• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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

    This is the first part in the novel in which Emma actually considers marriage for herself. It is significant that even Emma, who can marry anyone she wants, thinks of marriage in realistic terms. At no point is love mentioned.

  2. 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.

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

    also make the audience feel for John and Elizabeth, they as the audience know it will end soon. The audience is shown that Elizabeth has truly forgiven John and has come to realise some of her own failings. At the very end of the play, I think her attitude towards

  2. Each of the 4 settings in the novel persuasion by Jane Austen holds a ...

    Sir Walter writes the Dalrymples a letter of apology for their estrangement and receives a forgiving note in return. Anne is ashamed that her family talks of their high relations to everybody; she sees little of merit in her awkward, unaccomplished, and uninteresting relatives.

  1. What Warnings Does Jane Austen offer About the Moral Dangers of Persuasion?

    Lady Russell clearly believed therefore, that if Anne had married him then she would be just throwing her life away because of a soldier who had nothing but himself to offer her. Anne reluctantly agrees with Lady Russell and declines his offer.

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

    Knightley's wishes above her own is illustrated by her decision to stay outside, where they may "speak openly". Had she returned inside Mr Knightley, mortified by her apparent disinterest, would probably never have disturbed her with unwanted attentions again, and Emma's happiness might have been ruined.

  1. How effectively do Austen and Walker present the struggles that women face within their ...

    Marriage is on everyone's mind because it is quite simply a way of life; don't get involved and you're missing out. A lot of women want to get married purely for financial and security reasons, such as Charlotte, who decides to accept Mr Collins' proposal because she is in her

  2. Though Emma(TM)s faults are comic, they constantly threaten to produce serious harm Discuss ...

    This is important because the whole notion of the comic genre is that there will be a happy ending, and the whole novel is subtly pointing towards a happy ending, even though some prospects look bleak at some points. "Though Emma's faults are comic, they constantly threaten to produce serious harm."

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