The Importance Of Proposals In Jane Austen

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Austen and Proposals: Why the lack of feeling? Throughout all of Jane Austen’s works, courtship and marriage both play central roles and their dominant presence reflects the importance of women finding a respectable husband during Austen’s time. However, while marriage proposals between two lovers are often high points in novels, Austen treats them almost as an afterthought. Critic G. H. Lewes in an 1859 review deemed that this apparent lack of emotion was a characteristic flaw on Austen’s writing, “She has little or no sympathy with what is picturesque and passionate. This prevents her from painting what the popular eye can see, and the popular heart can feel (THE NOVELS).” While the Austen’s marriage proposals tend to leave some readers emotionally dissatisfied, this plainness is purposeful in that it highlights the main themes of Austen’s works and comments on marriage itself. This intentional blandness is strongly present in Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility; while the proposal scenes in both these works seem rushed and occupy a small space at the end of the novels, they both reflect the growth of their respective heroines. Marriage proposals in literature are often a heightened point of the work, embellished with great detail and passionate, direct discourse. For instance, In Charlotte Bronte’s Villete, after chapters of heartache and loneliness, heroine Lucy Snowe has a moment of respite as M. Paul Emmanuel takes her hands and warmly whispers into her ear,

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