After reading Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both authored by Jane Austen, I can clearly understand why these novels are considered classics. Both novels deal with themes that will always be relevant to the modern world and will always be relatable to the reader.
The major theme addressed by Jane Austen in both novels was social standing/class distinction. In Northanger Abbey, the main character Catherine, falls in love with Henry Tilney, however; Henry’s father forbids them from marrying because Catherine does not meet the Tileny’s social standing. The Tilney family is much wealthier than Catherine’s family, and a marriage between Catherine and Henry would be a disgrace to the Tilney family name. In Persuasion, a similar situation occurs. The main character Anne Elliot falls in love with Frederick Wentworth. The couple plans on wedding, but Anne’s father disapproves of the marriage. Anne’s family is much wealthier than Frederick’s family, and just like in Northanger Abbey, a marriage between Anne andFrederick would be a disgrace to the Elliot family name.
Even though both novels were written years ago, the theme of social standing/class distinction is still relevant in today’s society. Recently, the engagement announcement of Prince William and Kate Middleton caused a media uproar. Kate was a commoner, a lifestyle that was far from the lifestyle of a royal subject. It had been the first time ever that someone from the royal family had married outside of the royal social standing. The media often criticized Kate for being a commoner, and the fact that she could not maintain a steady job. Despite all this criticism, Kate focused on her relationship, as opposed to her social standing or media criticism, and eventually happily married Prince William, with the public’s happy consent. Kate proved to the world, that social structure can be overthrown. Her love for Prince William and self-determination, not only allowed her to achieve her personal happiness, but convinced the world to embrace her, not her social class!