• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Morals and Manners in Jane Austen

Extracts from this document...


SCHILD Saturday 5th January 2008 Amber TS1 Manners and Morals For Jane Austen, manners are more important than morals. Discuss. Manners are the prevailing customs, ways of living and habits of a people, class or period while morals are principles or habits based on ideas of right and wrong. In the early 19th century, the period in which Jane Austen's novels are set, it was important to follow the established "good" manners. Well-mannered members of the gentry and the aristocracy spoke and acted with modest confidence, used proper language, were well educated, maintained emotional control and were considerate to others. They also followed the protocol concerning social status such as the way they addressed each other, bowing and curtseying etc. Manners are constantly present in Jane Austen's novels. Whenever a character is described their manners are invariably mentioned, for example, in Persuasion when Anne meets Captain Harville for the first time he is described as "not equaling Captain Wentworth in manners, [but] a perfect gentleman, unaffected, warm and obliging". The continuous occurrence of descriptions of manners gives the reader the impression that, for Jane Austen, good manners are vital, as opposed to morals which are mentioned much less frequently.. Indeed, Jane Austen's characters generally follow the protocol or social code of her time. ...read more.


What is more he admits that he behaved improperly with Louisa Musgrove having "not considered that [his] excessive intimacy must have its danger of ill consequence in many ways; and that [he] had no right to be trying whether [he] could attach [himself] to either of the girls, at the risk of raising even an unpleasant report, were there no other ill effects". However, his reaction to the realisation of the consequences of his behaviour (that he would marry Louisa if she wanted him to) shows that he is in fact a gentleman with good morals. Indeed, while Jane Austen's flawed heroes and heroines make them more credible as people to the reader, while their recognition of their own faults also implies their moral superiority to those who do not recognise their mistakes. Thus, to a certain extent, Jane Austen can show a character's moral worth through their manners. However, their manners do not always match up to their value as a "person", which is why certain characters, while possessing good manners are not always liked. This can be attributed to their morals. As already shown, manners, or a character's reactions to their own manners, can be an indicator of their moral values. However, this is not always the case. ...read more.


Yet, she accords even more importance to manners by sometimes making them, along with morals, a part of the actual storyline. However, the unlikeable immoral characters we find in Austen's novels, the importance of morals to the whole plot as opposed to small parts of it (particularly in Pride & Prejudice), and the value accorded to open manners which evidence someone's morals cannot be ignored. Indeed, while manners seem to be most important in everyday life, and first introductions in Austen's novels, it is morals which seem to be most important overall,, which is why a character with bad morals is always disliked in the end (whether they have good manners or not) and the changing and evaluation of a character's morals morals of the characters are often part of the driving force of the plot. The reader could ask themselves why, if morals are so important, Jane Austen does not refer to them more. This is because it would be less credible to always talk about them morals as well as less interesting for the reader, turning the books from a story into a sermon. Austen must content herself with criticising bad morals (and bad manners) through her characters and the ironic humour of herthe narrators. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Jane Austen essays

  1. Compare and Contrast how Jane Austen Represents Social Class In Emma and Pride and ...

    myself I am not, I think, quite so much at a loss. I need not totally despair of an equal alliance, as to be addressing myself to Miss Smith' (15.125), he is incredulous at the thought of being paired with someone of such low social standing.

  2. Do you believe that Austen's final title; Pride and Prejudice is a more appropriate ...

    he frequently shows towards his friend Bingley and his devotion to his sister. While Lizzie may not see her own faults, she is not guilty of deliberately misunderstanding others: all she has done is to jump to a hasty, but genuine, misjudgement, based in part on her own "wounded pride".

  1. Discuss the Relationship between John and Elizabeth Proctor and its Presentation. In What Ways ...

    This made the idea of good and evil carry considerable weight, both spiritually and politically. Elizabeth is perceived as a "good" woman in Salem. She says that John is a "good" man, and that she will not attempt to take his "goodness" away from him, in order to try to make him save himself.

  2. An exploration of Jane Austen's use of the outdoors in Emma

    This robbery is the reason Mr Woodhouse warms to the idea of having Mr Knightley close by in Hartfield. Austen could no doubt have explained Mr Woodhouse's acceptance of the engagement in some less peculiar or comical manner, so mentioning turkey theft in the closing paragraphs of the novel could

  1. How does Jane Austen present the themes of love and marriage in the novel ...

    He may want to marry her because of her status and wealth. In chapter nine Mr Elton gives Emma a poem, which Emma thinks is intended for Harriet. When the poem is read it is interpreted to be a love poem to Harriet.

  2. Jane Austen said of Emma 'she is a character who no-one but myself will ...

    I also, have the idea that the reason why she chose Emma to fall in love and then marry, is that she probably wanted to show people in her society that it is possible to stop caring so much about money and to marry someone you care about.

  1. Argue that the theory of common sense structures provides an important and hitherto unappreciated ...

    physics are subject to a massive holistic interconnectedness in the sense that each is intervolved with all the others in ways which make it difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish distinct and separable branches of the discipline at hand. (Hayes 1979, 175ff)

  2. The various portrayals of heroines in Jane Austen's novels as well as investigate, who ...

    In a heroine we look for a certain bravery, and audacity but Fanny is timid, silent and excessively vulnerable. Fanny has more in common with the passive heroine of the Fanny Burney novel, than Jane Austen's earlier heroines such as Elizabeth Bennet and Catherine Morland.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work