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The New Woman

The most interesting aspect of the novel was the involvement of women. The middle classes become more prosperous in the 18th century. Women had leisure time to read as well as write novels.

Novels began exploring the world of women. Many novels were about domestic life – a theme which women were able to identify with.

Women drew upon their own experience, wrote about family life and earned public recognition.

Jane Austen, a famous woman novelist, wrote about the 18th century women in rural Britain. Her books portrayed a society which encouraged women to look for ‘good’ marriages and find wealthy or propertied husbands.

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

  • Characters in this novel are preoccupied with marriage and money
  • The novel starts with the line ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.’

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

  • This novel talks about a young girl who is independent and assertive, though in actual fact girls at that time were expected to be quiet and well behaved.
  • Jane, the heroine, at the age of ten, protests against the hypocrisy of her elders with startling bluntness.

Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte


Women novelists not only popularised the domestic role of women, they also dealt with women who broke established norms of society.

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