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Jane Austen was born on December 16th, 1775. Jane was born to George and
Cassandra Austen in a village called Steventon. She was the seventh child, but their
second daughter. In birth order their children were: James, Edward, Henry,
Cassandra, Francis, George, Jane, and Charles. Jane Austen was very close to her
brother Henry Austen and also to her father George Austen. In 1783, when Jane
Austen was eight, she and her sister Cassandra Austen were sent off to boarding
school for formal education. Much of what Jane Austen learned was from her father
and brother, and from reading on her own. Jane’s father was constantly
encouraging her to explore her creative side. Overall, Jane Austen’s home was
casual, filled with humor, and debates. The family created productions of plays,
writing, and acted out their own creations. Through all of this, Jane’s talent started to
shine through.
Jane Austen was encouraged by her family to write, especially by her father,
although it was not a recognized profession for women at that time. By the age of
fifteen, Jane Austen started to write. Before the age of twenty-three, Jane Austen
had finished Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice.
Although these titles were not the original titles, they changed during revisions. Many
of the novels she wrote were based off of her personal experiences in life and family
history. Jane Austen had fallen in love with Mr. Tom LeFory, but at the time, he was in
school and was preparing to open his own practice. Jane Austen’s family believed
she no longer had anything to offer him. Another experience which became the
topic Jane Austen based books off of occurred in December of 1802; Jane Austen
received her only known proposal from Mr. Harris Bigg – Wither, a childhood friend.
Jane Austen accepted. At about the same time Mr. Bigg – Wither was about to
inherit a nice amount of real estate. The downfall for Jane Austen was that she was
not really in love with him. The reason she had accepted the offer was because she
wanted her family to be well off, but because Jane Austen did not love Mr. Bigg –
Withers, she withdrew the proposal the next day.
In December of 1800, Jane Austen’s father, announced his retirement from the clergy
which shocked the whole family. The family decided to move from Steventon to Bath for
retirement. Mr. Austen loved his daughter and wanted her to succeed in life, so he did
her a favor; he attempted to get one of her writings published; it is believed that she did
not know of this attempt. George sent the piece to Mr. Thomas Cadell, but he refused
to even open the package. In 1805, Mr. George Austen died. This devastated Jane
Austen especially since she loved her father dearly. Jane Austen, her mom, and her
sister, Cassandra were forced to move to a small house provided by Edward in the
village of Chawton. Twelve short years later, Jane Austen died on July 18, at the age of
forty-one.
Although, publishers were reluctant to publish Jane Austen’s pieces, Pride and Prejudice
is her most popular and durable piece she had written. Today, many people have read
Jane Austen’s novels, and classical literature in classrooms. Even though Jane Austen
was a writer, she never sat for an interview, wrote memoirs about herself, or shared her
joys, heartaches, and disappointments of love and her own life. All she ever said about
love was the advice given to her niece; about not to get married if affection is not
there. This advice alone gave insight into Jane Austen’s thoughts about love and
marriage.

Sense and Sensibility is about Marianne Dashwood who fell head over heels for Wickham and
fell apart when he left her. All the while, her sister Elinor tried to hold the family together since
her father died and then her love life also started to fall apart.

Pride and Prejudice is about the building relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr.
Darcy. They were judgmental when they first met, but when they look beyond first impressions
they see they could be a good fit for each other. Not only does Mrs. Bennet want Elizabeth to
marry she wanted all of her daughters married as soon as possible.

Mansfield Park is about Fanny Price and her life as she was brought up with wealthy relatives.
Throughout the novel, there were reoccurring issues, such as acting in a play, marrying
someone for money alone, and the misbehaviors of Fanny.

Emma is about Emma Woodhouse and how she was growing into adulthood. It focuses some
of the bumps she ran into and the troubles she created.

Northanger Abbey is about Catherine Morland, a fan of Gothic Novels, who ended up falling
in love with Henry Tilney and lived in a Gothic home. This made Catherine happy. Jane
Austen talked of the Gothic Novels, which were popular when she was writing Northanger
Abbey.

Persuasion is all about second chances, love, and the expectations of society. Annie Elliot
and Captain Wentworth fell in love but, decide not to act on it. Then, eight years later their
paths crossed again. They realized they loved one another, although, throughout most of the
novel, they acted as if they did not love each other at all.
Pride and Prejudice
and
Sense and Sensibility
Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice has never been taken off the
shelves at bookstore. The novel is considered a classic; Pride and Prejudice
focuses on a mother who wanted her unwed daughters to become married
mainly for financial reasons, but also because it was socially expected. The
story revolved around choosing whether to marry for love or to marry for
money and security; ultimately the daughters decided who they wanted to
marry. Mrs. Bennet wanted the daughters to be married no matter the
person, on the other hand, Mr. Bennet was not pushing them into
relationships they did not want to be in. Elizabeth and Jane experienced
love, but not without heartache.
This novel is good for those that like romantic stories with a twist of humor and
wit. The wit and humor added to the ever developing story line. The novel
itself was strong in the fact that it pulled the reader into the story. The plot
made you want to read on, to find out who was going to end up with whom.
A common theme throughout Pride and Prejudice was woman and
marriage, a topic Jane Austin struggled with throughout her personal life.
Jane Austen let her readers inside her characters thoughts, perhaps her own
thoughts, allowing the reader to connect with individual characters. Not only
did she present a variety of information relative to a character, she created
multiple characters of varying personalities, so the same character
personality is not presented twice. Before reading Pride and Prejudice, be
sure to be prepared for her humor and wit as she presents a serious topic of
her time, her books would not be the same without it.
Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility has been read by many, and will continue to
be read for decades to come. The general story line of Sense and Sensibility revolved
around two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, and their love life. The story dealt with
Marianne who fell apart whenever a man broke her heart. She was a pessimist, while
Elinor thought more optimistically when she had men who broke up with her. Elinor
tried to continue on with life the same way and ignore the heartbreak she had felt
inside. Ultimately, each sister will end up with a man, but the question remains; which
man?
Jane Austen was known for incorporating humor throughout her stories and this
continues to be true with Sense and Sensibility. Sense and Sensibility involves more
emotion than Pride and Prejudice. Marianne was almost always crying after a man
broke her heart by denying he ever loved her. Elinor tried to hold the family together,
while her mother and her sister were completely falling apart. A theme that ran
throughout Sense and Sensibility was gender inequality. Gender inequality is when a
sex is treated unfairly and inferior, and in most cases it is a woman. Gender inequality
was common in Jane Austen’s time. The women were forced to find mates because
they could not afford to live on their own after their fathers died. This was ultimately
true for the woman of Sense and Sensibility. Besides, Marianne’s constant crying, the
story was well written. The story pulled the reader in and pushed the reader to keep up
with the story. Sense and Sensibility yet another glimpse into real life experience of
Jane Austen.
In Pride and Prejudice
Characterization is “the process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character”
(Elements of Literature 1191). There were two types of characterization, direct and indirect. Direct
characterization is “when a writer uses this method, we do not have to figure out what a
character’s personality is like” (Elements of Literature 1191). Indirect characterization has individuals
use “own judgment, putting clues together to figure out what a character is like” (Elements of
Literature 1191). In Pride and Prejudice, characterization was used quite often. In order to connect
with characters as the reader, both types of characterizations should be used. Austen shared
information about each characters personality. Characterization was used in Pride and
Prejudice to enhance the characters. There are many examples of characterizations
throughout Pride and Prejudice. Right from the beginning of the novel, Austen shared information
with the readers about Mr. Bennet, “Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic
humor, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three and twenty years had been insufficient
to make his wife understand his character” (Pride and Prejudice 3). This quoted stated that Mr.
Bennet was sarcastic, reserved and the complete opposite of his wife. Although they are married
and opposite, Mrs. Bennet was said to have an unpredictable temper, and the main goal in her life
was to get her daughters married. By giving the reader this information, it can be predicted that
both Mr. and Mrs. Bennet will battle against one another throughout the novel. Another example
of direct characterization was telling the reader what Mr. Bingley was like. Mr. Bingley was a social
butterfly, who was content and far from conservative. Mr. Bingley was also said to be good
natured, full of humor, and great mannered. Austen used more direct characterization over
indirect characterization, throughout the novel; Austen put out what each character was and
often times how they looked. Overall, when an author like Austen, uses characterization, it allowed
the reader to connect with some of the characters, so they will want to continue reading.
Conflict is “a struggle or clash between opposing characters, forces, or emotions”
(Elements of Literature 1192). A conflict can be either external or an internal conflict; “In
an external conflict, a character struggles against some outside force: another
character, society as a whole, or some natural force” (Elements of Literature 1192) and
“an internal conflict, on the other hand, is a struggle between opposing needs, desires,
or emotions within a single character” (Elements of Literature 1192). The main conflict
throughout the novel was between Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet and how they disagreed
on almost every issue presented to them. Since Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Bennet do not agree
on very much in the novel it led to major conflicts throughout the novel. The major
conflict was when Elizabeth was given the choice to either marry Mr. Collins or not, and
by choosing an option would lead to one of her parents not talking to her; “An unhappy
alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your
parents. – Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will
never see you again if you do” (Pride and Prejudice 77). After Lydia was located and the
family found out that Wickham wanted to marry her, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet disagree yet
again. Mr. Bennet wanted Lydia and Wickham to be married in London, so the family
would not gain a bad reputation, while Mrs. Bennet, wanted them to come home to get
married. The Bennets had different thinking on how to act; Mr. Bennet acted angrily and
frigidly toward Lydia when she did come home with Wickham, while Mrs. Bennet was
welcoming and friendly. Due to the conflicts throughout the novel between Mr. and Mrs.
Bennet the story was able to become more developed and the choices the individuals
made were based on who was liked by which parent.
Imagery is “language that appeals to the senses” (Elements of
Literature 1194). Imagery was consistently visible throughout Pride and
Prejudice. The novel was more developed since imagery added to the
readers’ chance to visualize what is happening and the surroundings in
the story. Imagery was used to tell us how Elizabeth had looked after she
had ran through puddles to get to her sister who was at Bingley’s place;
“weary ankles, dirty stockings, and a face glowing with the warmth of
exercise” (Pride and Prejudice 21). Another example of imagery in the
novel was when Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s eyes met; “Their eyes instantly
met, and the cheeks of each were overspread with deepest blush.”
(Pride and Prejudice 213) the novel, gave very detailed imagery for the
reader to see that they were in love by the way each of the way they
blushed. This allowed the reader to visualize the amount of love
between Darcy and Elizabeth. Lastly, imagery is used to describe where
and who Mr. Darcy really was. Darcy’s estate is called Permberley, and
the location was very natural. The reader was able to relate the type of
environment that Darcy lived in, directly to his personality. Darcy’s estate
was filled with nature and therefore demonstrated his simplistic lifestyle.
All throughout Pride and Prejudice, imagery was present and it allowed
the development of visualization to be used to relate to the novel.
In Sense and Sensibility
Throughout Sense and Sensibility, characterization was evident.
Characterization, as defined above, allowed the reader to receive
either direct information about the character, or indirectly told about
the character. Austen described Colonel Brandon as, “He was silent and
grave. His appearance however was not unpleasing, in spite of his being
in the opinion of Marianne and Margaret an absolute old bachelor, for
he was on the wrong side of five and thirty; but though his face was not
handsome his countenance was sensible, and he address was
particularly gentlemanlike” (Sense and Sensibility 22). This described
Colonel Brandon as kind and simple. Austen also used more indirect
characterization in Sense and Sensibility than in Pride and Prejudice.
Marianne was constantly talking about her life and how bad it was.
Therefore, readers could conclude that she did not like to hide what she
was feeling or thinking. Marianne was melodramatic about her life.
Austen also, was careful when she gave each of her characters names.
Although not all of them have an appeal when the name was said,
when ‘Dashwood’ was said, it left a calm feeling, while ‘Lucy Steele’
was a harsh name just as she was pretty harsh herself. By looking just at
the names of her characters, readers would know a little about each
one. Characterization was used to enhance the characters, and
allowed the reader to connect them to themselves.
No matter what piece of work it was, conflicts exist; without conflicts the
story would be dull and uninvolved. A major conflict throughout the
novel dealt with Elinor. Elinor had gone through a lot, but never once did
she leave her guard down. She put up a front and acted like everything
was okay, when in reality she battled against her own heart and mind,
and was constantly trying to figure out what to do. Inside of her body
there was a raging war, while externally, she acted like she had it all
together. For example, Elinor was told that Mr. Edward Ferrars was
already engaged to Lucy, when Elinor really wanted him. “Mr. Edward
Ferrars, it seems has been engaged above this twelvemonth to my
cousin Lucy” (Sense and Sensibility 176). Elinor was devastated, but did
not really show much emotion and did not go all around sharing her
problems. Although Elinor tried to keep it together through all her
conflicts, Marianne, on the other hand, shared all her conflicts and
allowed the world to see what was going on in her life. Marianne had
conflicts involving Willoughby. Marianne fell in love with Willoughby, and
when he went off to London for business, she was absolutely
devastated. Conflict was internally happening Marianne was not sure if
she would survive without her love. Conflicting feelings were occurring
throughout the story in how she should react and feel towards him. Later
on, she discovers that although she had loved Willoughby at one time,
she no longer cared about him. This was a resolution for the internal
conflicts she was dealing with.
Throughout Sense and Sensibility, figurative language was apparent: including
symbols and metaphors. Symbols are “a person, place, thing, or event that stands
both for itself and for something beyond itself” (Elements of Literature 1202). By
looking just at the title of Austen’s work, there was a symbol. Elinor was considered
to be the sensible one in Sense and Sensibility. Sensibility represents Marianne
because she is full of emotional response, also known as sensibility. In the long run,
once Marianne came to her senses, she would receive a husband who would be
a compatible match for her. A metaphor “makes a comparison between two
seemingly unlike things without using a connective word like, as, than, or
resembles” (Elements of Literature 1196). Metaphors in Sense and Sensibility deals
with Mr. Willoughby, who saved Marianne; “A gentleman carrying a gun, with two
pointers playing round him, was passing up the hill and within a few yards of
Marianne, when her accident happened” (Sense and Sensibility 27). Mr.
Willoughby was like a hunter and he was hunting Marianne. Also, because he was
hunting Marianne, and usually hunters hurt who they hunt, Mr. Willoughby would
eventually hurt Marianne and she would take a while to recover from the
heartbreak Willoughby put her through. Lastly, Mr. Willoughby tried to give
Marianne a horse to show his affections for her, but in reality, only a valuable gift
should and would be given to his wife if he was a true man. Although, he was so
willing to give the horse to Marianne, Elinor stopped that from occurring. Symbols,
in general, make the reader think and analyze the story even more than they
typically would.
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