Beneath the surface: psychological perception in Jane Austen's narration.




Werley, Erin D.

Access rights

Worldwide access.
Access changed 1/25/16.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis argues that Jane Austen’s novels are more psychologically sophisticated than they have been given credit for and that the psychological depth of her heroines is revealed by Austen’s unique narration. First, I examine episodes in which the characters exhibit behavior that evinces psychological realism. As a basis of comparison, I juxtapose Erik Erikson’s theories of psychosocial developmental stages as evidence of Austen’s intuitive understanding of human behavior. Next, I examine the narratological means by which Austen reveals her characters’ psychological realism. I investigate Austen’s use of subjective phrases and pragmatic signals to reveal the narrator’s presence and her employment of free indirect discourse to reveal her heroines’ psyches.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 92-95).


Austen, Jane, 1775-1817 -- Knowledge of -- Psychology., Psychology in literature., Narration (Rhetoric) -- History -- 19th century., Austen, Jane, 1775-1817 -- Technique.