Free Essay

Why Do We Still Read Jane Austen Today?

In: English and Literature

Submitted By JolieEtoile
Words 527
Pages 3
Why do we still read Austen today?
By Ida Palmer

Jane Austen is considered a revolutionary novelist and prose-writer, arguably rivalled only by the likes of William Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde. But, 200 years after her books were written, why do we still read them today? Possibly the most apparent reason is Austen’s ability to make us feel better about ourselves. Her books are awash with moral guidance as we see the main characters go on journeys and encounter obstacles in their quest for happiness, and we cannot help but put ourselves in their shoes and wonder “What would I do?”. Austen uses subtlety to guide us through moral difficulties, avoiding the preachy tone of “You SHOULD do this”, and instead incorporating the delicate air of “This is a possibility.” Our need for guidance and role models relates back to the inescapable human desire for valid instruction from an influential leader; In her time, when unmarried women were virtually invisible on the social scale, Austen was not a typical body for a role model, and so many of her readers would not have uncovered, or expected, the moral messages written into her storylines. Contemporary readers, however, can easily unpick the subtleties in Austen’s work and indentify the intricacy in her “comedy of manners”. Another perfectly valid reason we still read Austen today is simply because she is an eloquent and articulate writer. She writes with wit, flair, irony, and an unmatchable humour in her tone. Her novels, albeit not popular in her own lifetime, are now greatly appreciated for their hilarity and tinkling mockery of society. Her characters are entirely three dimensional, not cardboard; she uses stock characters, typical in all comedies of the era, but has made them utterly her own by combining several stereotypes or roles into one person, giving them more magnitude and making their actions somewhat unexpected. We never know how an Austen character will react in a difficult situation: will they utilize their “fool” dimension and merely laugh their problems away? Or perhaps activate their “blocking” personality, and stand in the way of someone eager to reach their goal? –Austen’s ability to make her characters realistic and wholly believable is matched by none other. Austen’s work is considered timeless by many: not because of her setting, or characters, or storylines – merely because of her elaborate understanding of human nature. Society may have changed dramatically in the last 200 years, but human nature hasn’t. Austen’s novels combine many collective themes – money, love, status, and perhaps most importantly, personal happiness. Modern novels still include these themes as important parts of their plot, and we can see easily that Austen was a pioneer in the timeless story. Her characters may speak in the tone of their era, may dress in the clothes of their generation, and may conform to the societal standards set in their own lifetime, but their issues and problems are faced by many even today. Austen was cunning by inviting the complexity but reliability of human nature into her work – for it will never change, never waver, and will resonate with the masses, leaving her novels timeless pieces of art.…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Why We Do What We Do

...RUNNING HEAD: Why We Do Why We Do What We Do “To be or not to be that is the question” (Shakespeare, 1945) most notably said in Shakespearian text. Today we ask the same question within our actions. Are we able to be ourselves in the decisions we make or are we not? In business we exam many problems and situations and act appropriately based the business needs and practices. In many cases the decisions we make our not within our means or not based on whom we are. Many business decisions are made with utilitarian approach. The decision is based not on the character of the person but the decision itself. Decisions like these can often make or break a company. “Character is a major component of leadership. This goes hand and hand with integrity and commitment will come naturally.”(Klann, 2007) Developing Character can lead to major personal achievements within an organization. Virtue Theory shifts the focus of decision making based on rules and regulations to morals and ethics based on one’s self being. This can be seen in a positive light depending on the business someone conducts. In many situations it can lead to difficult decision making when it comes to organizations that have to abide by certain policies and procedures that may not agree with an individual’s morals and ethics. “Is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your family…?” (Groening, 1989) Deontology brings us the dilemma of what the moral high ground is and why. Individual morality differs for each......

Words: 437 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Why We Do Not Do Drugs?

...feels. We see drugs on TV and movies every day. Many young people encounter them at school, at home or in their neighborhood. It is not unusual to be curious about something you see and hear about so often, so many people first try drugs because they are curious about them. Another reason young people take drugs is to escape their reality. Maybe their home life is not very happy. Maybe they have a boring job, are not doing well in school, or are just not happy with their life for whatever reason. For many people, drugs are a way to escape that unhappy reality. They can feel a little braver, stronger, a little smarter, more beautiful or more important. Of course this doesn't last long, but that doesn't matter. For the brief time that the drugs are taking affect, the user can forget about the problems, responsibilities and limitations of everyday life and escape to a fantasy world. It is no secret that drugs change the way you feel; this is why they are so attractive to young people despite their dangers. Young people also take drugs to feel cool and impress their friends. If your friends all smoke marijuana, you will probably be expected to smoke it, too. If they snort cocaine, they will offer it to you. They may tell you that you are scared or acting like a baby if you don’t want to try it. This push to do what your friends are doing is called peer pressure, and it has a very strong effect on young people who don’t want to appear un cool to their friends. Some kids will do......

Words: 492 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Why We Still Hate Hr

...Why We Still Hate HR By Karen Southall Watts (2008) A few years ago, while plowing through my reading and research in graduate school I read an article called "Why we hate HR" by Keith H. Hammonds. In his extensive look at HR, mostly from a big corporation viewpoint, he described HR as "a dark bureaucratic force that blindly enforces nonsensical rules, resists creativity, and impedes constructive change." Ouch! From my point of view, training entrepreneurs, coaching businesswomen and talking to jobseekers I must say, we still hate HR. Let me tell you why. The folks in HR still don't get it. As a group they still don't understand what the company does, who the customers are and what the core business drivers are. I base this assessment on the calls I get from clients that start with the words, "You'll never believe what HR did this time." The HR professionals I've talked to over the last few years have a mind-boggling understanding of paperwork, regulations and dodging phone calls. However, once they glance outside their own office they seem to be mystified. There is still a bias towards "efficiency" instead of value. HR offices are keyed into the number of hours of training they provide-not the results delivered. They seem to collect job applications and process job candidates in a manner designed to prove their own competency and not as a pipeline for needed talent. Automated systems may make it easier to outsource the administrative tasks of HR, but they don't necessarily...

Words: 538 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Jane Austens Persuasion

...the financial means to rent Kellynch from Sir Walter, one of the so-called landed gentry. How (I assume this should be what) does Jane Austen's treatment of class and social mobility reveal about these men and their women such as Anne Elliot and Mrs. Smith? Which group fares better and why? Persuasion is set in a time when landed gentry were beginning to lose their firm grasp over the money and power of society and were being forced to acknowledge not only the presence of the nouveau riche, but the fact that one cannot survive on name alone. The nouveau riche were faring better financially but were not accepted socially by titled men such as Sir Walter, who may have been losing their estates slowly due to falling incomes and a spread of the collective wealth of the area but were still not apt to welcome those from families who may not have been mentioned in Burke's Peerage. Social mobility was allowing people with new money the access to old families with title and position that previously would have been unattainable. Austen shows an interesting difference between being rich and being titled – one stands firm and one is easily lost. Sir Walter is losing his fortune at a rapid pace, and along with it, his home and estate, while his title and position in society stand firm. He could lose every penny, but the title on his name would still grant him entry to most any home or societal function. Mrs. Smith, on the other hand gained her position in society by marrying......

Words: 777 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Analysis of Jane Austen

...in which Jane Austen uses caricature to ridicule or point out the faults of a rigid class system in characters such as Sir Walter, Mr. Woodhouse, and Mr. Collins. Extend your explanation of these character's personalities and goals to those of one or two of today's politicians. Are there parallels between Mr. Woodhouse, for example, and members of the Congress or Legislature? Explain your Answer. Jane Austen uses caricature to ridicule and to point out faults of the rigid class system of her day. We can look at Sir Walter Elliot from Persuasion, Austen’s last completed novel in 1816. Secondly poor old Mr. Woodhouse from Emma, written by Austen and published in 1815. Lastly Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice also written by Austen and published in 1813. Sir Walter Elliot at first read comes off as pompous and vain. After finishing the novel I cannot seem to change my view of him and probably with good reason. “He maintains personal qualities that are abhorrent to Austen's protagonists. Selfish and self-absorbed, he is unable to think past himself and his own immediate desires. Yet Sir Walter is not at all evil or ill inclined; rather, he is comically ridiculous, a caricature of the old, titled class” (SparkNotesEditors). Austen explains his vain character well in this one statement. “Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter Elliot's character; vanity of person and of situation. He had been remarkably handsome in his youth; and, at fifty-four, was still a......

Words: 1118 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Jane Austen

...Heroines Jane Austen- ENG 471 Abstract A heroine is a woman of strong emotional strength, character, moral standard and willpower. A heroine knows what she wants in life and she knows that she will not get their by settling for anything less. In the stories of Elizabeth Bennet, Elinor Dashwood, Fanny Price, and Emma Woodhouse, this was just the case. They fought to overcome obstacles and challenges that they were faced with so that they could live happy and prosperous lives. In their own way they proved to be heroines. Introduction In my opinion, a heroine is a woman with emotional strength, character, moral standard and willpower. A heroine does not have to be the richest, smartest or prettiest, but she does have to have a sense of esteem. A heroine knows what she wants, as well as what she does not want and she knows how to go about getting it in her own way. This is a head strong woman who keeps her priorities in line with realistic measures and the things that will keep them being the strong women that they are. While reading the Jane Austen novels and watching the movies there were several heroines to consider. While they were all carried different situations and outcome when it came to relationships and family, they were all the same in being strong in character and their beliefs. It seemed as if they carried the personal motto: don’t settle for less in the matters of love and relationships and each heroine did just that. The heroines in the Jane Austen......

Words: 3236 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

Why Do I Read

...addition to news and various articles I prefer to read short stories. My fascination with short stories began at around age 12 or 13. At the time, since access to television in Iran was very limited. We had to entertain ourselves and being a mischievous child I spent a lot of time in my room (being punished) either listening to radio or reading. My favorite books at the time were horror books. I remember buying these paperback books and reading them cover to cover in two or three days and be scared out of my wits for a few days. I recall at the end of some of these books were teasers about the next story that was due to arrive next. However, at the end of one of the books there was a short story by Edgar Allan Poe titled “The Cask of Amontillado”, I read that story several times and every time I found something new that I Had missed previously. That was the reason I got interested in short stories. My fascination with short stories always have been with a given writers ability to develop main characters, , story plot, and a that in novels might take chapters to develop, in a page or two. The stories are rich in content and packed with symbolisms that requires multiple reading to fully understand. Some of my all-time favorite short stories include, Shirley Jackson’s “The lottery”, Poe’s “tell-tell heart”, and “The Devil in Belfry”. Jack London’s “to build a Fire”, “Wisdom of The Trail”, and “War” My first real novel that I read was Animal Farm by George Orwell. I found......

Words: 501 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Why Do We Have Organizations

...PSY 360-GS Assignment 1: Why do we have organizations? We are surrounded by organizations. What does organization mean? Why do we have organizations? What kind of impact organizations have in our in our society? These are many questions regarding organizations. In order to understand organizations we need define the meaning. When one reads the definition in the dictionary (Webster’s Pocket Dictionary 1990) it says “being organized or organized group; as a club”. In Wikipedia, it has a more definitive meaning indicating “social arrangement which pursues collective goals, which controls its own performance, and which has a boundary separating it from its environment”; two different sources with similar meanings. This gives us a broad idea the meaning of organization. Organization implies that group of individuals come together working / supporting a common goal. Everyone has a role and understands their responsibility in obtaining/ achieving the goal. We now understand the meaning of organization. Why do we have organizations? Organizations are the foundation of our being. It gives us structure on how to function in our day to day activities and helping in achieving the completion of common goal. It defines our role & the importance of our talent/skill to succeed in meeting our objective. By defining everyone’s role, it can maximize production efficiently in completing and meeting the group’s goal. It’s like a long chain...

Words: 387 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Why Do We Dream

... -Henry David Thoreau Dreams have fascinated philosophers for thousands of years. You have often found yourself puzzling over mysterious content of a dream. Firstly let’s start by answering a basic question- What is a dream? A dream can include any of the images, thoughts and emotions that are experienced during sleep. Dreams can be filled with joyful emotions or frightening imagery, focused and understandable or unclear and confusing. Why do we dream? What purpose do dreams serve? While many theories have been proposed, no single consensus has emerged. Ernest Hoffman, suggests that, a possible (though certainly not proven) function of a dream to be weaving new material into the memory system in a way that both reduces emotional arousal and is adaptive in helping us cope with further trauma or stressful events. Psychoanalytic theory of dreams: Sigmund Freud’s theory of dreams suggested that dreams were representation of unconscious desires, thoughts and motivations. Dreams allows us to be what we cannot be, and say what we cannot say in our daily life. According to Freud’s psychoanalytic view of personality, people are driven by aggressive and sexual instincts that are repressed from conscious awareness. While these thoughts are not consciously expressed. He suggests that they find their way into our awareness via dreams. In his famous book ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ Freud wrote that dreams are disguised fulfillments of repressed wishes. He also describes...

Words: 425 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Why Do We Write

...We write for a number of reasons. We write to get our ideas out, to get our imagination and what we want to say from our minds into pen and unto paper, we write to express ourselves. We write so we would be able to relate to others exactly what we want them to hear, and what may be going through our minds. There are persons who if you speak with them directly would not be able to say what they want accurately and writing helps get the message across just the way you want it to be heard from the listener’s side. Sometimes we speak and we make mistakes and we can’t take back what was said, we can say sorry or say that was not what we intended to say but the person already heard it and can take it the wrong way, but if you write you can always erase, backspace or cross off what was written and rewrite what you initially wanted to say. We write to keep records or to remind us of stuff we may forget. Our brains, which can be linked to a flash drive or computer sometimes crash or goes blank and we need a boost or technician to remind us of things. Writing is like our Technician we can go back to our recorded documents and refresh ourselves with what we wrote and get back on track with what we have written a while aback. We also write to keep stories or important information from our past, alive. Stories from our dead ancestors can be carried from generation to generation and we can see through their eyes what transpired back then even if we weren’t actually there....

Words: 287 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Why Do We Plan

...how you would respond if they were deployed. Plan what to do in case you are separated during an emergency * Choose two places to meet: * ̶ Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire * ̶ Outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate * * Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones. Plan what to do if you have to evacuate * Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel/motel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to an evacuation shelter if necessary. * * Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable. * * Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes. Terrorist Attacks Terrorist attacks like the ones we experienced on September 11, 2001 have left many concerned about the possibility of future incidents of terrorism in the United States and their potential impact. They have raised uncertainty about what might happen next, increasing stress levels. There are things you can do to prepare for terrorist attacks and reduce the stress......

Words: 1219 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Why We Read

...1302 Paper 1 – “Why We Read” Picture While studying the picture entitled, “Why We Read,” it seems the artist is trying to paint a descriptive picture for people to demonstrate the difference between the images our minds create or receive while reading a book vs. watching a television program. Reading helps the brain create a more detailed mental picture and broadens the imagination by reducing limitations due to the fact that while reading, one must create mental pictures to go along with a story instead of the picture being perfectly thought out and visually created by someone else. In the cartoon, the two characters in the two images look like identical old alien men. One picture shows a thought blurb or bubble with multiple images and concepts created in the man’s brain through the written word. The other picture shows the very same character watching television. His thought blurb or bubble is empty and represents a brain without creative images, and leaves the viewer to believe the character is without thought. The artist is also trying to show a visual picture that ties the whole “imagination” aspect together and how the character’s imagination has already broadened his mind. The image also seems as if it appeals to adults more because adults like things that are out of the ordinary and strange, which may help captivate their attention and curiosity. The illustration also shows that it will cause the reader to be more creative when one reads, because the......

Words: 557 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Jane Austen

...JANE AUSTEN An English author widely read in the nineteen-hundreds, was Jane Austen. Although Austen’s works were widely read and popular in her lifetime, she published her works anonymously. All of her books are mainly about bright, young heroines in courtship and finally marriage, even though Austen herself never married. Her best-known books include Pride and Prejudice. Virginia Woolf, a renown critic in Austen’s time called Austen "the most perfect artist among women." Austen’s position as part of the upper class of the early nineteenth century British society gave her not only a subject for her novels but also the time needed for writing. Jane Austen was born in Stevenson, Hampshire, as the second daughter and seventh child in a family of eight. As a young woman Jane enjoyed dancing and she attended balls in many of the great houses of the neighborhood. She loved the country, and enjoyed long country walks. As a result, when she wrote, many of her works are set in the English countryside. Life was going great, therefore it came as a shock when Mr. Austen decided to retire and move with his wife and two daughters to Bath. Bath is where two of Austen’s books are set. The next four years were difficult ones for Jane. She disliked the busy town and missed her Steventon life. After her father's death in 1805, his widow and daughters also suffered financial difficulties and were forced to rely on the charity of the Austen sons. Most of Jane’s novel characters are upper......

Words: 809 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Why Do We Sleep

...Comp 1 Why do we sleep? Why do we sleep, how is it necessary? It is well known that you have to sleep. If you do not sleep you will die in a week or so. With that being said what does sleep do? We know it makes you feel alert and energized. Is it just evolution at work to keep us out of harm’s way at night? Is sleep our body’s way of conserving energy? Is it a way for our brains to imprint memories, and be creative? Does it clean our brain out? Do we actually need eight hours of sleep? Or is it a mix of a few reasons? Sleep is defiantly an important function in our bodies or we would not get so tired at night we just can’t stay awake. Our brains have a region devoted to letting us know when to sleep it is our biological clock. It knows when we should be awake and when we should sleep and you cannot change it knows that when the sun comes up its time to be awake and a few hours after dark it is time to sleep. But what does sleep do other than have you lay still and have dreams? Is evolution the reason? Are we safer by not hurting ourselves at night or worse getting preyed upon? That fact is debatable. By not moving around you won’t hurt yourself. And the predators will not find you as easily. But there are other things to worry about. What about natural disasters like fires, floods, tornados, and earth quakes? I would think being conscious would be more helpful with these situations even if you are not moving around. So I think we can rule out the evolutionary......

Words: 831 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Emma in Jane Austen

...Green, Brianna English 2 Professor Padilla June 3, 2012 Emma: the Turning Point at Box Hill Essay Emma, a novel by Jane Austen, is the story of a young woman, Emma, who is rich, stubborn, conniving, and occupies her time meddling into others' business. There are several recurring themes throughout the novel; the ideas of marriage, social class, women's confinement, and the power of imagination to blind the one from the truth, which all become delineated and reach a climax during the trip to Box Hill. The scene at Box Hill exposes many underlying emotions that have been built up throughout the novel, and sets the stage for the events that conclude it. Emma's personality is largely shaped by the nature of her upbringing. Emma had no motherly figure guiding her as she grew up, due to the fact that her mother passed away at a young age, and her governess, Miss Taylor, became her best friend instead of an authority over her. At the start of the novel Miss Taylor gets married to Mr. Weston, leaving Emma with her despondent and hypochondriac father, Mr. Woodhouse. Although Mr. Woodhouse often confines Emma to the house because of his paranoia of her being harmed, he gives her little guidance. Emma becomes accustomed to being the "princess" of her house, and she applies this role to all of her social interactions, as she develops the ability to manipulate people and control them to advance her own goals. Emma views herself with the......

Words: 3418 - Pages: 14