Saturday, 9 July 2016
Jane Austen's Characters : Truly Individuals
Part of Jane Austen's genius is that her characters are so clearly visualized. She never repeats herself. She does not see human beings vaguely, in the mass. She has an acute sense of individuality, the thing that makes a person unique, however conventional to the outer eye. Think about Pride and Prejudice, for example: no fewer than twenty-five sharply-realized individuals linger in our minds.
There are types, but within the types all are individuals. Think, for example, of one type - the pleasant, calm, sensible, married women who are sympathetic to young people and able to advise them: Mrs. Gardiner, Mrs. Croft, Mrs. Weston, Mrs. Grant and Mrs. Morland. Yet each is clearly an individual.
Jane could not only show how people behaved socially, before the world; she also revealed the interior person, the mysterious being sometimes hidden to a degree even from those they love.