Date of Award

Fall 12-16-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Kelly DeLong, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Susan Wright, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Bansari Mitra, Ph.D.


This study examines Jane Austen’s realistic interpretations of eighteenth-century English society with a particular focus on representing women’s oppressions in Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. Austen, in these three novels, criticizes several issues related to women’s status in English society and focuses on how men and women should be treated equally. In the novels, she argues that English society creates social order, women’s oppressiveness, and gender inequality through arbitrary social norms and traditions.

This paper mainly focuses on two areas that restrict women’s roles in their society: the marriage plot and the educational system. Austen’s purpose of presenting these issues is to voice women’s rights and improve their conditions. She also offers her readers unusual descriptions of female characters in order to correct the stereotypical images of women during the period. Finally, this paper aims to show Austen’s success in redefining women’s status and change the misconceptions of women in British society.