The power of Jane Austen

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During the fall of 2016, I made a very foolish choice. As a senior in college with very few credits left, I looked through my list of available class options. I needed one more upper credit course in my major. It was at last time for me to choose my final English course.

My degree was in English writing; this unique path diverted from the typical literature tract—many of my classes focused on specific writing practices, like research and technical and business and fiction writing. While I took several rhetoric courses, I never once had to enlist in a lit class.

I’m not sure why I decided to choose an entire 4,000-level class dedicated to Jane Austen, when I’d never once read any of her novels. Nor previously taken a college-level literature course. It was, frankly speaking, not a smart decision. And yet, it was somehow one of the best decisions I made.

It Was Hard

On my first day of Jane Austen, I walked into the basement of a campus church to a lamp-lit room lined with books, with a round table in the center. This was our classroom. If I wasn’t scared then, my fear became palpable when my professor asked us all to talk about our favorite Jane Austen one-liners.

I’ve never felt so ill-equipped in my life.

However, throughout the course of the semester and over the span of all Jane’s works, I transitioned into a better-read version of myself. I think I’m even more empowered as a woman. I pushed myself week-to-week, and I’m happy to say that I earned an A from one of the toughest and hardest graders in the English department at CU Denver.

For the sake of diversity, continue reading on page two if you’d like to read my final academic paper, comparing two Jane Austen classics, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion.

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