Blog 7, Topic 1

In your own words explain what you sense is the real difference between the fictional worlds of George Eliot, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.

George Eliot, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen are all writers who seek to make a social comment in their writing. However, the focus of this social comment differs amongst the three.

Dickens writes from a perspective that highlights the state of all society, amongst various social classes and backgrounds. I feel that Dickens believes that all people are affected by the modern state of the world, particularly with regard to the influence of the industrial revolution. He seeks to persuade the reader that the current state of affairs is ineffective and harmful, necessitating change in the way lives are lived (or in the case of Hard Times, not really lived at all). Dickens seems to view and treat all his characters similarly, despite social distinctions. The only sense of superiority is felt when Dickens discusses the circus crowd, whom he promotes as a positive and necessary influence on society.

Austen, whilst making social comments, focuses particularly on the upper class and their romantic relationships. She manages to use the romantic tales of her characters to convey messages and views of societal norms, which we may assume she is challenging. These largely relate to the role of women and their ability to determine their own futures and use their talents for anything beyond attaining a husband. I feel Austen’s focus on women and marriage is evidence of her focus on females in particular, almost representing early feminist ideas. However, as enjoyable as Austen is and very talented in her ironic challenges to societal norms, they are polarised, singularly focusing on the upper class with little to no mention of the poor or lower classes. Emma provides a mild exception to this rule by including the characters of Mrs & Miss Bates – however they do not represent a true lower class.

Eliot serves as middle ground between the works of Dickens and Austen. Eliot writes of what it is to be human. She does not merely express the effect of society on humanity as Dickens chooses, and although she explores ideas of love, it is not primarily of romantic nature as it is with Austen.  The other bridging lies in the fact that Eliot chooses characters from both the upper and lower classes. Class distinction is used as a vehicle to demonstrate the idea that humanity is found in interactions which have little to nothing to do with wealth or poverty. ‘Silas Marner’ is a novel which emphasizes the necessity of human interaction and contact, creating a novel with a both simplistic and holistic message – humans need deep personal connections and relationships in order to attain meaningful and fulfilling lives.

All three of the aforementioned authors are noteworthy, interesting and important. Whilst they express differing views and fictional worlds, all contain intelligent ideas which maintain relevance even in a modern context.789d8dfda4a79778334b82d806db81b2.jpg

Image sources: http://www.inkpellet.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/p-46-Charles-Dickens-1858.jpg, http://www.pemberley.com/janeinfo/janepict.jpg, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/George_Eliot_2.jpg, https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/78/9d/8d/789d8dfda4a79778334b82d806db81b2.jpg

 

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9 thoughts on “Blog 7, Topic 1”

  1. Hi Tara,
    I think this is a great post, it’s wonderful and thought-provoking 🙂 You’ve encapsulated some of my own thoughts on these authors too. I think you’re quite right when you say that Dickens makes mention of people in all levels of society, from the Gradgrinds to the Slearys in “Hard Times”, while Austen really only pays attention to the upper classes of society in her novels and Eliot is a combination of the two. Your brief analysis of the characters is thorough and I really like your summarising statement at the end that all three authors have intelligent ideas that are relevant even up to the 21st century. You don’t show a bias or preference for one particular author, which shows an objective and very well-written piece – fabulous work! 🙂 Just one small thing: in your paragraph about Dickens, “effected” should be “affected” with an a, not an e.

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  2. Hi Tara, I feel like you captured the different between these authors extremely well. I particularly liked your analysis of Eliot’s work as being concerned with what it is to be human. I find that Eliot captures the most important issues of humans. You still maintain to celebrate the authors whilst analysing them which is good. Many people tend to ‘knit-pick’ the authors and in doing so put down their work. Your concluding statement, which I 100% agree with is probably my favourite: ‘All three of the aforementioned authors are noteworthy, interesting and important. Whilst they express differing views and fictional worlds, all contain intelligent ideas which maintain relevance even in a modern context.’ I enjoy this because that’s what makes these authors so remarkable: their ability to withstand the continuum of time in capturing the essence of human nature. This makes them just as relatable now, as they were in the 19th Century!

    Good work.

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  3. Hey Tara!

    You showed in-depth knowledge in your blog post this week. I admire the use of critical analysis on a blog that is allowed to be relaxed. This shows your knowledge of the text and the differences that each author brings with their writing. I particularly liked that although you wrote about their difference in writing, you remained constant with the theme. You addressed their view on society, that is, Dicken’s perspective on all of society, Austen’s perspective majoring in the upper class and Elliot, who focuses on humanity. You contrasted these three authors in a clear manner; “Elliot serves as middle ground between the works of Dickens and Austen”.

    Well done on constructing a clear analysis of the authors and their perspectives.

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  4. Dear Tara,

    You have made an insightful blog post this week, good work! I found your comparative post about Austen, Eliot and Dickens to be straightforward and easy to read which shows me that you have fruitfully understood the differences and similarities between the three great writers. To enhance your response, I would suggest including textual analysis that convey the writers’ ideas and the issues in which their novels illustrate. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to read. Good job.

    PS: I really like the image/quote you used at the end. Obviously Vonnegut was a significant influence in the 20th century and it shows how the ideas about the human condition in which Dickens, Eliot and Austen were concerned with, still resonate in modern times. Fantastic work.

    Kind regards,
    Sibel.

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  5. This is an excellent entry Tara. I love the way you have found to celebrate George Eliot’s distinctiveness as being between Dickens and Austen. This makes a lot of sense; it is the humanity in her character that is the real focus, rather than their social status.
    Good work. – But I am not sure whether the Vonnegut quote is helpful????? your thoughts on this??

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    1. Thanks Michael,
      Basically I found it relevant in that all three authors expressed the incredible failures of humanity in varying ways, whilst also portraying the goodness to be found. The quote spoke to me in that the trials faced by the literary characters make you realize that we’re all in the same boat really. Whilst our struggles differ at face value, it all comes down to ‘facts of life’ and allows the reader to acknowledge their own trials in life are not so different from those experienced of humans past present and future. Which is somehow comforting.

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