Did you know that reading classic literature will benefit you in many ways? You benefit from powerful lessons and entertaining stories in these books.
In particular, women can find empowering lessons from the work of the prolific and much-loved author Jane Austen.
Jane Austen wrote stories and novels during a time when women were perceived as incapable of creative and intelligent work. This author was also forward-thinking for her time and would subtly critique the norms and beliefs of her day.
I’m very excited to share what I think are some of the great lessons you can get from the women Jane Austen wrote about. Let’s get started!
Stand up for yourself
Jane Austen’s most popular and well-known book is Pride and Prejudice. The conflict and romance between the intelligent and poorer Elizabeth Bennet and the wealthy and arrogant Mr. Darcy drive the story.
The pivotal scene in the book is also where we see an important lesson for women. When Darcy proposes to Elizabeth, he does so while insulting her background and her family, believing that his wealth and status left no other result but for her to accept his hand in marriage.
During this electrifying moment, Elizabeth rises to not only defend herself but also points out Darcy’s own flaws and errors. She goes against the standard that women should tolerate back-handed compliments or that marriage and money are what matter.
Her dialogue remains a biting and epic testament to Jane Austen’s literary skills.
“You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner”Elizabeth Bennet
In the end, we know that Elizabeth does end up in love and marrying a penitent and humbled Mr. Darcy. Another lesson here is that people can grow. Forgiveness, communication, and owning your mistakes are also great values that can lead us to long-term happiness.
“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
“Do not consider me now as an elegant female, intending to play you, but as a rational creature, speaking the truth from her heart.”Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
Stay true to your values
The heroine in Mansfield Park, Fanny Price, is a powerful example of someone who can be strong-willed when it comes to core values even when it conflicts with the wishes of people we love.
In the book, Fanny is a young and poor woman who is constantly reminded of her status as a charity case. She is exceedingly reticent and willing to put her own happiness aside to do whatever others ask of her.
However, when a handsome and well-off man who does not meet her moral standard courts her, she goes against the wishes of everyone around her and refuses to marry him.
The story is a beautiful example of how someone who is very compliant and self-effacing can withstand societal and family pressure when it comes to their values.
The values you hold are the most powerful guides you have. Learn to stand by them and you’re certain to feel glad about your decisions in the end.
“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”Fanny Price, Mansfield Park
Speak your mind
The novel Persuasion features an intelligent young woman, Anne Elliot, who rejects the man she loves because her family advised her to. She believed that it was her duty to listen to those older than her who knew better. They did not think that the man she loved had a future and that she could do better in life.
However, eight years pass and she’s still alone and meets him again. This time, there is coldness and misadventures even though she loves more than ever.
Towards the end, in a powerful scene, Anne defends women to a friend who thinks that men stay more constant in love than women do.
She becomes vocal and speaks with great strength about how love lasts despite time and distance. Anne also points a finger at the fact that education and literature have largely been the domain of men and she refuses to allow men to define women.
“Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.”Anne Elliot, Persuasion
As is the norm in all of Austen’s book, Anne and her love are together again, brushing aside all misunderstandings. In all of Austen’s books, a person’s good nature and the correct behavior lead to the best outcomes.
Jane Austen’s novels form a significant part of the classic literature landscape. Reading her works can help you see how women can speak their minds and stand up for themselves even in the midst of a restrictive society.
Classic fiction holds many lessons as well as remarkable characters that will entertain you and help beat stress too.
Dive into Jane Austen’s world of women with parasols and conflicts in love – written by one of the wittiest and most intelligent persons who ever lived. Here are some more ‘merciless’ quotes from Jane Austen’s books, you’re certain to benefit from it mentally and emotionally.