Socially Conscious and Relationship Oriented

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Love and money go hand in hand in every Jane Austen novel. The characters that fall in love in her novels are usually influenced by social status. In 19th century England marriages and courtships were arranged based on social rank, money, and estates. Because of the time period that she lived in and the events in her life, all of Jane Austen’s novels focus on relationships and social hierarchy.

Jane Austen was born in December of 1775 “into the rural professional middle class” (Lady). Her father was a preacher and her “...mother, Cassandra Leigh Austen...was from a higher social rank” (Lady). Growing up she knew the obstacles that people faced because of social rank. Austen’s parents were a prime example of marrying outside of your social status. Jane Austen faces her own social obstacle when “[i]n December 1795 she fell in love herself, with Thomas Langlois Lefroy...who was visiting his uncle and aunt” (Lady). Thomas Lefroy’s aunt, “Madam Lefroy[,] cut short the courtship by sending her nephew away” (Lady). Madam Lefroy realized “...that the young man would be disinherited if he married the daughter of a penniless clergyman” (Lady). Readers later see this same scenario in her 1815 novel, Emma, when “Frank Churchill and [Jane] Fairfax are [secretly] engaged” because Frank’s aunt disapproves of the relationship (Emma 405). In January of 1805 “Jane’s father dies, and the family’s income is considerably reduced. Mrs. Austen, Jane, and Cassandra must depend on the support of Jane’s brothers” (Time Line of Major Events...). The plot of Sense and Sensibility, published in 1811, parallels the events in Jane Austen’s life during 1805 to 1809. After the death of Mr. Dashwood, his son, John Dashwood inherits his estate leaving Mrs. Dashw...

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