2 Essential Questions:What can literature teach us about time period and culture?How does Austen use point of view to develop characters?How does an author use setting to develop theme?What is the importance of first impressions?
3 Jane Austen Born in 1775 in a small town in Hampshire, England. She was one of eight children, the second of two daughters of Reverend George Austen.Found time to write in her parlor during minutes snatched away from domestic duties.She never married.Received her last proposal at 27, which is a recurring age in her novels (Charlotte Lucus, Anne Elliot).She is considered one of the most influential novelists of the English language.
4 Works Published:Sense and Sensibility- examines the fate of unprotected women in an unforgiving economy, as well as the efficacy of love as the basis of a successful marriage.Pride and Prejudice- considered the most “romantic” novel of all time. Revolutionizes the romantic hero and heroine with Elizabeth and Darcy who have to learn from each other. Both are imperfect without the other and create a union of mutual respect and esteem.Mansfield Park- Austen’s least liked novel and the heroine, Fanny Price is a stark contrast to the beloved Elizabeth Bennett.Emma- Austen’s most forward-thinking and progressive novel. Financially and socially secure, Emma is the only character who does not have to marry. (Alicia Silverstone plays the 1990s version of Emma in Clueless).Northanger Abbey- Published after Austen’s death, the novel is a satire of the Gothic genre. The heroine, Catherine is a slave to her Gothic-inflamed imagination and is led by the hero to realize the errors of her ways.Persuasions- Most Austen scholars deem it to be her best work. It chronicled the fate of heroine Anne Elliot and shows the rational love she bestows on the man who loves her in return as vital to his moral education-and even to the success of a nation. It records the decay of the power and influence of the landed nobility.
5 Importance of Setting: The English country home as an important symbol for the English novel.The English country home is an evolving symbol in the genre from Wuthering Heights (1847) to The Remains of the Day (1989), and even holds significance in the PBS popular series Downton Abbey.In Pride and Prejudice, the estates Austen describes reflect their owners in meaningful ways:Austen’s description of Pemberley reflects Darcy’s character: aristocratic, tasteful, rich in history.Longbourn is entailed which represents Elizabeth and the other Bennett girls’ lack of stability and Mr. Bennett’s paternal failure.Netherfield is rented and reflects Bingley’s new wealth. It is important to note that Bingley will buy near the end of the novel.Rosings Park is as elaborate and ostentatious as Lady Catherine herself.Mr. and Mrs. Collins’ sharing of domestic space is reflective of a marriage based solely in economy.
6 Pride and Prejudice as a War Novel Napoleonic WarsJane Austen did much of her writing and publishing at Chawton betweenNina Auerbach writes “Jane Austen tells us what an observant, genteel woman has to tell about the Napoleonic Wars: she writes novels about waiting.”
7 A Novel of MannersIt recreates a social world, conveyed with finely detailed observation, the customs, values, and mores of a complex society.The importance of characters such as Mr. Collins, Mrs. Bennett, the younger Bennett girls, and even Mr. Bennett provide examples of how not to act in early 19th century English society.Take notice of the differences in social classes and the importance of decorum when interacting with members of a higher social status: Mr. Darcy, Lady Catherine
8 Themes to consider while reading: Marriage should be based on mutual improvement, respect and esteem for one another.Marriage provides stability for women.Human nature is filled with paradoxes.Humor can be found in the ridiculous follies of ourselves and others.First impressions can be deceiving.Reflection and perspective is important to gaining understanding.
9 As you read:You will complete the provided guided reading questions. These responses will make up your homework grade for the 9 weeks: 10% of your grade!The first group of questions are due on the 22nd which will be your first Socratic seminar quiz.