Essay on Surrogate Mothers in Jane Austen

2124 Words 9 Pages
Surrogate Mothers in Jane Austen

Jane Austen created families of varying levels of dysfunction so effectively, that even young readers of today can relate to the story. In some, the mother was either deceased, not present, or just not the right person for the daughter to rely on. For example, Fanny, Emma, Elizabeth and Elinor all struggle because the very people who are supposed to be looking out for them prove to be completely unhelpful. These heroines may not be able to rely on their actual Mother (or Father) but there often are parental figures that they can turn to.

The mother in Pride and Prejudice is sympathetic, but silly, eccentric and irresponsible. Mr. Bennett is contemptuous to his wife and younger daughters; except for
…show more content…
Dixon and her deliberately cruel remark to Miss Bates at the picnic would indicate. Both her father and Mrs. Weston have over indulged her. Mrs. Weston (nee Miss Taylor) is Emma’s governess who has basically become a surrogate mother to Emma after the loss of Mrs. Woodhouse. After Emma’s older sister, Isabella, was married and moved to London, Mrs. Weston and Emma became best friends.

Mrs. Weston has a loving heart and is a real friend to Emma and understands that sometimes Emma did not always listen, but she truly believes Emma has a good heart. Mrs. Weston has more involvement than that of a normal governess and stays on with the Woodhouse family long after Emma no longer needs a governess. Emma’s interferences are well-meaning, but extremely misguided. Mrs. Weston has done as well as she could with Emma, considering what kind of father she has. Mrs. Weston's role has been as a friend and companion to Emma and she is the one to whom Emma can tell anything. Even though she gets married and leaves, Mrs. Weston is still involved in Emma's life.

At the beginning of Emma, Austen writes that "she loved her father, but he was no companion to her. He could not meet her in conversation, rational or playful". He is much older than she is, and practically an invalid. He is "a nervous man, easily depressed...hating change of

Related Documents