Jane Austen, born December 16, 1775, was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction earned her a place as one of the most widely read authors in English literature. Austen’s novels critique the life of the second half of the eighteenth century and are part of the transition to nineteenth-century realism. Though her novels were by no means autobiographical, her fictional characters do shed light on the facts of her life and but more importantly, they offered aspiring writers a model of how great works of literature were created. In 1796 and 1797 she worked on her novel First Impressions. This novel was later revised and published in 1813 as Pride and Prejudice. This is a nineteenth century English romantic story of the rebellious Elizabeth Bennet, a strong-minded young woman, and Mr. Darcy, an arrogant and wealthy man. Elizabeth’s unwillingness to marry him threatened the future of her family. Jane Austen used her family life experiences, social class structure, and knowledge of the nineteenth century to write Pride and Prejudice, a novel that humorously portrays ideals of the time period while conveying Austen’s unique feminism perspective.
Austen’s life experiences were portrayed in various aspects of the book Pride and Prejudice. Similar to Austen, Elizabeth grew up in the same family structure. Austen lived with her parents and eight brothers and sisters, similar to Elizabeth in the novel, who lived with all of her sisters. “Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune would earn about four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls” (Austen 1)! For education, children would either learn in school or would have a governess. A governess is a woman employed to teach and train children in a private household. Austen and Elizabeth did not have a governess. Their mothers taught them both. Neither Austen nor Elizabeth made an effort to meet a suitable man. They both seemed to be the daughter with their nose always in a book. More knowledge was obtained by reading books. But ultimately both Austen and Elizabeth seemed to fall for one guy and only one got the happy ending.
Also similar to Austen’s family life, Elizabeth and her sisters, no matter how old, lived with their family until they were married. In the nineteenth century, almost every woman lived with their parents until they were wed. Austen lived with her parents until her father passed away. After he passed, Austen and her mother moved in with Austen’s brother. Women were unable to own land, thus the reason daughters lived with their parents. “But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas determined to go, merely on that account, for in general, you know they visit no new comers. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to visit him, if you do not” (Austen 2).
In addition to family life, social class structure served a great role in the nineteenth century. Two...