captures the hearts of readers from across the times.Sense and SensibilityAusten's Sense and Sensibility is known as a novel more wrapped around social politics than plot development. However the main heroine, Elinor Dashwood, shows that despite being less of a romantic than her sister Marianne, she can still twist words in a smart fashion. For instance, in Sense and Sensibility, Elinor gives reason to Colonel Brandon's use of a flannel waistcoat: "Had he been only in a violent fever, you would not have despised him half so much. Confess, Marianne, is not there something interesting to you in the flushed cheek, hollow eye, and quick pulse of a fever?" (Austen, S&S 38). Here Austen highlights, through Elinor, that Marianne's sense of romanticism is outrageous and unrealistic. Playing the villain in this novel, Willoughby's was the daring handsome man that stole Marianne's heart with his "person and air "being "equal to what (Marianne's) fancy had ever drawn for the hero of a favorite story'"(Austen, S&S 43); however, his behavior shows that he is just a jerk. Although Willoughby is a handsome man what he lacks in over all moral sense he makes up for in charisma, this seductive evil drawn by Austen may suggest the ironic casting of the perfect man who is a jerk. However the biggest irony lies in that Marianna...

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