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Miss Austen


A witty, poignant novel about Cassandra Austen and her famous sister, Jane.
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Jane's (and other characters') letters are sprinkled throughout the novel. What do they add to the story?

Created: 04/06/21

Replies: 14

Posted Apr. 06, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2710

Jane's (and other characters') letters are sprinkled throughout the novel. What do they add to the story?

Jane's (and other characters') letters are sprinkled throughout the novel. What do they add to the story that couldn't be conveyed through third-person narration?


Posted Apr. 08, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
djcminor

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 136

RE: Jane's &#...

The letters add to the backstory and provide additional information about the families. When I was telling a friend about the book and that the letters were written by the author, my friend said she would have felt cheated since they weren't really by Jane. i did not feel that way.


Posted Apr. 09, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 326

RE: Jane's &#...

I loved the letters intermixed with the story. It gave background and it also provided insight into the sisters. I felt they really helped build the story.


Posted Apr. 09, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
teacher reader

Join Date: 02/14/18

Posts: 47

RE: Jane's &#...

The letters helped the reader see different viewpoints.
The letter from Mary to Eliza describing Cassy's reaction to the news of Tom's death "astonished" Cassy. She had a totally different memory of the event. I wondered if the truth were somewhere in the middle.
Cassy was also surprised by the content of some of Jane's letters, particularly one in which Jane mentioned Cassy's "misery" and low spirits. Creating an entirely different picture, Cassiy says of herself: "Not once did she falter in that immediate resolution to remain dignified for everybody, to always appear strong."


Posted Apr. 10, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyh

Join Date: 06/25/13

Posts: 297

RE: Jane's &#...

The letters bring out the thoughts of the characters. This is what lives us information into their opinions. Their conversation revolves around proper behavior. The women especially seem to have a lot of free time. It is a shame that we have phones and texting now. The letters from the past give much more insight to the time. In our family, we have some old letters from the Civil War and they are a treasure.


Posted Apr. 11, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scottishrose

Join Date: 07/24/11

Posts: 114

RE: Jane's &#...

I think they make the story more personal. In reading the letters, we can see the thoughts of the people involved. Much of the rest of the story is told from Cassy's point of view.


Posted Apr. 11, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 330

RE: Jane's &#...

As teacher reader and scottishrose say above, the letters allow the reader of Hornsby's novel to see the thoughts and reactions of others involved. They give us a sense of other character's perceptions. Also, as nancych says, these letters give us a sense of the era in that those writing took - actually had - the time to take, to sit down and write. Our world is so busy; our means of interacting has become so technical - our form of expression shorthand in comparison to their own. We can see not only a character's mindset through the letters, but also what we have lost by no longer using letter writing - what is missing when we press the "heart key" emoji sign, for example.


Posted Apr. 11, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Kathy Ann

Join Date: 04/11/21

Posts: 7

RE: Jane's &#...

The Letters help understand the story> While the letters are not written by the real Jane Austen, they do give reasons for Cassandra's actions and the reasons she destroyed much of her sister's correspondence. I have read Claire Tomalin's biography of Jane Austen and new that the family destroyed much of Jane's affects so that future readers could not know exactly what she was thinking. The novels written by Jane is the most we can really learn about the author.


Posted Apr. 12, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 298

RE: Jane's &#...

I liked the letters but, of course, realized that they, like the rest of the book, were this author's fiction.


Posted Apr. 13, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cynthial

Join Date: 04/13/21

Posts: 7

RE: Jane's &#...

I enjoyed the use of the letters. Cassandra's search for and reading the letters added a bit of suspense to the novel. They also added additional personalities to the story in the absence of the characters. Many Janeites feel we have a personal relationship of sorts with Jane. The letters added to that feeling of familiarity and made it seem as if we were getting a "sneak peek" into Jane's life, of which only the readers of Miss Austen are privy.


Posted Apr. 13, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
djcminor

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 136

RE: Jane's &#...

Including Jane's characters and letters throughout the story add depth. Readers also find pleasure in recognizing the characters and their traits. The letters make the story feel authentic even though we know they were not actually Jane's letters. The author has written them with language Jane would have used.


Posted Apr. 13, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rachelh

Join Date: 10/19/20

Posts: 46

RE: Jane's &#...

I really enjoyed the way the author incorporated letters into the story; I thought they were fantastic works of creative writing that mimicked Jane Austen's own style incredibly well, even if their contents were invented.


Posted Apr. 13, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cindyb

Join Date: 04/14/20

Posts: 46

RE: Jane's &#...

The letters provided further insight into Jane and Cassandra’s relationships with family and friends as well as their feelings and love for each other.


Posted Apr. 19, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kdowney25

Join Date: 01/25/16

Posts: 141

RE: Jane's &#...

I loved reading the letters and was so disappointed to find out that they were not real. Lol. As an avid letter-writer myself, at certain times very prolific, I personally keep letters that have been written to me, and have for years. In letters we can share parts of ourselves that others may not be directly aware of. For me writing letters was like writing a journal entry. The letters in Miss Austen reflected the love the family had for one another.


Posted Apr. 19, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyh

Join Date: 06/25/13

Posts: 297

RE: Jane's &#...

The letters were a big part of the story. I enjoyed the letters. Letters were so important then, We did not have telephones, internet, etc. Letters was the way to keep in touch with family and friends, This was of much simpler time, people took the time to sit down and write letters to family. Maybe that was better than today,


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