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ENGL 102- Week 2 Discussion: ‘Shamelessness in Jane Austen’

Sep 5, 2023

Using the library database, find an interesting article in the broad subject area you chose for your research. Read it until you understand it thoroughly; then summarize it for your fellow students in your initial 200-250 word post in a way that might incline them to be interested in the subject. Include an article citation–for quick help consult this resource.

Week 2 Discussion: ‘Shamelessness in Jane Austen’      

The article titled ‘Shamelessness in Jane Austen’ by Richard T. McClelland, poignantly brings out the essential features of the Romantic age, which was individualism and its impact on society (McClelland 229). The article is associated with the chosen subject area for the assignment as it reflects two important features of the Romantic Age, Individualism and Societal Reaction towards individualism.

The central subject of the article is one of the earlier novellas produced by Jane Austen known as Lady Susan. The article details the manner in which shamelessness is induced in the character of Lady Susan and the way she functions in society, with the presence of such a flaw.

The article explains the manner in which shamelessness in a person, threatens to spoil their own self-growth and also destroys their social standing. Lady Susan in her interaction with Reginald De Courcy, as well as his sister, shows this shamelessness. She also acts in a shameless manner by trying to destroy the marriage of Mrs. Manwaring. She is also a Machiavellian character as she always holds herself as correct, in every situation, as revealed in her letters, and also undermines her relationships. This article points out the need for this shamelessness within Lady Susan (McClelland 234).

Lady Susan’s financial conditions are not impeccable, she needs either her daughter or herself to get married as quickly as possible. In order to fulfill these ambitions she needs to be shameless and not care for social respect, since it will not pay her debt. She also needs to be harsh with her daughter, as her love and protection of her, will eventually lead to both of them on the streets.

The Machiavellian characteristics adopted by Lady Susan, are necessary if she wants to remain unaffected by society, represented by her sister-in-law, who does not want her to achieve her means. The Romantic Age was trying to understand society through the perspective of humans, rather than vice versa. Novelists like Jane Austen tried to showcase the effects individuals suffered through society and the way they needed to alter themselves in order to survive in the societal arrangement. The novel reflected the primary objective of the Romantic Age, which was to keep the issues of individuals on center stage.

Work Cited

McClelland, Richard T. “Shamelessness in Jane Austen.” The Journal of Mind and Behavior 39.3 (2018): 229-250.

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