Comic Resolution, Humorous Loose Ends in Austen's Novels


Author/Creator ORCID





Citation of Original Publication

Burns, Margie. "Comic Resolution, Humorous Loose Ends in Austen’s Novels." Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal no 33 (2011).


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Jane Austen's masterful control of tone camouflages the situation of the fictional characters at the end of her novels. At the end of Sense and Sensibility, Marianne Dashwood may share responsibility for her new husband's late lover's daughter and the daughter's own infant, born out of wedlock. At the end of Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland will become a sister-in-law to Captain Frederick Tilney, whom she has criticized. At the end of Mansfield Park, Fanny Price will become sister-in-law to both the Bertram sisters, including Maria Bertram. At the end of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet becomes a sister-in-law to the Bingley sisters and a cousin by marriage of Lady Catherine's daughter, who was supposed to marry Darcy herself. And in Persuasion, Anne Elliott may be replaced at Kellynch Hall by Mrs. Clay. Yet anomalies in the endings are hardly allowed to interfere with their comic resolution.