Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|She was no communist
Written by helena6
(3/9/2003 11:26 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, JA and large incomes., penned by donald s. taylor
] Is JA protectively ignoring the economic bases of the gentry lifestyle. She doesn't ignore it, as Auden so strikingly noted, in matters of marriage. There she is beautifully clear in all the books, and in fact the materialism of the class is the gridiron on which the marriage games are played.
Well that was the way of her world. I think Austen expected people to be good landlords and masters - but being such was just fine. Money came with responsibility. But it was also meant to be enjoyed. She is very critical of people who restrain themselves unecessarily.
But Austen was not a radical or revolutionary. I don't think she wanted to see a revolution of how society was constructed. People needed only to be the men and women they already knew they should be.
Mr. Knightley is a good example of this and later so is Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy cricitizes himself by implying he knew better - chose not to behave in the proper manner. Which to me implies that she saw nothing wrong with this proper manner.
As far as lack of servants and the lower classes... Carol Shields suggested in an interview that Austen left them out as a sign of respect for their role. Other novels used them as comical relief. I think Austen was too reasonable to believe that because the lower classes had different manners it meant they were stupid or even crass. She doesn't presume to write about the lives of people she did not know intimately. She chooses not to depict their troubles. And I think this makes great sense and in fact I think it is very kind and respectful.
Jane Austen's Life & Times is maintained by JulieW with WebBBS 3.21.