Jane Austen Questions and Answers

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Discuss Jane Austen as a moralist.

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It is always a temptation to deconstruct literature and in so doing, see it from our modern perspective. Over the years, critics and literary analysts have examined Austen's work for minute clues into her society, her morality, the divergence between her morality and her society's morality, and her psyche. In so doing, the notion has taken root of Jane Austen as a moralist. In her own mind, in her own day, in the minds of her own readers, and in the minds of the contemporary critics like Sir Walter Scott, Jane Austen was not a moralist.

From a contemporaneous viewpoint, Austen wrote novels about a very narrow range of society with a very narrow range of...

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mkcapen1 | Student

I don't feel like Jane Austin was so much a moralist as a presenter of what moralism was for women during her time.  If you look at the characters in her book "Sense and Sensibility" you will be able to see the restraints placed on women as well as men during the period.  Women were very restricted economically as well as socially.  They did not have the freedom to discuss their feelings towards men.  If a woman engaged in inappropriate behavior Puritanical views fell into place. She had no rights and so many social restraints.

I tend to think that Jane Austin makes a mockery of some of the social restraints and morals.  Elizabeth and Edward could have worked things out in the relationship much sooner, if the restraints had not been present.