OK I know some people think Jane Austen novels are old and outdated. People they are classics CLASSICS. If you haven’t read them you should. I have read all of them many, many times. And I urge you to as well. Ok I will settle for you watching the movies...Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion (My personal favorite), Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey.
The reason why I think Austen’s novels are so good is because despite being written two hundred plus years ago, her characters are not trapped in a time warp. She writes about life, everyday life, what it was like to be a single woman in search of love during a time when women were expected to marry (sound familiar) and that was pretty much their role in life, marriage and motherhood. The alternative, was to be a spinster. Marriage during this time period in Britain for many women marriage was a contract one entered into, not a love match and often it was the only alternative to escaping home life and poverty. Women did not have rights as we do today, for instance women couldn’t inherit property, vote or have an occupation. Generally only poor women worked and the occupations available were limited to teaching, nursing and prostitution the later two were both considered unsavory occupations. Women were 100% dependent upon the men in their life such as, their husbands, brothers or fathers, to support them monetarily and to be keep them out of the poor house.
Austen writes about the times she lived in, of society and what life was like for many young women coming of age during that time period. However, her heroines are not pathetic creatures that readers feel sorry for. Austen’s characters are intelligent, thoughtful, witty, strong and independent. Austen’s stories are interesting because they are timeless. Women still experience many of the same things today as they did back then, pressure to marry and all that comes with it such as, social scrutiny and social expecatations. Austen’s heroines and characters are strong in both mind and spirit. They all go through hardships in discovering true friends, who they really are and what they want out of life. Her characters are intelligent and witty. They readily give opinions and are sensible...sometimes. Well usually sensibility follows periods of in-sensibility. Most importantly her heroines are not perfect; they have flaws, which they are oftne aware of themselves. However, it is these character flaws in combination with their other character traits such as independence and strength, which make her heroines timeless and lovable. Her heroines always come out on top but through their own choices. They never let other people decide their life path for them despite other influences. Austen has provided strong independent characters and great literature. I will continue to re-read her novels again and again and enjoy them everytime.
Food For Thought
" . . . it is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?"Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice