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Miss Austen


A witty, poignant novel about Cassandra Austen and her famous sister, Jane.
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"A single woman should never outlive her usefulness." What challenges do the single women in this novel face? Are any of those challenges still present today?

Created: 04/06/21

Replies: 5

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2710

"A single woman should never outlive her usefulness." What challenges do the single women in this novel face? Are any of those challenges still present today?

Cassandra reflects: "A single woman should never outlive her usefulness. It was simple bad manners." What does she mean by "usefulness"? What challenges do the single women in this novel face? Are any of those challenges still present for single women today?


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

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 136

RE: "A single woman should...

"A single woman should never outlive her usefulness" is one of my favorite lines from the story. The women of the time were expected to marry so they could have a home of their own and not be a burden on their parents or married siblings. Women today can certainly make their own way; they don't have to marry in order to create a life for themselves. They face other challenges of a glass ceiling and discrimination in other ways. Still, they can live alone if they choose and make their own way.


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

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 326

RE: "A single woman should...

I felt that line captured the feeling society has toward women. Unfortunately, it still is a 'man's world". Progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go.


Posted Apr. 15, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 330

RE: "A single woman should...

This is a brave and fresh statement and quote - for women then as well as now - and Cassie's role in Jane's continual and successful writing as well as the role she plays in preserving the world's knowledge not only of Jane but of her work clearly supports that idea. Surviving comfortably and being accepted in society was not an easy task for the Austen women after their father's death, yet survive they did, thanks much to Cassie's efforts in many ways. It was she who found them clean, spacious, quiet housing in the part of the country they wished to live; it was she who took on roles in the household looking after Mother Austen which allowed Jane to continue her writing, and in the end, it was Cassie - much older and alone now - who fulfilled the task she set for herself above all else: preserving the reputation of the Austen family, and of Jane and her work so that it may be enjoyed well into the future if not forever. Cassie remained active and useful even as she aged, and she attempted to be of help to Isabella and Dinah as well.

Today single women are continually fashioning lives of their own. While those who have written above say it is still a man's world, I believe changes are coming more rapidly and successfully than we may perceive. The number of women who elect to parent alone, those who are venturing into careers that have been traditionally male such as medicine, law, architecture, engineering, and politics, - as well as all of the trades - and the numbers of women who elect not to marry are all examples of progress that women are making in society. It is no longer necessary to marry to be useful, and more than ever single women are proving their capability and usefulness in multiple ways, on diverse fronts.


Posted Apr. 18, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
thereser

Join Date: 01/25/20

Posts: 11

RE: "A single woman should...

This sentence w-s the single most depressing -nd revel-tory st-tement in this book. It summed up the gh-stly predic-ment of women in gener-l, -nd single women especi-lly, following the de-ths of the sole, m-le of course, bre-d-winner. Nowhere in this book is there - c-ll for girls/women to be educ-ted so they could support themselves. There were no pl-ces of employment, or c-reers to which they gould -spire. Rectors' wives were forced to le-ve the Rectories they h-d run -s unp-id help-m-tes of their husb-nds. In -usten's time-fr-me there were no pensions or other me-ns to help these wives -nd their unm-rried d-ughters to survive following the de-ths of husb-nds -nd f-thers. Brothers were gener-lly not disposed to help mothers -nd sisters, p-rticul-rly if their wives were luke-w-rm to this ide-. Th-t - single wom-n might outlive her usefulness condemned her to eventu-l penury -nd poverty. This w-s the single most depressing st-tement in this whole book


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

Join Date: 06/25/13

Posts: 297

RE: "A single woman should...

Single women were at the mercy of not only men, but married women, If the family did not leave them money, they did not have many choices. Mainly, family members used them as unpaid labor. If they did not have this, they did not have many options, Things have come a long way in the last few years. Even when I was young, fifty years ago, women usually did not have enough income to live on their own. We could not get credit cards or a loan to buy a home. Everything was in the husband's name. The employment choices were very limited. Women did not become mechanics, CEO's of companies, truck drivers, etc. We have come a long way, however, there is still a way to go.


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