Jane Austen Research Paper

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Cassy Penning
English 1010
Research Paper

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid”-Jane Austen. Jane Austen has the power to say this because she is known as one of the best-loved English novelists (World Book). If a person does not find enjoyment from reading one of her books, they must not truly have read and understood the novel thoroughly. Austen’s work only recently became popular due to reproductions of her work in bookstore and cinema releases of her novels. Readers connect easily with Austen’s work because she wrote about romantic situations, filled with drama, that most people have endured before. These questions arise though, why did Austen write about such things? Was Jane Austen presented with these same romantic situations in her lifetime? Austen lived a very successful life from the beginning to the end and her name lives on. Jane Austen, born December 16th, 1775, was the seventh child of Reverend George of the Steventon rectory Austen and Cassandra Austen of the Leigh family. Austen was born in Steventon, Hampshire, England under the reign of King George III, which played a role in the background of her novels she would later write. She was born into a family where the majority of the children were boys. Austen had one older sister named Cassandra, after her mother. Being the only daughters Jane and Cassandra formed a close relationship. Austen’s siblings were James, Edward, Henry, Cassandra, Francis, George, and her younger brother Charles. Jane’s father, Reverend George Austen was the Steventon Parish priest and he also worked as a farmer to help earn more money for his growing family. Reverend Austen was a scholar who encouraged the love of learning in his children (Southam). The Austen’s were a very close-knit family and Jane formed a very strong bond with her father. Because Reverend Austen was a clergyman and was neither rich nor poor, the Austen family lived comfortable, middle-class lives (Aronson). When Jane and Cassandra were six and eight they were sent to a boarding school for their educations. Their educations consisted of foreign language (mainly French), music and dancing. The girls did not spend long at the boarding school because they both caught typhus, where Jane nearly died, and had to be sent home. Reverend Austen believed strongly in educating the girls so when they returned home he continued tutoring them and gave them unrestricted access to his entire library. Jane became quite the reader and enjoyed all the new novels of the day. In 1785 the girls were sent to another boarding school for only two years when Reverend Austen withdrew them because he could no longer afford to send them to school. They continued learning at home with their father where Jane learned to play the piano. Jane’s father helped her interest in writing by supplying his books, paper and writing tools to allow her to explore her creative side. Jane began writing for the entertainment of herself and her family in 1787. She loved to write parodies of sentimental novels, a popular form characterized by melodramatic plots, improbable heroes and heroines of perfect character, and blatant moralizing (Aronson). Between 1787 and 1793 she wrote three manuscript notebooks called Volume the first, Volume the Second, and Volume the Third. Inside these manuscripts were plays, verses, short novels, and other parodies of existing literary forms that Austen had written. Some short novels she wrote included The Beautiful Cassandra: A novel in Twelve Chapters, Frederic and Elfrida: A Novel, and Love and Friendship: A Novel. She called her notebooks from this time her juvenilia. Jane never married but she did fall in love once. The man was named Tom Lefroy and he was a student studying in London to be a barrister, lawyer. The two spent much time with each other and Jane wrote many letters to her sister Cassandra about their relationship. Austen became...
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