What is the meaning of this quote: “Jane Austen was certainly a more serious and interesting moralist. Her attitude to morality was not less flexible, but it was less relaxed. The novels concern the difficulties, perils, and indispensability of self-discovery"
The meaning of this quote can be found in the difference of meaning in "less flexible" versus "less relaxed." To say that Jane Austen's attitude to morality was "not less flexible, but is was less relaxed" is to say that Austen was deliberate in her take on morality. Flexible means to adjust or adapt to conditions. Relaxed means to slacken by effort. Austen made a conscious decision to follow a code of ethics based on being morally correct in terms of doing the "right" thing. She never slackened in her morals and values. Less flexible is to be less adaptable. Austen would never adapt to any conditions which would force her to compromise her righteous beliefs. Therefore she was not less flexible in her attitude to morality. She was less relaxed meaning she never slackened in her attitude on morality.
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