1. The author’s background
Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England. She was born seventh out of eight children into a family of a modest income. Her father, George Austen, was a reverend and her mother, Cassandra Leigh taught her children at the family home. When Jane was eight years old, she and her eldest sister, Cassandra, were sent to a boarding school for a proper education. Austen was always intrigued with English and excelled at school. When she returned home, she buried herself in her father’s library and lost herself in its contents. Austen was particularly close with her father growing up (Alex 1). She also formed a special bond with one of her many brothers, Henry. Later in life, he helped her by allowing the use of his name when publishing her novels due to the fact that women were not given that liberty. At the time, England was ruled by George III who led it into the War of Independence the same year Austen was born. Jane’s perceptive nature and creative mind compelled her to incorporate many of her personal experiences into her novels. She was also inspired by the works of Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson, and Fanny Burney. Aside from her short stories, Jane wrote an assortment of manuscripts composed of several letters and parodies, later published as Juvenilia, or works from an author’s youth. Jane’s first full length novel was Elinor and Marianne. However, it was never published in its original form. Her first published novel was Northanger Abbey, followed by Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion. Elinor and Marianne was eventually revised and became Sense and Sensibility, the last of her novels to be published. Jane died on July 18, 1817, at the age of forty-one due to a lengthy fight with what is now believed to have been Addison’s disease (“Biography: Life and Family”).
2. The Literary Period/Country
Pride and Prejudice took place in nineteenth century England. As previously stated, George III was the king at the time. During his reign, American colonists were demanding more and more freedom; that eventually led to the Revolutionary War. Back in England, however, there were some drastic changes in the literary world. A new movement called Romanticism came about, for example. Romanticism put special emphasis on emotions (“Romanticism” 1). The artist or author, in Austen’s case, had complete liberty while creating their masterpieces. Unlike the style of the Impressionists or Expressionists, there was not one set boundary or standard for a piece of work. It was completely dependent on the artist’s discretion. However, this was not just limited to literature. It applied to poetry, music, and philosophy. The works from this period related to nature and inspiration from the world around the artist (Wilder 1). It was also common for the pieces to revolve around the individual. However, there are two sides to every story. Emotions are rarely ever happy in common day life. The emotions within these works could also be dark and horrific just as easily as they can be joyful and romantic. More often than none, the author or artist exaggerate impurities within society or certain people to propel the audience to seem them more clearly. Romanticism can be seen throughout the entire storyline of Pride and Prejudice. Besides the obvious fact that it relates directly to the emotions of the main character, at some points the tone which it carries can be portrayed as dismayed and dreary. For example, the romance between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet ends on a joyous note when they marry. However, the road there was full of disappointments, betrayal, and less than perfect situations. Throughout the entire novel, anytime Elizabeth and Darcy are in the same room, they have some sort of argument. Yet, it is their strong personalities and individuality that make them fall madly in love with each other. As can be seen,