Emma Is a Light Diversion- Discuss

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Jane Austen's Emma, written in 1816, reflects a period of historical, social and industrial change in Britain. The era in which Austen writes Emma, has been termed the "Romantic Period". During this period, literary authors portrayed and questioned the evolutionary changes that were taking place at the time. The novel depicts various themes, the most prominent being social status and class. The importance of societal structures will be addressed by analysing the explicit and implicit references relating to characters and their relationships. The significance of marriage will be discussed, and the position of women during the early 19th century will be examined. A brief historical summary of the Romantic period, and Austen as a writer, will introduce and form the basis of the analysis. The question will be addressed in order to conclude and determine whether the novel is, or is not, ‘just a light diversion’. Romantic authors were a diverse group of individuals, with a variation of backgrounds, religious beliefs and individual points of view. The Industrial Revolution in Britain saw the migration of rural citizens into towns and cities, causing overpopulation and poverty, as manufacturing developed because of new technology. The societal class structure was changing rapidly and a new wealthy class was beginning to emerge through trade. The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars influenced writers during this era as they began to question societal values; choosing to explore ideas of liberty and equality. Austen's writing was arguably influenced by social and economic transformations during this time. Austen questions societal structures throughout Emma by emphasising class status, marriage and the oppression of women. Austen was well travelled and well educated; influences of her own life are echoed throughout Emma. Despite this, Austen received varying degrees of
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