Jane Austen discussion

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message 1: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Shields describes Jane's early life. Does Carol Shields' (CS) description fall within what you already knew of Austen?


message 2: by Aod (new)

Aod | 7 comments Carol Shield hinted at a possible rivalry between Jane and her sister, Cassandra. That is something that I never considered before reading this. I guess that I always imagined the sisters' relationship to be similar to Elizabeth Bennett and Jane Bennett in Pride & Prejudice.




message 3: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidimarie) | 13 comments The sister rivalry cought me by surprise too. But, it actually made Jane appear more human in away - I think two sisters can be close and friends and on very different persoanlity level. My sister is my best friend but we look at life so very different so it stands to reason that Jane and Cassandra may have had some isues - but I do feel tha CS does a great job of letting us know that even with the small differences they were extreamly close and understood each other.


message 4: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
CS doesn't go into that subject in detail, does she? Maybe it was just too speculative? We might know more about them if those letters had survived!

Just from a domestic standpoint, it sounds like Cassandra and Jane could have been rivals. For example, in certain of the family households, Cassandra was apparently the favorite Aunt. With a writer's mind that strayed from the ordinary, JA might not have had much in common with her sister-in-law (was it Edward's wife?) Rivalry within the family is an easy occurrence, isn't it? Like Heidi Marie is saying -- very human

From a "life's work" standpoint, could Cassandra have simply been the more staid of the two sisters? With the tragedy of her fiance, she could have settled into a very practical existence, not believing that marriage or romance would ever come her way again. Jane could have been enough of a contrast in that thinking and this could have caused tension. I can't imagine Jane's thinking was ever staid.

But ultimately it sounds that theirs was a circle of genteel women of limited means who would stick together through life. Later Martha Lloyd came into their household also as extended family, adding to this circle of women.


message 5: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 52 comments Aod wrote: "Carol Shield hinted at a possible rivalry between Jane and her sister, Cassandra...."

The letters don't seem to me to support anything beyond a normal sibling rivalry. It's natural for siblings to compete for parental attention, recognition by and praise from extended family and friends, etc. But beyond that? I don't see it.





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