Jane Austen was born Saturday December 16, 1775 in the Steventon rectory in North East Hampshire. She was the seventh child and second daughter of Reverend George Austen and Cassandra Leigh. Jane Austen's parents said that "They were pleased to have a second daughter. A present plaything for her sister C assy and a future companion" (Tomalin 4). Her father christened Jane Austen at home. She grew up in a manor house across the street from the Steventon Church.
The house was not well built. It had low ceilings, brick walls, and its source of light was from the small windows. However it was large enough to accommodate Mr. Austen, his children, and his students. It had seven bedrooms, three attics, a living room, and a kitchen. There was also a parlour in the front of the house that Ms. Austen used as a sewing room. Jane Austen lived in this house for the first 25 years of her life.
Back in the eighteenth century it was common for the parents to send their sons away to school and keep their daughters home to be taught by the mother or a governess. The Austen family was not wealthy so they could not afford to send their five sons to boarding school. Mr. Austen taught his sons at home from the years 1773 until 1796. It wasn't until the year 1785 that the Austen's tried to send their daughters away to school.
They finally chose Mrs. La Tournelle's Ladies Boarding School that was in Reading, Berkshire, a building that had one classroom that held about forty students. When Jane returned from school, she started discover her passion for writing. She began O'Brien 2 to write short stories and essay's for her family's amusement. Jane would often read her writings aloud to her family around the fireplace. Jane's education continued at home by her parents and eldest brother James. Jane learned how to care for a house in the country and learned mathematics, domestic accounting, and how to supervise house servants.
Although the Austen's did not have a great deal of money to purchase instruments and hire teachers they did manage to buy a piano forte in the 1790's and hire a cathedral organist who taught Jane until at least 1796. She also learned Italian while studying her music. In 1801 Jane's father retired, and they moved to Chaw ton Cottage, near Alton, Hampshire. This was Jane's last home until her death 8 years later. While living in this house, Jane wrote all of her novels in her early 20's but did not publish them until later in life. The novels that have been published were Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1816), and Persuasion (1818).
"Jane Austen's novels are comedies of manners that depict the self contained world of provincial ladies and gentleman". (Columbia Encyclopedia) Mostly all of her novels tell the stories of finding husbands for marriageable daughters. In the six novels that Jane Austen wrote, a woman meets and marries a suitable man after overcoming many obstacles. Jane Austen is known as one of the best English novelists. She wrote with a sense of irony and about the social establishment of her time.
"Few authors have matched Austen's sure eye for human weakness, her affectionate description of everyday life, her witty and elegant prose". (Columbia Encyclopedia). Austen's first novel was Sense and Sensibility. In this novel two sisters named Elinor and Marianne Dashwood had different attitudes. Elinor has self- control, which was "sense", and Marianne had swift emotions "sensibility". In the novel Pride O'Brien 3 and Prejudice there were two lovers, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Elizabeth Bennet doesn't approve of Fitzwilliam Darcy's proud behavior. They cannot get married unless Fitzwilliam drops his pride and Elizabeth stops being prejudice. In the novel Mansfield Park the character Fanny Price grows up being mistreated by her rich relatives. This character was one of the less interesting but Fanny was a model of personal integrity. The novel Emma is known as Austen's most perfect novel. The character Emma falls in love with Harriet because she feels that her life is becoming dull and she needs something that will entertain her.
Austen's last novel Persuasion "is at once the warmest and the coldest of Jane Austen's works, the softest and the hardest", (qty. in Tomalin 257). In this novel Anne Elliot lives at home with her family. Captain Wentworth proposed to Anne and she rejected him. While Captain Wentworth was at sea Anne had to decide whether she made the right choice by not accepting his proposal or she was persuaded in the wrong direction.
In the year 1816 Jane Austen's health started to detiorate. She described her symptoms to medical doctors and they said she developed Addison's Disease, otherwise known as a form of kidney failure. This type of disease had periods of remission, which is when the patient feels better and hopes to recover. One of the periods of remission was in the New Year of 1817, but her illness reoccurred a few weeks later.
Jane's family decided to keep her in a local hospital so she can receive constant help. The doctors told Jane's family that she would not survive much longer. She lasted a few more weeks but on the evening of July 17, Jane's mother wrote a letter to her sister. "She felt herself to be dying about half an hour before she became tranquil and apparently unconscious... she said she could not tell us what she suffer, tho's he complaint of little fixed pain. When I asked her if there was any thing she wanted, her answer was she wanted O'Brien 4 nothing but death & some of her words were "God grant me patience, Pray for me oh Pray for me".
' (Le Faye 100). In my eyes, Jane Austen possesses the personality of the warrior archetype. She took care of herself and did not depend on anyone. If she lived in society today, I think she would be a feminist because of her strong attitude. Jane Austen was a remarkable woman who I now admire very much. Brown, Peggy.
"She Writes of Love, Austen Theme is Timeless". Newsday 9 Jan. 1996: n. p. "Jane Austen". Columbia Encyclopedia: Dibble, Margaret. Introduction. Persuasion.
By Jane Austen. New York: Penguin Group, 1989.5-20. Le Faye, Deirdre. The British Library Writers' Lives: Jane Austen.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1998 Myer, Grosvenor Valerie. Jane Austen: Obstinate Heart. New York: Arcade Publishing, 1997. Quindlen, Anna. Introduction. Pride and Prejudice.
By Jane Austen. New York: Modern Library, 2000.7-10 Seal, Rajeev. "Austen Scholar Discovers Sad Face of Jane's Secret Brother". Times of London 1 Dec. 1996: n. p. Tomalin, Claire.
Jane Austen A Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997. Tucker, Hilbert George. Jane Austen The Woman: Some Biographical Insights. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994..