Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Comments

Submitted to the College of Graduate Studies Bridgewater State University Bridgewater, Massachusetts in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in English

Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts in English


This thesis will explore Jane Austen’s social commentary on class structure and boundaries as they evolved from her writing of Sense and Sensibility to Persuasion. By identifying and researching the philosophical concepts of sense, sensibility, and sympathy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, I examine how Austen shifted her beliefs to reflect the changes in social class occurring in England during her lifetime. I will be conducting close readings of the two novels, along with various historical texts, diary entries, and letters from the time period in question in order to recognize how historical events influenced the social structure in Regency England and how those changes were received by the gentry. By looking at how Austen’s characters react to, reflect on, and work around these boundaries, I recover a better understanding of Regency England society’s feelings and response to these changes as well.


Dr. Halina Adams, PhD

Dr. Elizabeth Veisz, PhD

Dr. Kathleen Vejvoda, PhD