An inquiry about Jane Austen's novels pleaseHello, I have to write a thesis about Three novels for Jane Auten (Pridea nd Prejudice, sense and Sensibilty and Emma). My supervisor asked me to write...

An inquiry about Jane Austen's novels please


I have to write a thesis about Three novels for Jane Auten (Pridea nd Prejudice, sense and Sensibilty and Emma). My supervisor asked me to write about sense and self-restraint in these three novels but I am finding difficulty in conclusion because I am writing the abstract.


Many thanks for your help.

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sense and Sensibility is the most obvious choice for that topic, but it is present in the others too.  Austen was a careful observer and a cutting satirist.  Northanger Abbey comes to mind, but these work too.  Emma is the most sophisticated of these works, and perfects Austen's social commentary.  Ways of choosing husbands and wives were a lot different then.  You have a lot of sympathy for the characters that get it wrong, but you also feel critical of them.  The characters that are the happiest seem to be making all of the wrong decisions, financially and socially.  By causing her readers to consider the choices these characters make and the consequences of those choices, Austen was hoping to make her society aware of some of the counterproductive or even cruel practices in all sorts of relationships.  Besides social class and choice of partners based on monetary gains, she also explores inheritance laws, widows and spinster women.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The dichotomy between sense and self-restraint is key in the novels of Jane Austen. Mostly clearly this is the central theme of Sense and Sensibility, with Eleanor and Marianne Dashwood representing both sides of this conflict. You will want to think about how characters change and are characterised more by self-restraint as the novels develop - the transformation of Marianne Dashwood through her disastrous courtship, Emma's change through her flawed matchmaking schemes and arrogance and lastly both Elizabeth and Darcy's transformation through Lydia's elopement are key to focus on.

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is generally agreed at the postgraduate level that pre-composition "planning" abstracts will be rewritten once the Thesis itself is completed. So discussion of your Thesis Conclusion in your Abstract probably will, at the planning stage--which is where it sounds like you are--be a bit vague. This is because you haven't completed your in-depth research, as your supervisor knows to be the case.

zumri | Student

Hello Is there anyone interested in discussing about the social structure in Austen's Sense and sensibility

arhawkin | Student

Although I am not an expert on Austen by any means, my work in the eighteenth century novel lends much to the theme which your supervisor suggests. Obviously there are a number of contexts through which you can view the the social, civil, and even personal utility of "self-restraint." The most obvious, perhaps, is the gender divide on the issue. Throughout the eighteenth century self-restraint is named a "virtue" in women specifically. Famous novels of this period (Clarissa, Cecilia, Tom Jones...etc) all evaluate their heroines in the degree to which these heroines maintain distance from their lovers/courtiers, suppress their "outpouring" of tears in highly emotional situations, and of course the degree to which they were involved in the "masquerade" games of high society. Men, on the other hand, were deemed virtuous from an entirely different set of standards - one which commends them for heroic action in the face of adversity, among other differences. Nevertheless, Pride and Prejudice, arguably for the first time, begins to question this entrenched gender-virtue evaluation through a reversal of characterization. What I saw stand out in that novel were adjectives which had traditionally been used to describe women are now applied to men (esp. Mr. Darcy). I think a good place to start would be to examine the history of "restraint" in the enlightenment and how Austen's novels serve to reverse some of these conventions.