Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Carson, James P.
Addressing the lack of critical literature examining the nature of walks in Jane Austen's fiction, this thesis examines the different ways Austen uses walking to highlight the themes of her novels. In Austen's work, to walk is typically to engage in freedom of thought, to make moral assessments, and to create individual relationships. I divide this thesis into two chapters: the first analyzing the Steventon novels, the second analyzing the Chawton novels. Each chapter is divided into three sections. The first section examines Marianne's progression from her romantic, self-indulgent walks to walks made with and for company in Sense and Sensibility. The second section analyzes the various reasons why characters walk, moving from separate, selfish walks to more inclusive, public walks in Pride and Prejudice. The third section of this chapter traces Catherine Morland's education as she learns to discriminate between riding in a carriage and walking in Northanger Abbey. I examine Austen's use of walking as a way of portraying characters' mental states in the last three novels. The first section of the second chapter explores Austen's moralization of the landscape around Sotherton in Mansfield Park and introduces the first heroine whose stillness reflects her moral superiority. The second section addresses the ways in which Emma Woodhouse's walks reveal her moral education in Emma. The final section follows Anne Elliot's consciousness in Persuasion, which responds both intellectually and emotionally to nature as she walks.
Robinson, Patricia, "Walking through Austen" (2009). Honors Theses. 17.