Wednesday

Responsibility ... post three on Jane Austen books

Previously, I hit upon some things that I consider odd about the England of Jane Austen’s time. Today I’d like to mention something I truly appreciate about her time that we don’t often find in our time... a sense of responsibility, for both the immediate and extended family, as well as for the community.

Briefly, here’s a few instances I’m referring to:
In Pride and Prejudice, the Gardiners often extend hospitality toward their nieces and put themselves out when their youngest niece gets herself into trouble.

In Mansfield Park, Fanny’s aunt and uncle help her brother in procuring a position as a sailor, and then take her into their home to alleviate some of the financial burden of her parents (they later take another of her sisters as well).

In Sense and Sensibility, even though her stepson and his family don’t help her, Mrs. Dashwood is offered a small house “belonging to a relation of her own, a gentleman of consequence and property... He understood that she was in need of a dwelling, and though the house he now offered her was merely a cottage, he assured her that every thing should be done to it which she might think necessary, if the situation pleased her.”

Emma Woodhouse is concerned with the less fortunate and makes a regular habit of visiting them, always with something for their welfare.

Many more instances could be offered, but for those who enjoy reading a story well-written, without licentious behavior being described, and honorable characters displaying both their strengths and weaknesses, a person could hardly do better than picking up something Jane wrote.