Jane Austen Birthday Week Part 6

Part 6 will be a guest post by the admin of the lovely blog, Elegance of Fashion.  Her fictional name is Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

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Jane Austen’s Popularity: What Makes Jane Austen So Popular?

We all know how popular Jane Austen has become. Many of us read the books over and over again, watch the adaptations over and over again, and hey, many of us even have blogs devoted to Jane Austen. Jane Austen is considered one of the best-loved authors in not just all of English literature, but all of literature in general. But what has made Jane Austen so popular?

 

One of the things that I think has contributed to Jane Austen popularity is that in her books, the characters and situations, are so true to life.

 

For many of us, Jane Austen’s heroines might remind us of, if not ourselves, someone we know in our lives. These characters aren’t 100% perfect: they do have their faults like many people, but they also have good qualities that are necessary in role models. They have characteristics that we see present in many of our peers. Perhaps you may know someone with characteristics from those characters: someone with the understanding temper of Anne Elliot from Persuasion; or someone who is as imaginative as Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey; or someone who has Emma Woodhouse’s lively personality. It’s not hard to think of people that Jane Austen’s characters, even minor characters, remind us of.

 

Sometimes in books, we run across scenes where we have to say out loud, “that could never happen!” You don’t have that outburst with Jane Austen. Her books reflect the events that happen in our lives. We’ve all had those moments where we say something we shouldn’t have (like Emma to Miss Bates at the Box Hill picnic in Emma), or misjudged someone (like in Pride and Prejudice), or been betrayed by someone who we thought was a close friend (like Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey with Isabella Thorpe). Jane Austen wrote about her observations in life. Some say that her books are too ordinary, but it is in that ordinary (or rather realistic) setting that makes her books extraordinary: you are given something to relate to and sympathize with that really speaks to the soul. They are situations that we may have experience with and that is what makes them stay in our mind the longest.

 

There are many things that may have contributed to Jane Austen’s success, but the relatableness of her books I think is one of the most important. When we can relate to something, it remains in our minds much longer than something that is otherwise. Jane Austen may have written her books about two-hundred years ago, but her books continue to speak to those who read them. They give us an insight into human nature that we may not get from other books, which is why Jane Austen is one of the best writers in all of literature.

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Thank you, Miss Elizabeth Bennet!

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  1. Jane Austen Birthday Week Part 7 (Final Part) « BetweenTheCovers

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