Masters Thesis

Jane Austen, "A judicious person with some turn for humor"

This thesis discusses Jane Austen’s use of humor in her written works and the role humor plays to impart moral lessons to her readers. I borrow from a quote in Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman to examine Austen’s judiciousness and humor in her narration, satire of human follies, and character comparisons. As a satirist, Austen enables readers to laugh at human foolishness through her characters’ ridiculousness and to privately examine their own antics. By juxtaposing her foolish characters with wiser and more teachable characters, Austen encourages readers to reform, to judge independently, and to treat others with sympathy.