The Life of Jane Austen Essay

Jane Austen was born into a moderately wealthy family in 1775, during the reign of King George III. Her family was typically large which was customary at the time in order to counter the possibility of early death. She had five older brothers, one older sister and a younger brother. She lived in a small country village in Hampshire, England named Steventon, where she lived until 1800. Her family were readers and often read newspapers and letters aloud. Jane would read out her early attempts at novels to her family and refine and hone the words based on their response.

From this she became one of the most widely read writers in English Literature. Six of her books were published and famous for their realism and their bitting social commentary. Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility were her first completed manuscripts. In 1800, Austen’s father decided to move to the city of Bath. Despite her association with Bath, it seemed that an urban society did not really suit Austen and her output as a writer fell away for the next six years until she returned to the countryside.

This is continuously seen in her writing. Her tone changes when scenes take place in the city inferring that bad things there. Austen always felt safe and comfortable in the country, which is similar to all her heroines. Austen was bright, witty and well read and many of her character names came from people that stood out to her. For example the heroine of Mansfield Park, Fanny Price is similar to Austen’s favourite niece Fanny Knight. Emma was published in 1815, and Jane Austen created Emma to be a heroine that only she could like.

Austen opens the characters in Emma extremely quickly. Emma is a social commentary and captures a real understanding of human behaviour. Austen wrote at many of the sights in Leatherhead England. This town is what inspired Austen’s creation of Highbury. Austen used elements of her own, relatively comfortable life to weave her tales of fiction, so to her they were genuine situations and circumstance worthy of analysis. She never married so her angst was focused on pondering matters of the heart.

In many ways she lived vicariously through her characters, allowing them to experience the intimacies that she craved but that eluded her all of her life. Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice was a character that Jane would have wanted to be. Elizabeth was the character that Jane was most compatible with. Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion all had similar themes and incorporated the same morals and …… These themes included, marriage, self-development, social stability and money.

All of Austen’s books withhold a constant theme of marrying for love or social stability. Jane Austen died in 1817 at the age of 41 but in her short life Jane Austen write six of the greatest novels in the English Language. Neither Jane nor her sister Elizabeth Cassandra ever married which inspired her to write on matters that pondered the heart. Jane Austen wrote about experiences she craved in her life but never experienced.