JANE AUSTEN’S LIFE AND WORKS | Teen Ink

JANE AUSTEN’S LIFE AND WORKS

August 13, 2018
By DeboraFuentes BRONZE, Nuevo Cuscatlan, Other
DeboraFuentes BRONZE, Nuevo Cuscatlan, Other
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JANE AUSTEN’S LIFE AND WORKS
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be

in want of a wife.” ( Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice. Pag.2)

Famous classic author, Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England. She is greatly known for her comments to society and for her marriage related novels. Sense and Sensibility was her first published novel which claimed, on the very first page, was written: “by a lady”. While Jane was still alive, she published and got profit from many of her novels. Some of her most popular novels are Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Northanger Abbey. Jane Austen’s work is best known for doing a constant criticism of society by using her family members, love life, and economic class as an inspiration.

The first influence Jane had in her writings is her family. She was the seventh of eight children born to Reverend George and Cassandra Austen. Since Jane’s father was a rector, he took the time to teach and encourage her into writing her novels. Besides Jane’s father, her siblings had a great impact on her as well. It is clear how she used most of her siblings' names as an inspiration for characters like the following: George Wickham, Charles Bingley, Edmund Bertram, Henry Crawford, among many others. Jane and Cassandra, Jane’s only sister, were really close. They wrote letters to each other to talk about their love lives, but most of the letters were destroyed by Cassandra to keep Jane’s privacy. On the other hand, Henry was Jane’s closest brother who became her literary agent later in life. Since her family’s favorite pass-time was playacting, Jane got involved in adapting plays like “Sir Charles Grandison” for their amusement. These are just some of the ways in which Jane’s family impacted her writings. (Anonymous. www.janeaustentour.com)

The other great inspiration Jane had for her writings was her love life. Jane experimented with two important love related events, but they were enough for her to establish an opinion and judgment about marriage. First, she fell deeply in love with Tom Lefroy who was a neighbor of her nephew. They wanted to marry but their families did as much as they could to keep them apart. Jane describes Tom as her one

true love. Time after, she received a marriage proposal from Mr. Bigg-Wither who could provide her with economic resources and a future family. Jane agreed to this proposal but, declined it the morning after based on her lack of affection towards the man. This same situation is portrayed in Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth Bennet rejected Mr. Collins’s marriage proposal, even though he was going to inherit a good fortune, since she was in love with Mr. Darcy instead. Jane gives her final opinion about marriage when she tells her niece to avoid marriage if there is no affection present in the relationship. The previous experiences helped Jane Austen to build up the opinions she had about marriage that were later exposed in her novels such as Pride and Prejudice. (Warren, Rene. www.janeusten.org)

The last, but most important factor that had an effect on Jane’s writing was her economic class. Jane Austen wrote about what she knew which was gentry and clergy in England. She included in her writings country life and villages just like the ones she grew up in. Some of the villages she included inEmma were Highbury, Randalls, and Donwell Abby. In addition, since Jane’s family was part of England’s clergy, she came to know many behaviors that characterize this class. For example, she grew up listening to people address each other as gentlemen, sir, lady, and madam, therefore, some of her characters like Sir Walter Eliot and Lady Russell received these titles in her novel Persuasion. Another example is how she portrayed the importance of the dance floor in her novels. In her time, the dance floor helped to decipher the romantic intentions of men which is exactly how Mr. Bingley and Jane Bennet fell in love in Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen showed these behaviors society had at her time in her beautiful novels. (Sutherland, Kathy. www.bl.uk)

Concerning the economic class, Jane was surrounded with multiple occupations. First, she was able to observe men’s professions through her brothers. Most of them were clergymen, merchants, or part of the navy. These are the exact same professions she uses for characters in Emma, Persuasion, and Pride and Prejudice. Moving to the women occupations, Jane portrayed activities she and Cassandra practiced at a boarding school they attended for a while. These activities were dancing, French, drawing, music, etc. Such activities were performed by women while men were working. In addition, Jane lived in a society in which women were expected to marry or go to a different family as a companion lady or governess. All

these activities and occupations that Jane saw during her lifetime helped her develop the characteristics and descriptions of characters like Elizabeth Bennet, Fanny Price, Edmund Bertram, George Wickham, etc. (Warren, Rene. www.janeusten.org)

Jane Austen was able to judge society at her time through the different opinions her family, love life and economic class helped her build. She uses her family as an inspiration to start writing, her love life to determine the themes of her stories, and her economic class to describe the characters in her sceneries. She does a criticism of the common beliefs of convenience marriage and male chauvinism. The most relevant way in which she shows criticism is by writing the novels herself and publishing them knowing women did not have enough education nor opinion at that time. Jane Austen’s criticism has defeated the passing of time since her novels have become classics commonly admired by society.


 

WORKS CITED

1. Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Public domain. (October 4, 2010.) (accessed date: June 18, 2018)

2. Anonymous. “Jane Austen’s Social Background.” (June 16, 2012.) janeausten.co.uk/the-

influence-of-jane-austens-social-background-on-two-of-her-novels/ (accessed date: June 18, 2018)

3. Anonymous. “Jane Austen’s Life.” janeaustentour.com/jane-austen-life (accessed date: June 18, 2018)

4. Sutherland, Kathy. “Jane Austen and social judgment.” (May 15, 2014.) bl.uk/romantics- and-victorians/articles/jane-austen-and-social-judgement (accessed date: June 18, 2018)

5. Warren, Rene. “ Jane Austen Bibliography.”(April 16, 2018.) janeausten.org/jane-austen- biography.asp (accessed date: June 18, 2018)


The author's comments:

I wrote this piece because I admire Jane Austen for being an influential woman not only in her time but currently. She built the bases of nowadays cliches and created a revolution against the male mechanism of her moment. 


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