Jane Austen Questions and Answers

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David Cecil said that Jane Austen believed in 3 standards "That there are three universal standards: virtue, sense and taste…her belief in these three standards conditions and focuses Jane Austen’s picture of humanity.”   What does he mean? Thanks

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Jane Austen's picture of humanity did include virtue, sense, and taste. If she is a portrait of her writings, she held high standards on morality, sense, and good taste. Through her writings, women were virtuous. One virtuous character would be that of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth was a good person with good sense. Elizabeth knew exactly who she was and did not pretend to be anything other. She had very little patience with those who were pompous. The fact that she had fallen in love with the proud Mr. Darcy is only knowing that Elizabeth was attracted to his upfront nature. He did not hide anything. Likewise, Mr. Darcy fell in love with Lizzy's lack of pretense.

Clearly, Lizzy knew she was not in Mr. Darcy's circle of friends, as categorized by society's views of what is prestigous and honorable, and she never pretended to be of any interest to him whatsoever. The fact that Austen wrote these two characters into one another's hearts is to simply confirm her good taste. Darcy and Elizabeth were both sensible, strong-willed characters who cared little about the pomp and circumstance in life. Both Darcy and Lizzy are real characters who have a sense of duty and honor to their family's heritage. Both characters believe in doing what is right in a society which placed great emphasis on good morals and values, even to the point of denying one's own happiness if necessary to maintain a sense honor to one's self. Austen definitely has great taste when it comes to bringing two characters such as Darcy and Elizabeth together. Each character represents a sense of nobleness in that each character is solely atrracted to one another based on a deep down quality of respect and admiration for simple honesty--a quality that is so lacking in the 21st century by many.  

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