Jane Austen Questions and Answers

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What are the three types of Jane Austen fans? (For example, Janeites are those who read Jane Austen for the romance.)

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There are various types of Jane Austen fans, or Janeites. The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes the term Janeite as “an enthusiastic admirer of Jane Austen's writings.” There are those who read her because the stories are as follows:

  1. Romances
  2. Universal
  3. Well-crafted

Romances

In each of her novels, Jane Austen describes a romance between the primary characters. The reader often feels a sense of tension after boy meets girl. In other words, we worry about whether these characters will end up together. For instance, in Pride and Prejudice, will Elizabeth wind up with Darcy after having rejected him once? As the reader begins to glean Darcy’s true character, we root for them to get together. Similarly, we root for Anne Russell to step outside the influence of her family and friends and wind up with Captain Wentworth, just as we root for Emma to come to her senses and recognize her true feelings for Mr. Knightley.

Universal

Jane Austen’s stories are universal and therefore remain topical today. Embedded in the tales of romance, she essentially wrote about money—or the lack thereof—and financial dependence, snobbery, religion and religious hypocrisy, morality, autonomy, personal evolution, and class, among many other themes. According to the Jane Austen Society, she wrote about “people and their problems, dysfunctional families, why, and even if, women should marry.” These are issues that were relevant in Austen’s time and remain relevant today. As a result, the majority of Austen’s characters are extremely relatable. She took a critical and often humorous look at life, filling her stories with irony and a sense of realism that transcends the specific age and characters that populate her novels.

Well-crafted

Jane Austen’s novels are well-crafted. She has a style that is clean and communicates the stories in an easy manner, advancing the plots through credible dialogue and strong character portrayals, including her focus on the intrinsic psychology of the characters she describes. She generally does not spend much time describing the specific appearances of her characters and their settings. She is more interested in the thoughts and atmospheres, not the particular images of any specific person or setting.

She has a dry sense of humor and irony, and her wit and observations are often subtle and tongue-in-cheek, as evidenced in the first sentence of Pride and Prejudice:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

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