Sometimes I wonder why women still connect with these books so strongly after 200 years. I mean, we can vote, own our own property, have jobs, and (GASP) not marry without serious social and economic repercussions. I think a lot of it has to do with her amazing characterizations of character types we still can recognize today... (I'm looking at you, Mr. Collins)
She is also amazing at setting up situations that, while tied to their historic milieu, still emotionally resonate with readers today...
But more than anything, I think it is Austen's combination of the grim economic realities for women of her time period with an eternal optimism that they can be overcome to the satisfaction of her heroines that keep us coming back for more. Don't we all want to believe that we'll find a man to keep us out of the poor house who we actually really like? I know I do.
Happy birthday, P&P! Keep us believing in the dream!
Why do you like Jane Austen? If you don't, why do you think others do?