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Jane Austene

By FanSang1 May 27, 2013 1754 Words
Fan Sang
Ms. Owen
World Literature AE
Jan. 19th. 2013
Jane Austen
Safier Fannie, “The Romantic Age”, Adventures in English Literature, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1996.
Born at Steventon in Hampshire, a small town in southwest England where her father was rector of the church, Jane Austen’s life wasn’t very noisy and eventful. (Safier 521)
She developed powers of subtle discrimination and shrewd perceptiveness from her her reading, writing and observation of social behavior. (Safier 521)
Most of Jane Austen’s mature work was published when she was lived at Chawton which is a town not far from her birthplace. (Safier 521)
“She died in Winchester, the ancient cathedral town of her native Hampshire. She is buried in the cathedral.

Ian Scott-Kilvert, British Writers, Vol. 4, New York: Charles Scribner’s Son’s, 1981
“Jane Austen’s life was private and uneventful, and by modern standards extraordinary narrow and restricted. Her forty-two years, from 1775 to 1817, were passed entirely among her family and friends. She visited London from time to time, but never mixed in fashionable society and avoided literary circles like the plague: “If I am a wild beast, I cannot help it.” She never married; she never traveled abroad; she was unknown to the public.” (Ian 107)

Her dedication to writing set her pattern of life. (Ian 107)
She spent her childhood in Steventon in Hampshire. Her father was a classical scholar who had a taste for fiction and her mother was famous for her impromptu poems and stories. (Ian 107)
“In 1809, Jane Austen came to her last home, Chawton Cottage, two miles south of Alton on the Winchester road, and not far from Steventon. Here she spent the remaining years of her life. The return to a settled domestic existence seems to have revived her energies. She took up the manuscripts of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice to get them ready for publication.” (Ian 108)

She began to write her seventh novel Sanditon in January 1817, which made her write and revise more than 24,000 words in eight weeks. But by then she was too far into her last illness to continue working. (Ian 108)

A surgen took her to Winchester in May and she died of Addison’s disease at 4:30 on the morning of 18 July. Six days later she was buried in Winchester Cathedral. (Ian 108)
“The course of Jane Austen’s emotional life is obscure. The earliest of her surviving letters date from 1796, when she was twenty-one. They tell us of the parties and dances she went to locally, about visits to London Bath, and to the coast. But there is virtually nothing about her relationships with men. (Ian 108)

Frank N. Magill, Magill’s Survey of World Literature, Vol 1, New York: Marshell Cavendish Corporation, 1993.
“Jane’s closest ties within her family were to her adored older sister, Cassandra. Three years apart in age and the only girls among the eight children, the two were close companions from childhood onward.” (Frank 112)

She started writing when she was eight because of her own love of reading. But when her father died, she appears to abandoned her writing entirely. (Frank 112)

Donald Gray, “Miss Austen”, A Norton Critical Edition Jane Austen Pride And Prejudice, 3rd Edition, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001
Miss Austen’s characters never seem to be fine, but people found that they are all in the same kind of house with the same kind of surroundings. (Donald 291)

“Their poverties, when they have any, are caused in a genteel way by the entail of an estate, or by the premature death of the father without leaving an adequate provision of his lovely and accomplished girls.”(Donald 291)

Donald Gray, “The Critical Faculty of Jane Austen”, A Norton Critical Edition Jane Austen Pride And Prejudice, 3rd Edition, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001
“Her plots always presuppose an organized society of families, of fathers and mothers long married, whose existence has been full filled in having given birth to the heroes and heroines of the stories. Now, these people are almost always represented as living together in far comfort; and yet there is scarcely a single pair of them who have not, on the usual novelist’s scale of propriety, been woefully mismatched.”

She never shows readers perfect characters, virtue, and vice.

Swisher Clarice, Readings on Jane Austen, Literary Companion Series, San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1997

Women at lower classes did hard physical works to feed their families, while women at upper classes were expected to obey the rules which would improve their conversations in social situations as well as the relationship with men. Since they were not allowed to attend universities and were not expected to have political opinions, most of the women were trained in arts and household work like sewing. They can either choose to marry a wealthy husband and never worry about making a living or make their lives depend on their parents or relatives, or even become governesses or teachers who were sustained in rich families.(Swisher 13)

Jane Austen was much better educated than most of the girls in the late eighteenth century. She was also more actively involved in the social life of her family. (Swisher 17)

She also had a romantic flirtation with Tom Lefroy. Since both Cassandra, Jane’s sister, and Mrs Lefroy considered the relationship serious, they warned Jane that he was too young and poor to get married. Later he was sent to Ireland by his family and engaged with a wealthy woman within a year. (Swisher 20)

“Scholars and biographers have trouble reconciling relatives’ portrayal of Jane as a model of sweetness with rather nasty lines from her letters and books that sarcastically skewer others.” (Swisher 22)

Jane Austen was a brilliant and well-educated women who had a strong ambition to become a serious writer, but her dream was banned by the society that give women strict expectations and limitations. (Swisher 24)

After years of waiting Jane had a brief romance with a man that she loved and respected, but unfortunately she was told by her brother that the man who was going to propose to her had died suddenly. We know nothing about the man besides family gossips, and even no letters remained.(Swisher 25)

The youngest son and heir whose name was Harris proposed marriage to Jane and was accepted. But Jane thought about this all the night and realized that she couldn’t marry a man that she didn’t love but just to have a husband and she broke the engagement the next morning.(Swisher 25)

Jane received another proposal from Edward Bridges, who was Edward’s brother-in-law, during her stay in Kent. Again, she refused the proposal because she didn’t love the man.(Swisher 25)

There exists couple of disagreements between the harsh society in which Jane lived in and the gentler one she described in her novels. Women who lived in the eighteenth century did lack basic rights and have risks of all kinds of dangers. “Austen may simply have created an idyllic fictional world as an alternative to the unpleasantness she nevertheless took for granted in the real world. (Swisher 34)

“She believed it was better not to marry at all, than to marry without love. Such notions were quiet new at the time. It surprises us that in her writing she appears to fail to take the pleasure of sex into account, but that was the convention at the time: we disapprove, where her society most approves. ... She lived in a society which assumed--as ours does--that its values were right. It had god on its side, and God had ordained the ranks of His people. ... He made men men and women women. ...She struggled to perceive and describe the flow of beliefs that typified her time, and more, to suggest for the first time that the personal, the emotional, is in fact the moral. ...She left a legacy for the future to build upon.” (Swisher 35)

Most women were employed into agriculture-related work.(Swisher 36)

Because if a person wanted to marry at that time, he was always expected to have enough fortune to afford the marriage, only thirty percent of women chose to get married in Jane’s time. (Swisher 37)

Marriage during that time was a very big thing in women’s life because marriage was the thing that enrich their life and prove their existence. It’s not surprised that Bennet was almost driven mad by anxiety for her five daughters who were all unmarried. (Swisher 37)

In Jane Austen’s day, women in middle classes survived by charming and pleasing or working very hard if they were born with farmer background. No matter which one was considered better than writing, an occupation in which women could even earn money if they wrote on their own. (Swisher 38)

Once women got married, their life would not be happy any more. All the properties belonged to the husband even the baby.(Swisher 38)

“Do not be deceived by the vision of Georgian England as a rural idyll. Artists of the time liked to depict it as such, naturally enough...and so did writers, and while you are reading Jane Austen you are perfectly entitled to suspend your disbelief, as she was when she wrote. (Swisher 41)

It was a common thought that women should be the intellectual inferiors of men and their education should only deal with moral excellence.Most of the men thought that the appropriate field for women is domestic life and their life must be centered on the home while the only thing outside the family they needed to worry about is their manners. (Swisher 43)

“Demeaning as these views may appear to us, few women expressed any dissatisfaction with their lot in the final years of the eighteenth century. ...Jane Austen’s disagreements with the prevailing attitudes of her time are fairly apparent... Jane Austen operates on the assumption that women are inherently as intelligent and rational as men.” (Swisher 43)

In the Pride and Prejudice Jane advised women to try to get mental achievements and expressed her belief that women desire the same intellectual abilities as men do. (Swisher 43)

“By the standards established in the earlier novels Anne Elliot is perhaps the most perfect of all Jane Austen’s women--she possesses an ‘elegant and cultivated mind’, is an excellent surrogate mother to Mary’s children, is highly accomplished, and has impeccable manners....(Swisher 49)

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