Lizzy or Emma - A Critique of Jane Austen's Heroines Essay

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Living for only 42 years Jane Austen’s (1775- 1817) view of the world was genial and kindly. She had a clear sighted vision of the world where she amused herself with other’s foibles and self - deception, gave love to those who deserve to be loved and most certainly gave a light hearted satirical view of the society.

Marilyn Butler in her book "Jane Austen" writes that, “Jane had the happiness of temper that never required to be commanded. Cassandra, who knew her best, received letters in which Jane sounded dissatisfied with her lot, impatient, angry or unhappy”. In a letter Jane Austen comments, “I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them”.... in her Letters to Cassandra Austen on 24 December, 1798.
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She has always been a favourite of not just women readers, men have admired Austen too. In this list of admirers Sir Walter Scott, Thomas Macaulay, C. S. Lewis and the most famous Jane Austenite E. M. Forster figure praising Austen for her sheer intellectual and a humoristic take on society’s follies.

Ronald Blythe in his preface to Emma (ed. 1966, Penguin Classics) writes that “Jane Austen can get more drama out of morality than most writers can get from shipwrecks, battle, murder or mayhem - there is balance, there is a serenity which leaves contentment at the core of the heart similar to that perfect rightness”. He aptly describes that Jane Austen was simply a woman of intrigues. When G.H. Lewes fondly called Jane Austen as a “prose Shakespeare” in his review Recent Novels: French and English (1847) less did he realise that this reference would become a well known praise of Austen’s artistry.

Like Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen was too a formidable critic, though her voice was soft (unlike Wollstonecraft who was enraged in her books) supplied the end with a happy marriage in a tint of irony and a sense of humour. In Persuasion (Volume 2, Chapter 11) Austen writes, "Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story.... the pen has been in their hands”. Although
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