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Reading in Jane Austen novels is one aspect that is held in common with all of her heroines and seems to form part of Austens ideals regarding an admirable heroine Her characterisations are by no means formulaic yet similar concerns about class marriage and the status of women are to be found in each of her books Reading is presented as being a n escape from the confines of the female role an expansion of mind that is necessary for character formation Each of Austens heroines reads ti some extant and the act of reading and educating oneself is seen as most powerful when placed within the female realm In Pride and Prejudice Mr Bennet constantly retreats to his library where he can escape his wife and the world outside and it is due to Elizabeths active reading and intelligent interaction with texts that allows the pair such a special bond Jane Austen encourages the idea that reading should exist for a purpose and that women need to read in order to be able to assert their rights and intelligence and be able to be strong as any man in her story lines Reading produces strong independent women who are only involved in such stories about society and the politics of the everyday because it allows them to have a real and applicable context for readers of the time Through reading Austen is presenting rather radical ideas about the nature of education and gender and that reading while seen as a rather passive occupation has the power to change futures and can form the crux of a quiet rebellion for her female leads strength of character and ultimately the success of marital relationships and partnerships do seem to lend a certain significance to reading I once again turn to Pride and Prejudice for a quotation which summarises how Darcy places such importance on being more substantialin the improvement of her mind by extensive reading
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