The Art of Austen


Most modern readers may be digesting material of the nature of Twilight, the debut series of Stephanie Meyer, but proof cannot stand in favor of its remaining a lasting effigy of literature. In contrast, Pride and Prejudice and other such works by that author and others have been passed down through generation after generation. Readers young and old are not overwhelmed by the sensuality and ambiguity of good and bad characters—nothing is cliché about Jane Austen’s works—rather, she wrote from daily life, brimming with unique characters and intricately simple plots that have appealed to both Austen’s contemporaries and 21st century bookworms.

Austen penned stories of family relationships, class prejudice, marriage, and friendship, and although she wrote in the context of Georgian England, readers find themselves able to relate to the characters personally, to the individual personalities and sentiments expressed by them. Teenage girls relate to the romantic and tempestuous Marianne, who criticizes Colonel Brandon for his lack of suave charm. Others may feel connected to Elizabeth as they experiences similar situations of deception and revelation posed by people encountered in life. In short, Jane Austen did not write the average adventure tale. She did not even write in the style of romanticism common in her day. Instead she scribbled stories based on the world she knew best—her honesty, artistic simplicity, and complex understanding of human nature, combined to create a genre previously unknown. Critics compare her to Shakespeare for her ability to portray a scene with clarity, witty dialogue, and colorful characters.

While making the reader laugh, Austen skillfully weaves together life truths and messages into the sentences, and as pages turn the reader becomes fully engaged in a mental and soulful examination of human behavior and ironies, all of which are neither presented as homilies or sermons, but displayed through conversation and a lively narrator. At the same time, female readers especially feel that Miss Austen sympathizes and understands various situations with which this particular consumer group can identify. This personal appeal has been cherished across the years.

Furthermore, everyone can recognize a Jane Austen character in a family member, friend, or acquaintance, which could offer a different perspective of that individual. It would be exceedingly amusing to see the matching personalities of Lydia Bennet and one’s own little sister obsessed with flirting. Or, one could laugh at Mr. Collins while thinking in the back of the mind a similar character at school. As Austen provides the reader with humorous but realistic portraits of very realistic humans, her skill with describing and portraying them has been enjoyed even in the modern world.

While Austen does not ramble off in the style of Charles Dickens or Victor Hugo, she manages to capture the perfect mood and emotion in a scene while at the same time not wasting a word. This simplicity greatly appeals to 21st century book consumers. The modern day is a whirl of time flashing by, and books must compete with advances in technology and transportation, which occupy a large amount of people’s time. Austen offers readers a read far above par of the cliché, poorly-written books that fill today’s shelves, and at the same time draws them into the world of 19th century England, brimming with intriguing, relatable characters who interact with a plethora of witty remarks.

Published by Rebecca Elise

I'm 24. ENFP. Writer. Artist. Student {UD '19} I write and draw what is I'm passionate about (i.e. Theology, history, literature...and my favorite films/shows, like Star Wars!

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