The Underdog Female Role In Jane Austen Analysis

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The Underdog Female Role in Austen

I plan on writing my final essay on the characterization of the female lead character and more specifically on how the characters and plots from Jane Austen novels have been transitioned into pop culture chick flicks and how the characters have changed in that process. I will examine Pride & Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I am interested in determining the transition of the Elizabeth Bennet character archetype through time and the changes in plot that come with that change in character. I find it interesting how so many of Austen’s works have gone from formal regency era novels with a subtle hint of romance and a strong theme of marriage
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Which is similar to the working woman character trope, which is seen in the adaptation Lizzie Bennet Diaries, however the Fanny Prices and Bridgets Jones’ of the world however are viewed as weak with their opinions and are even seen as weak physically. It is interesting how Helen Fielding chose to have Bridget Jones to have less wit than her parallel character of Lizzie and instead makes her very similar to Fanny Price’s weaker moments, with only moments of Lizzie’s wit. However Fanny Price does show strength when proposed to by Henry Crawford, while Lizzie Bennet seems to soften to idea of marrying a rich, decent man even if it did not start as a true love relationship. All of these characters are underdogs in the eyes of their societies. All of these female leads share one very important common traits that must be the reason these characters have remained relatable through time - they are all underdogs. They are all not the most desirable female character in their novels. It is as if Austen doesn’t want us to connect or relate to the superior females in their society’s standards. She wants us to be the underdog who finds love. For example Lizzie Bennet is loved by her father for her wit and her charm, her mother however her mom describes her “Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane nor half so good humoured as Lydia,” (Pride and Prejudice

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