By: Clare Mankin
Book reports- we’ve all had to do them at least once in our lives. They’re one of many contributing factors to final grades, and are among one of the least favorite things students enjoy completing.
Earlier this year, I found myself in this very predicament that most, if not all, despise- writing a book report for my philosophy class. It was a major percentage of my final grade, and I had no idea what to write about.
The assignment given was simple, find a book that pertains to certain philosophical and/or ethical ideals. Easy, right?
Instead of trying to find a philosophical book written about a certain religion or lifestyle, I tried to find a book that would be considered outside the box for this assignment.
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen was what I had decided on and found the outcome of the assignment very enlightening in both ethical and moral stances.
Austen originally wrote “Pride and Prejudice” almost 222 years ago in 1797. The time period alone would initially cause a reader to think women held no real education or knowledge of the world, and therefore, couldn’t write a book with philosophical ideals.
Austen, however, defied this notion and relayed her message with surprising eloquence and modern-day thinking. Through her strategic, humorous, and dramatic styles of writing, Austen was able to mock societal prejudices while also revealing the true meaning behind a person’s pride.
Driven in her belief of human virtues, mainly those of happiness and self-worth, Austen is able to both educate and deplete any forethought of ignorance in 17th century society.
For a woman to speak out about her own personal views on the aristocracy of fine society was a form of taboo and very insulting. It was also unheard of.
Austen’s ideals were a foreign concept during her time. However, today she is seen as an active opposition to the oppression and degradation of women.
If this book report were not assigned and if I hadn’t thought out of the box when it came to choosing my reading material, I would have never come to these conclusions.
I had always thought of classic romance novels to either be cliché or degrading towards the female sex, but this assignment has shown me that, even during a time period such as Jane Austen’s, traditional thinking and the oppression of women held no weight over speaking out about societal morals and ethics,
Book reports are important and even though you may not like them, you can learn a lot and form perspectives you might not have originally had. So, the next time you’re told you have to complete a book report for a grade, keep an open mind and try and see what you can actually learn from it.