In Search of Spiritual Nobility: An Analysis of the Heroines’ Attitudes toward Men in Sense and Sensibility毕业论文
2.1 Focus on Interior Qualities——————————————————2
2.1.1 Noble Characters————————————————————————-3
2.1.2 Sympathies between Souls————————————————————–4
2.1.3 Equalities and Respect——————————————————————-5
2.2 Ignorance to Exterior Conditions———————————————-6
2.2.1 Appearance and Age———————————————————————-7
2.2.2 Wealth and Social Status—————————————————————–8
2.3 Austen’s Attitudes toward Men and Marriage ——————————————8
2.3.1 The Social Background of Romanticism———————————————–9
2.3.2 The Criticism of the Status Quo —————————————————–10
3. Conclusion ———————————————————————————–11
In Search of Spiritual Nobility: An Analysis of the Heroines’ Attitudes toward Men in Sense and Sensibility
Jane Austen (1775 -1817) was one of the most eminent writers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries of England. Her father was a learned pastor, and her mother was born in a wealthy family with a certain cultural accomplishment. Therefore, although Austen did not enter the formal school, the family’s excellent reading environment gave her conditions to study on her own and fostered her interest in reading. She began to write at the age of thirteen. It showed her ability in literary creation. Her works mainly reflected the daily life and pastoral scenery, in contrast to the vulgar “Sentimental novel” and “Gothic novel” prevailing in the British literature of that age. She had a significant impact on the development of female literature. Jane Austen focused her attention on women’s concerns such as youth, marriage and family and so on. Although she has only completed six novels in her life, some people think that she had an important position like Shakespeare in the history of British literature, and she was known as one of the greatest writers in the world. Her first novel Sense and Sensibility was published in 1811. Then Jane Austen completed her second novel Pride and Prejudice which was published in 1813, which was a milestone of female literature, and then she completed the Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1816), Northanger Abbey (1818), and Persuasion (1818).
Sense and Sensibility is Jane Austen’s first published novel. The book tells the story of the twists and turns of the two sisters Elinor and Marianne born in a British squire family, who have similar attitudes towards men and society. In Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Elinor is a rational woman who is calm and knows how to control her emotions, while her younger sister Marianne represents the women who pursue romantic life without restraint. The two girls have different characters, but neither of them are concerned about the external conditions of their partners, and both focus their attention on the latter’s noble characters. To readers’ delight, the two heroines’ attitudes towards men and society are rewarded with happy marriages at the end of the novel.
The work has an important impact on the development of female literature. As a result, researches on it can be described as numerous. Overseas scholars study the novel mainly from the following aspects: the various characters in the novel, the social background of Austen’s era, the feminism and the marriage, etc.. Domestic studies on Sense and Sensibility mainly focus on creation techniques, feminism and marriage view. In addition, a small number of scholars employ theories of social history criticism, feminist criticism, and psychological criticism to study the core family model of Jane Austen’s era and explore the author’s views on love, marriage and family in the novel.
Despite the large number of in-depth studies by either domestic or overseas scholars on Sense and Sensibility, there are not abundant researches on the similarities between the sisters’ attitudes’ toward love and marriage, which would be the focus of this paper. The first part of the demonstration attempts to argue that the heroines pay more attention to the inner qualities of the males, including their noble characters, the sympathies between souls, and their respect for woman and advocacy for equality between sexes. The second part analyzes the two heroines’ shared ignorance to the males’ external conditions, such as appearance, income and family background. The last part of the thesis tries to point out that the author conveys her understanding and expectation for ideal lovers and marriages through her characterization of the two heroines.