Jane Austen was one of the greatest authors of presenting human nature and personality in realistic situations that taught on the morals of free choice and responsibility. While all of her novels have their good and bad, which ones were merely shelves on her career and which ones were the height of her career? While not necessarily the final authority on Jane Austen novels, here is an idea on what were the high and low parts of her career.
6. Sense and Sensibility
Sense and Sensibility deals with a clear personal issue, but unfortunately, the social commentary is probably the most limited of Jane Austen’s novels. While filled with twists and surprises, the novel is clearly the beginning of her long journey as a novelist.
5. Northanger Abbey
Northanger Abbey is a beautiful commentary on both what happens when people’s imagination runs away with them and what happens when one hangs around the wrong kind of people. Surprisingly, while more juvenile in style, I believe there is more intellectual depth in this novel then in the later Sense and Sensibility.
While often portrayed as dreary in adaptions, the actual novel is filled with brilliant comic relief to balance the sad themes as well as plenty of mentally stimulating scenes. With a good balance between moral and an interesting story, as well as dealing with the pure human heart, Persuasion has many hid gems for the patient reader.
Emma is the most chick-flickish of the Jane Austen novels in my opinion. A heroine with lots of sass and cheek with a fairly innocent companion. Studying the consequences of when a person uses subtle manipulation, even for another person’s good, the novel has a nice balance of modern and Regency feelings. Though the romance between Emma and Mr. Knightly is flawed with its slightly selfish sentiments and more than fifteen year age gap, it still has its charms.
2. Mansfield Park
Mansfield Park is terribly underrated in the world of fine literature for the same reason Fanny Price is looked down on by her friends and family. It’s meek, sensible, and morally upright, for all it’s lack of sociable charm. Many mistake it as a correction or contradiction to Jane Austen’s more lively earlier novels, but considering her most cheeky novel Emma came after this, I disagree. I believe Mansfield Park wasn’t trying to put down innocent, clever amusement, but merely showing that the cleverest mind is nothing when backed by the black heart, and the purest soul, shy and quiet as it is, is far more profitable in the long run.
1. Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice is often considered one of, if not the, best of Jane Austen’s novels. When trying to figure out why, one must pause, as it certainly is not as witty as Emma, as morally sound as Mansfield Park, and not as dreamy as Persuasion. Why is it so popular? I believe it is because Pride and Prejudice shows the human soul at its best. It truly reflects the heart and minds of people so well, that it’s lacking in other areas is totally made up for with its lovable, realistic characters.