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Animating inanimates : motion, depth, and potentiality in Austen's characters

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Animating inanimates : motion, depth, and potentiality in Austen's characters

Koay, Elvina (2006) Animating inanimates : motion, depth, and potentiality in Austen's characters. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The development of three-dimensional characters in Jane Austen's novels is influenced by the works of Ann Radcliffe, Frances Burney, and Maria Edgeworth. By examining the elements of Gothicism and nationalism in her contemporaries' works, this thesis attempts to trace the ways in which they each collate the realities of the material world and the internal world of the novel. The blurring of boundaries between the interior and exterior creates depth and mobility in characters, making them seem more realistic. Radcliffe's novels illustrate the psychological projections and internalisation of the physical world in Gothicism while Burney's works introduce a sociological correlative to the Gothic. Austen follows in her contemporaries' footsteps by depicting the interconnection between interiority and exteriority and by constructing multiple voices which further provide dimensionality and potentiality for change in her characters. Edgeworth shows that, despite the mutability of national identity, individual choice over identity is restricted by factors of gender and class. Austen's characters overcome such obstacles through subversive maneuvers or within a new commercial class. They have greater fluidity of identity, and their individuality interacts more dynamically with their network of social relationships. Perpetual motion and potential for change, grounded by readers' knowledge of characters and their social imperatives, allow for the projection of imagination within the realm of probability. This thesis analyses Austen's derivation of techniques and themes from her precursors to create round characters which have the potential to escape the narrative frame of her novels.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Koay, Elvina
Pagination:iv, 93 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:English
Date:2006
Thesis Supervisor(s):Frank, Marcie
ID Code:9217
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:46
Last Modified:30 Nov 2011 17:23
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