Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Doll, Daniel

Second Advisor

Malmgren, Carl

Third Advisor

White, Leslie


Jane Austen champions practicality and compatibility versus purely romantic or mercenary sentiment in her novels, and through narrative techniques she preserves her heroines from imprudent marriages. Austen's heroines do not fall madly in love at first sight, but rather they acquiesce to marriage through reason and discernment. She endows her heroines with qualities that make them worthy of her interference in the marriage plot: intelligent although inexperienced, possessed of realistic expectations and sensibility and reason, and, importantly, financial instability. She carefully cultivates heroes worthy of her heroines through plot twists. However, to show her dissatisfaction with the limited roles available to the 19th century woman, she denies the reader the opportunity to witness the wedding that concludes her narratives. The narrator demonstrates her approval or disapprobation by choosing what scenes to narrate and what scenes to dramatize, the latter often representative of her disapproval, her silence signifying her acceptance.


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