College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date

3-2016

Document Type

Thesis

College/Department Conferring Degree

English

Keywords

Austen, heroine, wife, marriage plot, marriage

Abstract

This thesis argues that through the use of character transformation in her heroines, Jane Austen uses marriage plot novels to romantically idealize the role of being a wife. In particular, heroines Catherine Morland, Marianne Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, and Emma Woodhouse lose autonomy and become more limited within their characters as they are influenced by the societies around them. The stories of Austen's other heroines offer dissimilarities in their trajectories that support the idea of achieving " happily ever afters" by exhibiting propriety in roles subordinate and dedicated to their future husbands. By imposing limitations on her heroines, Austen is suggesting that women should accept societal expectations and desire to become wives.

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