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Significance Of Jane Austen Essay

2114 words - 8 pages

Jane Austen is celebrated worldwide, her books have led to movies, television series, and those who admire her life; her talent allowed her to capture her readers with the themes, love, marriage, and expectations of 19th century women.
On December 16th 1775, English literature changed with the birth of Jane Austen. One of eight; her father encouraged her to grow and prosper at a young age. She was closest with her only sister Cassandra. The Austen children were educated mainly at home, primarily through Jane’s father who used resources at Oxford University. The learning style may have been different from traditional education, but all members of the Austen family were involved, primarily through reading aloud. “There was also a great deal of reading aloud in the Austen household. Many families at the time would have one of their members read to the others while they carried out small tasks. Reading aloud was considered a highly valuable professional and social skill.”(Kelly) Austen was encouraged to read and she began writing at an early age. “The juvenilia, written in her early and mid teens are already incisive and elegantly expressed; Love and Friendship was written when she was fourteen, “A History of England” at fifteen; at 16 a Collection of Letters; and sometime during these same years, Lesley Castle. (Oxford 51) Jane’s early start contributed to her later works, enabling her to write powerful and detailed stories. Her access to the books at Oxford allowed her to enjoy reading and her fathers support and education enabled her to read and write.

Although Jane wrote numerous books, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility show love in Austen’s point of view. Pride and Prejudice follows the story of Elizabeth Bennet and her struggle to meet the expectations of 19th century Europe. Women were expected to marry into wealth, which was believed to be the key to happiness. Despite her awareness of these expectations, Elizabeth Bennet is apprehensive when it comes to trusting Mr. Darcy, a potential love interest. Mr. Wickman gave Elizabeth the wrong impression of Darcy, causing her to reject his marriage proposal. “Elizabeth Bennet: a spirited and intelligent girl who represents ‘prejudice’ in her attitude toward Fitzwilliam Darcy, whom she dislikes because of his pride.” (Magill) In Sense and Sensibility, the Dashwood sisters are left to pick up the pieces after their father’s death. Their half-brother John was given the responsibility to care for them, but he moves them out of the house and gives them little money to live off of. Elinor views life in a more practical sense than her sisters, Marianne and Margaret. Elinor finds love a difficult concept to grasp and is somewhat uncertain. Elinor eventually marries Edward, even though he is engaged to Lucy. “Sense and Sensibility raised issues that were urgent to women in a format that was seen as non-confrontational. The novel presented women as an economic underclass who were nonetheless...

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