Jane Austen Review
Jane Austen wrote six novels throughout her career. Throughout those six novels, she had incorporated the way the society was and how the British culture was. Jane Austen was an influential British author who had made an impact on British history and culture. Jane Austen had a unique writing style within all of her six novels, including her narrative style, her use of irony, her use of communicating emotions in her stories, and lastly, the use of double-meanings in her stories.
Austen has a strong narrative writing style that catches multiple types of audience’s attention. In each of her novels, the narrator has a familiar voice to both the audience and other characters throughout each book. Also, her narrative style has an intimate feeling within her novels. (Kodrich Jane). An example of this is in her novel Emma when the narrator was talking about the birth of Harriet Smith. “Harriet Smith was the natural daughter of somebody. Somebody had placed her, several years back, at Mrs. Goddard’s school, and somebody had lately raised her from the condition of scholar to that of parlour-boarder. This was all that was generally known of her history” (Kodrich Jane). The word “somebody” is italizticed because the word tends to transform into a mysterious persona and that the character is surrounded around friends become (Kodrich Jane).
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The way that Austen had each character represent themselves in her novel is another one of her writing strategies. Each character had their own story behind them. Another writing style that she uses in many of her stories is irony. “Austen’s intimate narration takes a more ironic tone and form in the first line of her most popular novel, Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (Kodrich Jane 5). This shows Austen’s ironic side of the story Pride and Prejudice as in the quote, many people in society, for us as an example, we think that rich men in today’s world want to find a wife and want to be happy. But in Austen’s story, she gives the idea that it is the complete opposite, stating that instead of rich men looking for a wife to marry, it is instead poor women looking for a man with good fortune. Another piece of writing style that Austen uses in her stories is the idea of realism. “Realism is rendered by Austen’s ability to create characters who feel familiar and a narrator who feels like a close friend, and by her limiting the scope of events to fathomable ones” (Kodrich Jane 5). Austen does a really good job combining narration, dialogue, and characterization to help make her stories have that sense of realism that not many stories had back in her time period.
In all of her novels, Austen barely used figurative language, such as for example similes and metaphors, but used, “crisp, deliberate dictation and careful punctuation to convey her ideas.” (Kodrich Jane 2). In other words, she uses punctuation and short words to help describe how the moment in her story is being revealed. Thus, explaining how she interprets emotions in many of her stories is interesting and very just, especially for her time period. Instead of just using words to describe the emotions that she is writing about, she also uses punctuation and emphasis on the words that she writes to further describe how the characters are feeling. For example, in one of her stories, Sense and Sensibility, one of the moments that occur is when the two sisters in the story, Elinor and Marianne, are talking about their old home they grew up in.
“Oh! … with what transporting sensation have I formerly seen them fall! How have I delighted, as I walked, to see them driven in showers about me by the wind! What feelings have they, the season, the air altogether inspired! Now there is no one to regard them. They are seen only as a nuisance, swept hastily off, and driven as much as possible from the sight.” (Kodrich Jane 2).
The way that Marianne’s emotions are evident in the quote are clearly marked by multiple uses of punctuation, as discussed earlier. At the beginning of the quote, Marianne first starts off my saying “Oh!” suggesting that she is so happy and so excited that she is too emotionally happy to express more words other than the word oh. After the first word in the quote, Austen uses more exclamation points, commas, and many short sentences that trail off as Marianne keeps jumping and jumping to other thoughts that she thinks about. This quote shows her writing style clearly as the way she writes the story giving many characters, like Marianne, to show how she feels, but not directly, and that is what makes Jane Austen’s writing styles unique to herself and her stories.
Opposite of Marianne, at the end of her quote, her sister, Elinor, responds with the quote, “It is not every one… who has your passion for dead leaves.” (Kodrich Jane 2). Like the way Austen described Elinor’s sister, she uses the same type of writing style by communicating her emotions through how she writes, not directly but by the use of her punctuation. In the quote she uses ellipses and follows it with words that describe a negative and sour mood. Also, she says not everyone has your passion for dead leaves, meaning that not everyone in life loves the same things as you do. In Sense and Sensibility, Elinor tells her sister that she was never a fan of the house that she and her sister grew up in, also telling her that there are people out there who will disagree with you no matter what idea it is. There are more writing styles that Jane Austen uses that is mostly unique to her stories, but another one of them is the use of double-meanings.
In her first ever story that she wrote, Persuasion, she uses two writing styles that she would later use in her older stories down the road. One of theses writing styles she uses is imagery, for example in Persuasion, to the passing of time. An example of this is when the narrator of the story is observing a beach that is the “happiest spot for watching the flow of the tide, for sitting in unwearied contemplation.” (Kodrich Jane 3). Analyzing the quote that Austen wrote explains how Lyme uses the word tide in the story. In relation to the passing of time, Austen used the definition of the word tide to use it as a way of time passing by. As the tides move in and out from the shore in real life, it shows the different phases of the moon and how time moves slowly. Another example that she uses is Sir Walton’s appearance regarding age and how she uses his age to represent the passing of time. He thinks “himself and Elizabeth as blooming as ever, amidst the wreck of the good looks of everybody else; for he could plainly see how old all the rest of his family and acquaintance were growing. Anne haggard, Mary coarse … and the rapid increase of the crow’s foot about Lady Russell’s temples had long been a distress to him” (Kodrich Jane 3). Evaluating the quote from Austen’s standpoint, the term that she uses, the word bloom, Sir Walter still believes that he is enjoying his life, and still has not “bloomed” like everyone does eventually in there lifetime.
It also is both an expression that describes when one is young and at the best time of the person’s life, and as well as a flower, and also, as Austen symbolizes, growth. In the story, one reader may try to describe Sir Walter by using his way of using the word bloom, but instead many readers are intrigued by using the character Anne, because her bloom is “yet behind her” and there are points in the end of the story where Austen writes that she “regains” her bloom. Lastly in Austen’s stories she uses another style of writing that she mainly uses and usually is a main recurring style in many of the books that she wrote, and that is the use of the Gothic style, and how it relates to the time period and the people of her time.
In Austen’s six stories, there are many instances of Gothic writing style and themes that are present. This is mainly due to the time that Austen was growing up in, as the mid to late 1800s in England usually surrounded the theme and writing style of Gothic. In her 1803 novel, Northanger Abbey, Gothic writing style and technique was shown almost in every aspect of the story. For example, in a typical story, many readers expect a hero or a heroine to be pretty, intelligent, and talented beyond no compare. But in the case of Austen’s Gothic novel, the heroine of the story is seen as “often petty”, “often stupid”, and “utterly lacking in artistic accomplishment” (Kodrich Jane 4). This writing style is to also show the humorous side of Austen’s writing, as Gothic novels were sometimes taken as something to laugh about and enjoy with laughter and humility.
In today’s world, many people look at the work of Jane Austen and they just look at a writer who only wrote a low number of books over her lifetime and some did not even take her seriously until after she passed away. Many others in her time period just thought of her as a female writer who never really had any talent whatsoever, so they would not read her stories. But what society and people in the everyday world took from Jane Austen is the way of how she writes and how she interprets her ideas that she comes up with in her head and puts it on a page of a book for us to figure out what she is trying to say. And though all the double-meanings, irony, Gothic style, communicating through punctuation instead of just writing out how the character feels, these are ideas and themes that we always see in the work of Jane Austen and those who follow Austen and write like her.
In conclusion, Jane Austen used many writing styles and many writing techniques that she used in many of her free-writes and her novels that she progressively wrote over her young and middle life, but today, many authors and writers still look to her work for reference and for ideas for their own work. Many people look at how her story is set up plot wise, while others just use her stories to help with writing styles and themes to help their stories become progressively better and better. Her writing styles will never be sent away into the dark never to be used again by other authors, but instead was brought to the forefront of British Literature after she passed away, giving the British people and others the ideas and the courage to use whatever writing style that she used to help them.
- Kordich, Catherine J. “How to Write about Jane Austen”. Bloom’s How to Write about Literature, New ed., 2017. Bloom’s Literature, http://online.infobase.com/HRC/LearningCenter/Details/12?articleId=45695&lcid=0. Accessed 20 November 2018.
- Kordich, Catherine J. 4. “How to Write about Northanger Abbey”. Bloom’s How to Write about Literature. New ed., 2017. Bloom’s Literature, http://online.infobase.com/HRC/LearningCenter/Details/12?articleId=45696&lcid=0. Accessed 24 November 2018.
- Kordich, Catherine J. 2. “How to Write about Sense and Sensibility”. Bloom’s How to Write Literature, New ed., 2017. Bloom’s Literature, http://online.infobase.com/HRC/LearningCenter/Details/12?articleId=45697&lcid=0. Accessed 25 November 2018.
- Kordich, Catherine J. 5. “How to Write about Pride and Prejudice”. Bloom’s How to Write Literature, New ed., 2017. Bloom’s Literature, http://online.infobase.com/HRC/LearningCenter/Details/12?articleId=45698&lcid=0. Accessed 21 November 2018.
- Kordich, Catherine J. 5. “How to Write about Persuasion”. Bloom’s How to Write Literature, New ed., 2017. Bloom’s Literature, http://online.infobase.com/HRC/LearningCenter/Details/12?articleId=45701&lcid=0. Accessed 24 November 2018.