Is it already that time? The time that every 10 has warned me about? Is it already time to start eminent? I can’t really tell if I’m excited or not. I know I’m definitely nervous, maybe a little nauseous, and, quite possibly, eager. I also can’t tell if this eagerness is due to the fact I want to finish eminent so I can stop stressing or that I’m genuinely excited. But, nonetheless, I must step onto the crazy roller coaster that is the eminent project and get it done.

While slaving away on the computer, searching for the ideal eminent person to study, I found nothing. As I was trying to clear my mind, I decided to take a step away from all the homework and instead, read a book. Ironically, the book I happened to pick up was none other than “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. At the time, I was half way done “Pride and Prejudice”. I thought to myself that if I enjoyed the book so much, I should do Jane Austen for my eminent project and research her life story and what inspired her to write books so that when I finished “Pride and Prejudice”, I would have a better overall understanding on the plot, characters, and the book in general. This is when I introduce you to my brilliant eminent person, Jane Austen.

Drawn portrait of Jane Austen by her older sister Cassandra
Drawn portrait of Jane Austen by her older sister Cassandra

Jane Austen, born on December 16, 1775 in Steventon, a village in Hampshire, England, was an English writer whose novels and short stories have secured her a spot as one of the most read English novelists. She was born to Reverend George Austen and Cassandra Austen as the second youngest of eight children, six boys and two girls. Growing up, Jane lived in a tight-knit family, receiving a better education then most women of her time. At the age of 8, in 1783, Jane and her sister Cassandra were sent off to a boarding school to receive the basics of education for females which included a foreign language (French), music, and dancing. The rest of Jane’s education came from what her father and older brothers taught her and, of course, from her own reading. In the Austen household, it was common for them to act out plays and write their own. It can only be assumed that from these plays, Jane got her talents of improvisations, observation, and acting.

In 1787, Jane started taking more interest in writing her own stories, keeping them in notebooks for the future. These consisted of short stories, plays and poems that allowed Jane to focus on shorter writings before venturing onto novels and to also entertain by reading them out loud to her family. Unknown to Jane, the collection of stories and poems on those pages would one day become the “Juvenilia” and fill up three whole notebooks. Her first attempt at a full length novel was “Elinor and Marianne” which went through a series of editing, changing it into third-person narration, and was finally published in 1811 as “Sense and Sensibility”. It is unknown of how much the original story survived the editing process that made it into “Sense and Sensibility”.

Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice

She then began to work on a second novel, “First Impressions”, in 1796. The first draft was completed in 1797, when Jane was only 21. Like all her work, she read it out loud to her family and it quickly became a favourite. Her father had tried to get it published but was quickly rejected, the package not even being opened. Much later, in 1813, “First Impressions”, through a long process of editing, was published as Jane Austen’s most popular novel, “Pride and Prejudice”.

With her exceptionally developed characters and plots, Jane writes with a strong sense of comedy and irony. Her ability to put characters in ordinary positions only to develop a more dramatic situation allows her work to still be read today. In all of her novels, a woman meets a man and through a series of obstacles, marries him in the end. Through the obstacles both characters gain the knowledge of a successful marriage and lose the trait stopping them from having a happy marriage. In “Pride and Prejudice”, Elizabeth loses her prejudice and Darcy loses his pride. Something that I admire about Jane Austen’s work is that she doesn’t make the characters perfect. Though her characters are deeply developed, they have flaws, like being stubborn or overly independent, just like everyone should. Her books take you on a journey through everyday life in her time and highlights human weaknesses.

I would like to believe that Jane and I have things in common though the most obvious is both of us being female. Jane’s books show the social standings of woman in her time, greatly relying on their husbands for a good living and social status. Woman back then received sexism in all aspects of their lives. They were less valued, didn’t received a great education and usually stayed at home, caring for their children and cooking a great meal for their husbands to come home too. This is where Jane and I are set apart. In this generation, I can do almost anything that men are able too. Women now can get a great education and do not depend on marriage for social status. Jane and I are on totally opposite ends when it comes to discrimination now and then which is oddly what we both have in common, we’re both woman.

I’m really curious as to how my eminent person study will turn out in the end. One of my main goals is to really improve my research and time management skills as well as overcoming my fear of public speaking! Also one of the main reasons I chose Jane Austen, to finish “Pride and Prejudice” with a new understanding!