Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Novels of Jane Austen (SPOILER ALERT!!!)

Sense & Sensibility (1811)

This novel is a comedy of manners, meaning the way people speak and act is humorous - it's a parody of a certain social class. This book tells the story of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood who travel about southern England, experiencing love and heartbreak. In the book, sense refers to good judgement, and sensibility refers to one's sensitivity and emotion. Elinor is the one with clear judgement, while Marianne is the emotional one. The question of the story is, which is more important - to think and act rationally or emotionally? There's no clear answer, although some say that both are important and the only answer is to balance them equally.

Pride & Prejudice (1813)

This novel tells of a family of five daughters, all looking for the right man to marry, and one rich young man, Mr. Bingley, who might marry the eldest, named Jane. This creates a great deal of jealousy among her sisters as well as other men also looking to marry these girls. The main character is the second eldest, Elizabeth, who is smart and cautious, and cares more about Jane's happiness than her own. Meanwhile, Bingley has a friend named Mr. Darcy who is very cold toward Elizabeth and her family. It's only later she learns why, and realizes that Mr. Darcy is actually a good man after all.

Mansfield Park (1814)

This book tells the story of three sisters, one who married rich, one who married a minister, and the third who married a soldier, who was wounded and received such a low pension, he could barely afford to care for his family of nine children. To help the poor sister, the rich one, Lady Bertram, agrees to raise their oldest child, Fanny Price, taking the girl to her estate, called Mansfield Park. It's a bit of a Cinderella situation for Fanny, as no one seems to like her at all there, apart from one cousin named Edmund. In the end, everyone at Mansfield Park realizes that Fanny is the only one with real morals, and give her the respect she deserves.

Emma (1815)

This story is another comedy of manners, about a girl who is rich, beautiful, and spoiled. She thinks she knows everything, and enjoys playing match-maker, playing with other people's lives, not realizing the damage she could do. As the story progresses, Emma realizes she doesn't understand people as well as she had thought, and needs to be more careful and caring. This story is about giving people second chances, showing they can learn and grow over time.

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