Jane Austen as a novelist???

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Based on your question, I am going to assume that you are looking for help in understanding what kind of novelist/writer Jane Austen is, based on her body of work, most notably, Pride and Prejudice. If you are looking for multiple opinions on Jane Austen as a writer, this should be moved to a discussion board.

First of all, Jane Austen is a very early 19th century writer and a woman, so she is in a new world of writers. As a woman, she writes about the plight and conditions of women in England during this time  period. Most of her novels focus on the topic of marriage and the importance of marriage as a means for financial and social stability for young women. She frequently satirizes English society.  She is known for having a large cast of characters, usually from the class of the landed gentry, similar to her own background, so it is said that she wrote of what she knew.  She is a master of characterization and uses all of the elements of the writer's toolbox to create her memorable characters. She is especially good with her use of dialogue as means of characterization. As reader, you can almost hear the chracters speaking, and you can notice word choice, level of diction, length of sentence, subject of conversation, use of cleverness and humor, use of tone etc. to play a significant role in your understanding of that character. 

In Pride and Prejudice she does an excellent job of showing multiple perspectives on the importance of marriage and the goals of marriage. The novel opens with "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of wife." This statement then sets the novel off on a the path to explore the subject of marriage from multiple perspectives.  Jane and especially Elizabeth marry for true love; Charlotte for financial security; Lydia for the "title" of wife and more base sexual concerns. The theme of marriage and society's expectations of women are the primary themes of this novel and her others as well. 

Austen is one of the most beloved author's of her time, and her novels have enjoyed a fine critical reception since their original publication.  In fact, there seems to be a current extra interest in her work as evidenced by the number of movies,"pre-quel,""sequel" and allusionary works out right now!

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