Jane Austen had many influences in her life that led to the material written in her books. All of Austen’s books “focus on young women in their path to marriage. ” (Southam, pg. 2) Jane Austen wrote on life as she knew and events that could have or did influence her. Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 in Sevington, Hampshire, located in England. Her father was a Reverend for the church, while her mother was born in to an “aristocratic family. ” (Tucker, pg. 6) Jane was the seventh of eight children.
Her five older brothers, James (1765), George (1766), Edward (1768), Henry (1771), and Francis (1774) all became well known men of their time, with good connections, which was very important in that time. Austen also had one younger brother, Charles, who was born in 1779. (Howard, pg. 11) However, the most important sibling of Jane Austen was her older sister, Cassandra. As well as being born in the same year (Howard, pg. 11), “they shared the same interests, enthusiasm and sense of humor. (Wright, pg. 7) “The Austen’s were a happy, lively, reputedly good-natured and sweet tempered family.
Family squabbles were almost unknown. Wright, pg. 6) The Austens spent their nights together. They played “charades around a candle-lit table. After the game, the girls sewed or embroidered while the boys read aloud. ” (Wright, pg. 7) Jane and Cassandra spent their whole life together, from birth till Austen’s death, where Jane died “with her head pillowed on Cassandra’s shoulder. ” (Wright, pg. 11) At age 7 , Cassandra and Jane “sent to a small school run by a relative. (Wright, pg. 7) They didn’t stay there long because Mrs. Cawley, the teacher and relative, moved away to Southampton. (Wright, pg. 11) Soon after Jane left Mrs.
Cawleys school, she caught a horrible fever. It was called ” putrid throat, a septic throat characteristic of typhus fever. ” (Howard, pg. 14) This fever almost killed Jane and Cassandra both. (Wright, pg. 7) This happened in 1792. (Wright, pg. 7) In 1797, Jane and Cassandra were sent to Mrs. Latournelle’s Abbey School of Reading. They spent two years at this school to learn how to be “a lady”. (Wright, pg. 7) After that, Jane went home and was “home taught” from there on out. (Howard, pg. 14) It was here that Jane was “schooled in household management and taught the feminine arts’ of singing, dancing, drawing and playing the piano. Wright, pg. 7) Just like the women characters of her books. Jane’s whole family was well educated, so she was no different. (Howard, pg. 10)
Austen later said about herself “I think I may boast myself to be, with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress. ” (Tucker, pg. 3) Although Jane said this she was “very educated. She knew how to speak french, some Italian and Latin. She read Shakespeare, Milton, Johnson and Cowper (big poets of her time). ” (Tucker, pg. 7) Jane lived in Steventon for 25 years. She moved in 1801 with her parents and sister to Bath.
They stayed there until after her fathers death in 1804. Jane had a lot of depressing moments in 1804. A month after Jane’s fathers death, her “closest friend, Anne Lefroy” died. (Southam, pg. 13)After that Jane moved to Southampton in 1806 with her mother, Cassandra and Martha Lloyd, Jane’s lifelong friend. From there the women moved to Chawton in Hampshire in July of 1809. Jane stayed in Chawton until 1817. (Tucker, pg. 6) All this moving was because they had really no means of support since Jane’s father died. As we can see in the Jane Austen books, women didn’t really work.
The men were the full means of support in the family. That’s why it was so important for the parents to marry off their daughters. In 1817, Jane moved one final time to Winchester because of her “ill health”. (Tucker, pg. 6) It was here that Jane died from Addison’s disease on July 18, 1817 at 4:30 am. ( Southam, pg. 13) Jane’s “last wishes were I want nothing but death,’ because she was in so much pain. ” (Southam, pg. 13) Jane spent her whole life concentrating on her friends and family, just like the women in her books. She never married and never traveled, except when she was moving.
Southam, pg. 12) She led a “happy and comfortable home life. ” (Magill, pg. 25) Most of her books were written for the members of her family. ( Magill, pg. 25) This shows the importance of her family, just like the importance of families in her books. She played a “dutiful daughter and loving sister and a favorite aunt to tons of nieces and nephews. (Southam, pg. 12) Austen lived her life quietly. It was “quiet and uneventful, by modern standards (her life) was narrow and unrestrictive. ” (Southam, pg. 12)
Jane had an “obsessive need for privacy. ” (Southam, pg. ) She published her books “anonymously. Her name was only revealed with her books after her death. ” (Southam, pg. 12) “She was not a famous writer of her time and didn’t want to be. ” (Magill, pg. 25) Jane mainly associated with her friends and family. “She avoided literary circles like the plague. ” (Southam, pg. 12) There was little known about Austen’s “emotional life, thoughts, opinions, tastes, prejudices and personality. (Wright, pg. 6) Since Cassandra destroyed the intimate letters Jane had written, the only assumptions historians can make are from Jane’s writings.
It is obvious that Jane Austen had fallen in love sometime in her life with the way she depicts love in her novels. There are “only records of mild flirtations. ” There are a number of stories which involve Jane and a man. She agreed to marry a “Hampshire man, but changed her mind the very next morning. ” The Hampshire man wasn’t the only man who had asked Jane to marry him, she turned down the others. It is possible that Jane fell in love with a clergy man, but he had died before their “friendship could develop. ” (Southam, pg. ) As George Tucker wrote, it can be assumed by reading the surviving letters, Jane was a flirtatious girl. An occasionally sharp-tounged girl who matured into a compassionate, but critically objective woman of genius. (Pg. 3) Sir Walter Scott said “(Jane had) a talent for describing the involvements, feelings and characters of ordinary life… ” (Magill, pg. 25) People have different opinions of Jane Austen’s work.
Some people “were upset because she never wrote about events surrounding her life, like the French Revolution and the Nepoleonic Wars. (Tucker, pg 69) Thomas Hardy said about Austen, “a rather heartless little cynic… nning satirettes about her neighbors whilst the Dynasts were tearing the world to pieces and consigning millions to their pieces. (Tucker, pg. 69) Others loved Jane’s novels. Jane wrote many novels in her life. She started writing early. The first novel written, Love and Friendship, was written in 1789 when Jane was only fourteen. Next Jane wrote A History of England, when she was fifteen. A Collection of Letters and Lesley Castle were written when Jane was sixteen. Elinor and Marianne was written in 1795 and First Impressions was written in 1797. Jane began writing The Watsons in 1804 but stopped writing it after her fathers death.
Drabble, pg. 52) The Watsons “social picture is one of the unrelieved bleakness, its heroine distressed, and it’s satire sharp to the point of cruelty. It signals a failing of generosity, loss of creative power, which may stem from the sadness of these years. ” (Southam, pg. 13) There was a long silence between books. This is probably due to the depressing in which her father died and good friend. Jane wrote most of her widely known books after she moved to Chawton. She wrote Sense and Sensibility in 1811, which was a rewrite of an earlier piece, Love and Friendship.
Two years later Jane wrote Pride and Prejudice, which was also a rewrite of an earlier piece, First Impressions. In 1814, Jane wrote Mansfield Park and Emma. (Drabble, pg. 52) In December, 1817, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published. (Tucker, pg. 7) All of Jane Austen’s books “depicts society at leisure rather than on the march. ” (Magill, pg. 26) This was how Jane led her life. She wasn’t pushed by any outside forces, except the death of her father. Her novels “focus on the manners and morals of rural middle-class English life. ” (Magill, pg. 26) She wrote on the subjects she knew best, and didn’t stray outside her knowledge.