Jane Austen and Upper-Class Society

             Jane Austen, unlike other famous authors of her time, wrote of the people who belonged to the upper middle class of English society. Albeit exceptional, her works dealt with the woes not of the common but the privileged man. Her characters in the novel Persuasion are set in the early 1800s, in Somersetshire, Lyme Regis, and Bath. Austen is renowned for relatable characters, primarily because she refuses to hide their flaws. Each character is presented in the rawest manner; quirks and all. Where Elizabeth is prejudice, and Emma is childlike and foolish, Anne Elliot is smart, but malleable and easily persuaded in her youth.
             In the period in which the novel is set, gender roles had started to become exceptionally defined and strict. Where once women could work alongside men, now they were expected only to sit quietly and look pretty. Women were thought to be women, not humans. This distinction made it necessary that they are given a different sort of education; one that catered to the preferences of men. Wollstonecraft's primary issue with the men of her time was highlighted in A Vindication of the Rights of Women. She thought that such education was principally incorrect and unfair. Accomplishments such as dancing, singing, drawing, and a command on modern languages did not prepare women for the real world; they only made them appear marriageable. Austen's works highlight the importance society of that time would place on such education, and especially the aforementioned accomplishments, and how characters that deviated from the social constructs of gender roles were ostracized and critiqued.
             The protagonist of Jane Austen's Persuasion, Anne Elliot is presented to the reader as a young, intelligent and introspective girl who spends a lot of her time reminiscing and thinking. Anne is introduced to us as 'only Anne' (5), the middle child, stuck in a family that does not appreciate her and treats her as one...

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Jane Austen and Upper-Class Society. (1969, December 31). In MegaEssays.com. Retrieved 16:55, December 10, 2018, from http://vbetweenthelines.com/viewpaper/300090.html