Creator Jane Austen Discussion

Collapse/Expand Topics

03:11:48 AM Jun 14th 2016
edited by PaulA
I just took these out of the trope list, because they're general observations, not specific examples. But I thought I'd leave them here, because there's some good material for an Analysis.JaneAusten page if someone wanted to start one.

  • Accomplice by Inaction: Unless the trope is Played for Laughs to highlight the irrationality of the blamer (MacDonald being blamed by Laura for "not giving a sigh" in Love and Freindship is a prime example), the character victim of this is never too easy to sympathize with in this matter. She seemed to draw a clear line between ignorance and Bystander Syndrome.
  • Arranged Marriage: As an obstacle to be overcome.
  • Betty and Veronica: The heroine always has one of each (except Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility, but Marianne still qualifies). As one of Austen's major themes is "bad boys will not change for a girl," she will always choose the Betty. Don't worry about this being a spoiler, though; Austen usually tries to deceive the readers for a while about which love interest is the more "amiable" one. A few of her books also give this dilemma to a male character.
  • Character Development: In addition to heroines like Marianne Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, and Catherine Morland growing up and changing some of her underlying views about the world and herself, each heroine's significant other usually needs to change before they can live Happily Ever AfterEdward Ferrars needs to grow a spine and stand up to My Beloved Smother (which he does), Edmund Bertram needs to grow a brain and stop being duped by The Vamp (which he does), and Mr. Darcy needs to stop being such a brooding loner and start being a gentleman (which... doesn't matter to modern female readers anyway).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Her narrative persona as well as many characters.
  • First Love: An important element in the novels of Jane Austen, who often uses the First Love trope often under the role of Wrong Guy First. Austen also has a few examples of First Love turning out right.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The lovers will get together and live Happily Ever After. The question is, how? (And, given the prevalence of Romantic False Lead, which lovers?)
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Mansfield Park is the only Jane Austen novel to contain scene where two male characters are alone together without a woman present — Sir Thomas and his son Tom discuss Tom's debts, and later, Sir Thomas and his younger son Edmund talk about the theatre plans. Austen didn't want to speculate on how men behaved on their own.
  • Gold Digger: Common in her fiction: often male, often subtle enough that modern readers might not even notice.
  • Happily Married: Usually there is at least one happy couple in each novel to provide a good role model for the young heroine. It's also a trademark of Jane Austen's Foregone Conclusion: all her heroines end up with the right guy and the life promises nothing but a sweet life. They never fall into Sickening Sweethearts category.
  • Hidden Depths: First impressions are wrong more often than not.
  • I Gave My Word: Engagements are a serious promise. Jilting someone is becoming The Oath-Breaker.
  • Marry for Love: Most, if not all, of her protagonists have a desire to do this.
  • Missing Mom: A common, though not universal, feature of an Austen heroine.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Part of her Signature Style is the great disillusionment characters suffer regarding some part of their worldview or conduct. C. S. Lewis saw this trope as the key to her works. The major exception to this trope is Anne Elliot, who exchanges it for I Regret Nothing by the end of her story. The change is logical enough, as this trope sums up her inner monologue, more or less, for the first nearly-all of the novel. Elinor Dashwood also seems to be an exception, though since her novel has dual heroines, one who fits and one who doesn't, the exception isn't as obvious as Anne Elliot.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Several of the marriages portrayed in her novels are not particularly happy. The narrator observes that it's all too often Truth in Fiction. Justified as once you got married in Regency England, there was no turning back.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, she reuses several names over the course of her novels, sometimes within the same book.
    • Alicia Johnson (Lady Susan) and Lady Alicia (Persuasion)
    • Anne Mitchell, Anne Thorpe (Northanger Abbey), Anne "Nancy" Steele, Anna-Maria Middleton (Sense and Sensibility), Anne de Bourgh, her namesake Anne Darcy, (Pride and Prejudice), Anne Taylor and her daughter (Emma), and Anne Elliot {Persuasion).
    • Arthur Otway (Emma) and Arthur Parker {Sanditon}.
    • Augusta Watson (The Watsons), Augusta Sneyd (Mansfield Park), and Augusta Hawkins (Emma).
    • Caroline Bingley (Pride and Prejudice) and Caroline Otway (Emma).
    • Catherine Morland (Northanger Abbey), Catherine Vernon (Lady Susan), Catherine "Kitty" Bennet, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Pride and Prejudice).
    • Charlotte Davis, Charles Hodges (Northanger Abbey), Charles Smith, Charles Vernon (Lady Susan), Charlotte Palmer (Sense and Sensibility), Charles Bingley, Charlotte Lucas (Pride and Prejudice), Charles the servant, Sir Charles, Charles Anderson, Charles Maddox, Charles Price (Mansfield Park), Charles Hayter, the three Charles Musgroves, Charles Smith (Persuasion), Charles Dupuis, and Charlotte Heywood (Sanditon).
    • Clara Partridge (Emma) and Clara Brereton (Sanditon).
    • Edward Thorpe (Northanger Abbey), Edward Ferrars (Sense and Sensibility), Edward Gardiner (Pride and Prejudice), Edward Wentworth (Persuasion), and Edward Denham (Sanditon).
    • Eleanor Tilney (Northanger Abbey) and Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility).
    • Elizabeth Watson (The Watsons), Betty the maid, Eliza Williams, Eliza Williams Jr. (Sense and Sensibility), Elizabeth "Eliza" "Lizzy" Bennet (Pride and Prejudice), Betsy Price (Mansfield Park), and Elizabeth Elliot (Persuasion).
    • Emma Watson (The Watsons), Emma Woodhouse, and Emma's niece Emma Knightley (Emma).
    • Fanny Carr (The Watsons), Fanny Brandon, Fanny Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility), Frances Price and her daughter Fanny Price (Mansfield Park), Fanny Harville (Persuasion), and Fanny Noyce (Sanditon).
    • Frederick Tilney (Northanger Abbey), Frederica Susanna Vernon (Lady Susan), and Frederick Wentworth (Persuasion).
    • George Morland, George Parry (Northanger Abbey), Georgiana Darcy, George Wickham (Pride and Prejudice), George Knightley and his nephew George Knightly, and George Otway (Emma).
    • Harriet Morland (Northanger Abbey), Harriet Forster, Harriet Harrington (Pride and Prejudice), and Harriet Smith (Emma).
    • Henry Tilney (Northanger Abbey), Henry Dashwood and his son Harry Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility), Sir Henry, Henry Crawford (Mansfield Park), Harry, Hetty Bates, Henry Knightly, Henry Woodhouse (Emma), Henrietta Musgrove, Harry Musgrove, and Henry Russell (Persuasion).
    • John Thorpe (Northanger Abbey), John Dashwood, John Willoughby and Sir John Middleton (Sense and Sensibility). Good lord, three reprehensible men with the name John and two in one novel. She must have really hated the name.
  • Only Sane Man: Either the heroine, or the heroine and her significant other — hence, the mutual attraction. The exception is Emma, where the heroine herself is wackier than most of her neighbors, leaving this role to Mr. Knightley.
  • Romantic False Lead: Everyone heroine has at least one. The boys often have one, too. And to add to the confusion, sometimes in addition to a bad-boy false lead, there will be a GOOD guy alternative for the heroine.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Something of a subversion. Austen's works are littered with what would be considered misspellings by today's standards. What is important to remember is that at the time that she was writing, the English language had not yet been standardized and variations in spelling, punctuation, etc. were widely accepted.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Marrying for love frequently requires this.
  • Self-Made Man: Austen was a major advocate for them.
  • Take That!: At All Girls Want Bad Boys, Arranged Marriage, Love at First Sight and Brainless Beauties, for starters.
  • Unable to Support a Wife: Frequently, though it may not be the main plot.
Collapse/Expand Topics