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The various portrayals of heroines in Jane Austen's novels as well as investigate, who is a heroine and what makes a heroine.

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  • Essay length: 4291 words
  • Submitted: 01/01/2004
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AS and A Level Jane Austen

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The various portrayals of heroines in Jane Austen's novels as well as investigate, who is a heroine and what makes a heroine.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a heroine as: 'A woman distinguished by exalted courage, fortitude, or noble achievements.' The novels of the 1790's presented two types of heroine, the heroine who is fallible and learns, and the heroine who is Christian and exemplary. These were the standard heroine types of the reactionary novels of the 1790's. But there are many other traits and qualities which can also be possessed by a woman to be described as a heroine. For example it is the fate of the romantic heroine to suffer and endure. There are many stereotypical heroines perhaps the most famous being Cinderella. This is a very good example, as she embodies all that is expected of a typical heroine- she is beautiful, morally right and kind and suffers at the hands of others. However other authors of the period present typical heroines as passive, weak and meek. Fanny Burney's Cecilia (1782) sees the character of Cecilia never straying from the standards of female obedience and submission. Austen wanted to break with the Burney

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