Jane Austen is a personality you must have heard about – if not through reading her books, at least by watching the famous cinematic adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Well, the lady mentioned before not only was a breakthrough for her times, but she’s still stunning even for the millennial and Z generations. Allow me to tell you why!
She wrote social satires
No matter how romantic Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility seem, there is no chance to not sense the subtle sarcasm and irony intertwined with the characters’ lines or the plot itself. Although they approach the matrimonial and relational side of society, Austen’s novels discuss serious issues such as women powerlessness, class stigmatization, the inability to provide for yourself or your family unless you fit strict social rules.
Naturally, the wild and untamed Elizabeth Bennett is a statement herself – for freedom, equality and everything wrong back then. She most likely didn’t exist – except for the author herself, whom I suspect to have been quite similar to Lizzie – but appeared as complete and provocative opposition to the social oppression.
She captured the atypical
Her feminine characters – either Elizabeth or Marianne – are very unusual for a patriarchal society. This may be because Jane Austen herself was atypical and non-conformist. Although she offered her name to the sweet and gullible Jane Bennett, the author herself was highly witted and observant, noticing all the social dysfunctionalities. Not only her feminine characters are powerful and unusual, but the male ones don’t fall short of expectations, either – Darcy, for instance, is sensitive and expresses his feelings, a manifestation highly unusual for the Regency period!
She was highly humorous
Jane Austen’s novels are known for the British sense of humour – you keep on reading, then suddenly an amazingly witty joke makes you laugh and laugh! But, don’t get me wrong, her funny moments do not minimalize the extreme intelligence and fluidity of the books themselves – quite the opposite, they add to the value and consistency!
She was definitely a feminist
Although she lived a long time before feminism emerged, Jane Austen was a visionary herself. She questioned life and equality and created women that existed at the border between fantasy and reality: some of them are so bold and brave that there is no way we could integrate them in the Victorian period.
But, what if more women were, in fact, like that and we get to find out through Jane Austen’s books?
In the end, there are so few things we know about women in the past – because, naturally, the history is written by the winners and the historical winners were mainly men!
She knew how to incite curiosity
The plots in her novels are so diverse – from a highly pious character that manages to get married to her cousin to a fantasy novel about a haunted abbey and so on. Austen was a master of suspense. In fact, it is a well-known thing that the highest peak of the action takes place in the last twenty pages!
But you can’t just skip it to find out because she keeps introducing new characters – you’d think she knew that some of us would try to cheat and read the ending and made it impossible to figure it out without reading the entire book!
And, just in case these reasons are not enough for you, go give her books a try! No matter what stereotypes you’ve heard about them, you will never ever regret reading a classic, even though you don’t like it! At least, next time when you gather with your friends and they start debating over this topic, you will be able to express an opinion yourself!