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Jane Austen Allusions Essay

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Jane Austen was a stellar English author. Though she only wrote six novels, her unique and effective style of writing was evident to all who read her works. The elements used by Austen are still relevant in today’s day and age. Austen’s stories are full of allusions to geography, history, literature, philosophy, and mythology. Her novels are full of themes pertaining to love, marriage, and society fitting in to the genre of romantic fiction. All of her stories take place in nineteenth century England. Austen maintains a tone of irony and sympathy throughout her literary works making them seem, to an extent, almost comical. She effectively uses symbols and motifs to build underlying meaning into her stories much greater than that of the upfront…show more content…
Allusions pertaining to geography, history, literature, philosophy, and mythology are all present in her writing. By incorporating these allusions into all of her works, Austen was able to, with only a simple word or phrase, create an entirely new idea or train of thought in the mind of the reader. This provides new meaning to each and every section of the text containing an allusion that provides the reader with a new understanding. An excellent example of this allusion can be found in Austen’s novel, Sense and Sensibility. In Chapter sixteen, an allusion to Hamlet is made. Marianne and Willoughby were romantically involved. When Willoughby decides to leave for London without Marianne. This agony causes Marianne’s heart to break and she soon becomes very ill. Austen makes a reference to Hamlet in this situation as a means of comparing her situation to that of Ophelia in relation to Hamlet. Austen creates this allusion through Mrs. Dashwood, Marianne’s mother, who says, “We have never finished Hamlet, Marianne; our dear Willoughby went away before we could get through it.” This allusion also creates foreshadow of Marianne’s illness to come. Another instance in which Austen uses allusion in her works can be seen in her novel, Emma. A quote is made that states, “The course of true love never did run smooth.” This is a quote from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Emma was speaking of her matchmaking skills by using this…show more content…
She used it to tell the story a specific way. Apart from specifically doing this, she does something that isn’t so obvious. She talks about women in her novels who are not worried about anything other than love and marriage and who seem to be very simple minded. In her novel Pride and Prejudice, Austen writes, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” The reader is able to see the single focused mind of the main character in this novel as well as seen in Austen’s other novels. It creates a feeling in mind of the reader that the women needed to realize that they were not defined by a man. Little do they know that Austen is single handedly calling out the women in society to step up and take the roll that they deserve. In some places in Austen’s novels, she places a sort of epiphany of the main character allowing them to see from a new point of view. For example, in Pride and Prejudice Austen writes “How despicably have I acted! ' she cried. - 'I, who have prided myself on my discernment! - I, who have valued myself on my abilities!" She specifically uses tone and style to direct the reader to envision themselves as the women in the novels with no societal roles or
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