Jane Austen Character Analysis

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John Mullan mentions Jane Austen knew her novels differed from other novels she had ever read. Austen’s heroines were abundant in many attributes that were not popular with the readers of the late 18th and early 19th century literature. Another key point to remember is that “Austen’s interest in her heroine’s faults and errors was in itself something extraordinary in fiction” (Mullan 306). The role model of the female protagonist for readers was: “Heroine a faultless Character herself-, perfectly good, with much tenderness & sentiment, & not the least Wit … All the Good will be unexceptionable in every respect-and there will be no foibles or weaknesses but with the Wicked, who will be completely depraved & infamous.” (Chapman qtd. in Mullan…show more content…
Despite knowing what kind of heroines Austen’s readers had wanted, she decided to write the opposite of an exemplary heroine by creating Elizabeth and, particularly, Emma. Pride and Prejudice was well accepted even though Elizabeth Bennet is not a flawless heroine. Yet, her readers have found it “the lightest, most consistently entertaining, and least didactic of the novels” (Butler 197). Claire Tomalin says that “Austen herself was far from confident that Emma would be well received” (253). She expressed her worries when writing: “I am very strongly haunted by the idea that to those readers who have preferred P&P it will appear inferior in Wit, & to those who have preferred MP very inferior in good Sense” (Austen qtd. in Tomalin…show more content…
And when considering the amount of TV adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Emma one cannot have doubts about the success of these Austen’s novels and the popularity of her main heroines. As mentioned above, Elizabeth gets everyone’s sympathy mainly due to the whole love story with Mr Darcy as she must overcome her prejudice against him to come to the realization she loves him. But with Emma it is more difficult and more interesting. Jefferson often uses the comparison of Emma and Fanny Price from Mansfield Park, he points out that Emma is Fanny’s complete opposite with her “faults that continually challenge our tolerance” (54). He continues claiming that Emma has a talent of acting with her super self-confidence even though she behaves horribly, like in the situation when she helps Harriet to reject Mr Martin and then she lets Harriet visit the Martins only for fourteen minutes. Nonetheless, despite Emma’s faults readers have some kind of a sympathy for her (Jefferson

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