Responsibility ... post three on Jane Austen books

Something I really like about Jane Austen's writings

In my previous post, 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 ours ... a sense of responsibility, for both the immediate and extended family as well as for the community.

Briefly, here are a few instances I’m referring to:

In Pride and Prejudice, the Gardiners often extend hospitality toward their nieces by inviting them to come to their home and by taking them on their travels. Even more so, they really 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 burdens 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.”

As we know from the book bearing her name, 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.

~ Noe