Portland Place School students pay tribute to Jane Austen in year which marks 200th anniversary of her death

A portrait of Jane Austen

A portrait of Jane Austen - Credit: Archant

Students have paid tribute to pioneering author Jane Austen in the year which marks the 200th anniversary of her death.

Despite her name never being attached to any of the novels which were published during her lifetime, Austen’s place at the top table of literary titans is well and truly secured.

The 19th century scene of courting and horse-drawn carriages may seem fairly alien to our teens, but as we found out, many still hold a place for Mr Darcy firmly in their hearts.

Portland Place student Dahlia Amin said: “With acknowledged wit and intelligence, Austen has become a worldwide admired author – recognised for her ability to constantly succeed in challenging literary boundaries through her novels.

“But why do people love Austen so much? As a personal opinion, it’s down to the construction of Mr Darcy; two centuries later, and we are all still in love with him.

“At the heart of Pride and Prejudice is not a fairy tale love at first sight, but actually a realistic story about two people who fall in love, no matter how much they don’t want to.

“Romantic, yet the struggle is real – Austen has successfully created such a special and complex relationship that presents to readers that nothing will ever be perfect in life.”

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Our Lady’s Convent High School student Ameerah Amushan said: “Jane Austen is a pioneering woman who managed to stand out in a fiercely male dominated world.

“She wasn’t afraid to touch on subjects that many were hesitant to talk about, and wrote with irony and wit that touched her readers.

“She managed to connect with all her readers, no matter who they were, even if they were young or old. Although her words may be hard to decipher at first, when you do make sense of them you realise there are hidden meanings in her cleverly put together words. Jane Austen is simply amazing.”

Portland Place student Isabella Weintraub, 17, said: “You give your opinion very decidedly for so young a person’, remarks Lady Catherine De Bourgh to Elizabeth Bennett, and this in itself sums up why I am so fond of Jane Austen and her work.

“Austen’s carefully crafted comments on the social class during the Georgian period, construct rebellious female protagonists that we can recognise in ourselves, yet also find shocking. Elizabeth, Austen’s protagonist in Pride and Prejudice oozes resilience and fortitude and I often like to think that the author was just as headstrong and outspoken.

“Whether it be the comical conflict within the family or the love, hate relationships between characters such as Elizabeth and Darcy, they are all scenarios that a modern reader continues to face and can subsequently understand.

“The mere fact Austen puts female issues at the centre of her plots as well as gives these women a defiant streak and a voice, in a restrictive society to their gender, excites me. In short, Austen to me is inspiring, witty and insightful and this is what makes her novels so successful.”