Quietly Defiant: Challenging Society’s Ideal Woman in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice

Author

Summary, in English

Jane Austen is a well-known author, particularly within feminist literary history as her texts often included the lives of young women. The protagonists of Austen’s novels have often been the subject of analysis regarding how the author argued about women’s position in society however the minor characters are seldom discussed. In this essay I discussed whether or not her minor female characters can be used to argue against the ideal which women were expected to conform to during her time. When analyzing the characters, I took into consideration research on women’s position in society during Austen’s lifetime e.g. within education, marriage, and social class to understand how society affected the characters and their actions. I came to the conclusion that none of the four characters analyzed achieved the expectations of society and therefore their characterization can be used to argue that the ideal woman is unachievable.

Topic

  • Languages and Literatures

Keywords

  • Jane Austen
  • literature
  • feminism
  • character analysis
  • sense and sensibility
  • pride and prejudice

Supervisor

  • Cian Duffy (Professor)