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Research Proposal: Research Methodology Title: Marriage and Societies Expectations in the Novels of Jane Austen.

Abstract: The following research proposal will discuss how I plan to write my thesis on the novels of Jane Austen. As the title suggests, I will be focusing on marriage and societies expectations throughout the eighteenth century in Britain, which is a reoccurring theme in Austens seven novels. I want to know what kind of world Austen grew up in, and how it influenced the way she wrote. A social influence on marriage and order and class systems is a prevalent issue in the novels, and one I want to investigate further. Having researched primary and secondary literature to a great degree to aid me in this study, I am of the opinion that I have gathered enough information to base my thesis on. Using quantitative research methods, I will contrast and compare primarily two of Austens novels. I will gather quotes, key scenes and passages that reflect my thesis title. By using a website that is a primary source, it will further facilitate my investigation.

Introduction: Throughout the Eighteenth century in Britain, there was a substantial change in politics, culture and society. For my thesis, I will focus mainly on the gradual change in attitude towards women and marriage and also societys expectations of women in the novels of Jane Austen. I will analyse the prevalent companionate marriage in the Eighteenth century, I will focus on the consequences this had for women in society. I chose the works of Jane Austen as she mainly wrote about themes dealing with marriage, love and societal constraints. I will, primarily be analysing Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice and also, Emma. I will, however, be referring to Sense and Sensibility.

Research Questions and Conceptual Framework: The world in which Jane Austen lived. Personal context, what influenced Jane Austen to write what she did? Societal influences on marriage. Social order and class systems.

The Literature: Primary Literature: The website I will be working closely with is: http://www.mollands.net/index.html. It is a huge database of information containing blogs, e-texts of Jane Austens novel and also links in relation to other websites about Jane Austen. Austen, Jane. Emma. New York: Dover Publications, 1999. This will provide me essential information to guide me through my thesis. I will analyse the book and focus on themes referring to marriage and societal constraints. Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. London: Wordsworth Editions, 1993. As aforementioned, this book will provide vital information in relation to the themes of marriage and social constraints. I will further be able to gain an insight into the lives of women in The Regency Era, their family expectations and also, what society expects of them. Stone, Lawrence. The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500-1800. London: Penguin Books, 1990. This book is a vital piece of primary literature that will aid me in my research. It will provide me with essential information that will allow me to gain an insight into life in Britain throughout the Regency Era, and what shaped society into what it was.

Secondary Literature: Bailey, John. Introductions to Jane Austen. London: Oxford University Press, 1931. As this book is an introduction to Jane Austen, it will provide me with vital information. Heath, William [ed.]. Discussions of Jane Austen. Boston: D. C. Heath and Company, 1961. This work will provide me with important details on the life and times of Jane Austen, giving me an insight into her personal life and also the societal beliefs at the time. Laski, Marganita. Jane Austen and her world. London: Thames and Hudson, 1969. Having read this book, I know it will help me a great deal in undertaking this thesis. It has ample amount of information in relation to society, politics and culture in Britian throughout the eighteenth century that will assist in analysing society at the time. Lerner, Laurence. Jane Austen: Emma. Notes on Literature, No 108. London: The British Council, July 1970. This book will provide information and notes on Emma, one of the key texts that will form my thesis. Murray, John. Note on Emma. Emma. New York: Dover Publications, 1999. This book will provide information and notes on Emma, one of the key texts that will form my thesis. Southam, Brian. Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice. Notes on Literature, No 158. London: The British Council, 1976. As with the two aforementioned books, this book will aid me in gathering information on Pride and Prejudice, one of my key texts to analyse. Sussman, Marvin B. Sourcebook in Marriage and Family. Boston: Houghton Miffin, 1968. This book will be vital to my thesis in terms of collecting information about marriage and family expectations throughout the eighteenth century. It will put into context the social, political, and cultural climate at the time.

Research Methods: For my thesis, my research methods will primarily consist of interpreting and comparing/contrasting primary sources. In addition, I will also use biographical and historical material, to further analyse and establish the social and political climate in which Jane Austen wrote her novels. Furthermore, I will reinforce my finding with a substantial number of critical essays on Jane Austen, which deal in particular with the subject of marriage and social constraints throughout the Eighteenth century. In addition, I will also be using qualitative methods in approaching my research, as I will be compiling essential information from historical documents and journals. I will also be compiling information when examining Austens novels, as I will be shifting through the novels for relevant quotes, passages and incidents that will relate to my thesis title and also to my research questions. I have created a Microsoft Spreadsheet, and under the titles of marriage and society I will insert important page numbers and quotes. This is an important process for me as I will be analysing three books and information can become lost in transition. It will also ensure that I become organised in my research methods.

Limitations: A major limitation of this thesis is the need to restrict the number of novels written by Jane Austen for this thesis investigation. There are many more novels that I could have included for this thesis, but if I do include them, I may lose focus and clarity throughout my thesis. Although I could not include all the works of Jane Austen, I have decided to focus more on Jane Austen herself, and what influenced her to write the same themes throughout her novels. This is clearly reflected in my research questions.