Originally Study Guides

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  • Emma

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    Emma is Jane Austen's classic 1815 novel of misguided matchmaking, following socialite Emma Woodhouse as she attempts to find her friend Harriet the perfect husband. Emma's scheming soon causes misunderstandings not only involving Harriet, but also Mr. Elton, the vicar, Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax, Highbury peers of Emma's, and Mr. Knightley, the Woodhouse's family friend. Though Emma's attempts to manipulate love prove futile and her pride in her matchmaking abilities unfounded, everyone gets their own happy ending as Austen explores themes of social status, objectivity, and misunderstanding.

  • Persuasion

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    Persuasion, a novel, tells the story of Anne Elliot, an unmarried 27-year-old who pines for her former love Frederick Wentworth, a man her father refused to let her marry years ago. When Wentworth reappears in her life and Anne's family fortune begins to dwindle, Anne must look past her feelings to build a life where she can be happy. Though resentful of Anne at first, spending time around her causes Wentworth's former feelings to rekindle.

  • Pride and Prejudice

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    Pride and Prejudice follows the lives of the five Bennet sisters and their parents, especially focusing on the second eldest daughter Elizabeth. Though weary of her mother's desperation to place each of her daughters in good marriages, Elizabeth finds herself drawn to Mr. Darcy, a proud and wealthy gentleman who is attracted to Elizabeth because of her intelligence and wit. Amidst the drama of their friends' and families' lives, both must overcome preconceived notions and expectations in this story that explores class, love, and social change.

  • Sense and Sensibility

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    Sense and Sensibility follows the story of the elder Dashwood sisters Elinor and Marianne after their father dies. The girls, along with their mother, must adjust to a modest lifestyle after they are left penniless by their half brother, but nonetheless manage to make a new life for themselves as they are introduced to neighbors like Colonel Brandon and John Willoughby. Both eventually find love and happiness in this novel also serves as a commentary about the social expectations during Jane Austen's time and the value of common sense.

  • Jane Austen's Letters

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  • Mansfield Park

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    Mansfield Park is the story of Fanny Price, a young Englishwoman raised by her prosperous aunt and uncle due to her parents' poverty. She grows from a child into a woman under their care, falling in love with her cousin Edmund, and eventually marries him. The novel reflects on wealth and status in Victorian England. Its various characters represent ideals and caricatures of Victorian morality and many Victorian stereotypes are addressed and subverted.

  • Northanger Abbey

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    Northanger Abbey is the story of Catherine Morland and her holiday to Bath, England during the Regency Period. Pursued by several men and enraptured by the Gothic novels of the time, Catherine begins to develop a new worldview as the finds the truths underlying her society. The narrative is a deconstruction of the archetypal Gothic novel, exchanging supernatural horror for the trials and hypocrisies of Regency England and its social mores.