Knjižnica Filozofskog fakulteta
Sveučilišta u Zagrebu
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Institutional Repository

Protofeminist Characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Mansfield Park


Downloads per month over past year

Živković, Mihaela. (2018). Protofeminist Characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Mansfield Park. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Knežević, Borislav].

PDF (English)
Download (227kB) | Preview


Analysing the topic of protofeminism in three Jane Austen’s novels: Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Mansfield Park, apart from the introduction and conclusion, the paper consists of two main parts, which denote different characteristics of Austen’s heroines that might be considered protofeminist. The first part titled “Womanhood Revised” consists of two sections denoting how Austen covertly questioned the ingrained patriarchal order by portraying Fanny Price, Emma Woodhouse and Elizabeth Bennet differently than what was considered prevalent in the society of the time. Having stated the reasons why Austen’s heroines might be considered protofeminist characters due to their choice of a proper education rather than mastering accomplishments, and due to their relationships with their fathers; the rest of the thesis, in the section titled “Marriage of the Equals”, analyses the topic of marriage and how Austen’s novels depict a freely chosen companionate in marriage based on a spousal equality of the mind. In Austen’s case one cannot assert, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was a consciously protofeminist point of view, and that the purpose of her novels was to reveal her own protofeminist concerns. However, the fact that her heroines are exemplary of the claim that women share the same moral nature as men, that they should have the same moral status, and exercise the same responsibilities for their own conduct (paraphrasing Kirkham 84), makes for a good debate on Austen’s protofeminism. It is this paper’s declaration that Austen’s heroines likely exert atypical behaviour for women of their time and social affiliation. They presumably challenge the traditional expectations for women and question the validity of the ingrained patriarchal ideals of a woman’s subordination to a man. Even though these selected novels end in marriage, they all propose breaking from the traditional marriage expectations of a power dynamic between the spouses. Their relationship is established as an equal partnership provided by their equality of mind. It would not be a stretch to pronounce this as a slow shift towards the modern worldview and that Jane Austen took part in its achievement.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: protofeminism, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Emma, Pride and Prejudice, nineteenth-century society, womanhood, education, the father/daughter relationship, marriage, equality.
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Knežević, Borislav
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2018 14:09
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2018 14:09

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item