Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Raymond, Richard

Committee Member

Claggett, Shalyn

Committee Member

De Gabriele, Peter

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


The purpose of this study is to demonstrate Jane Austen’s illumination of Samuel Johnson’s moral precepts in seeking harmony in choice of life. Austen explores the various decisions of her characters and the effects of those choices on happiness through the use of free indirect discourse. Austen and Johnson both contend that marriage is a potential source of great happiness in an individual’s choice of life, and concordia discors between spouses offers the highest form of contentment in marriage. Johnson believed that the novelist had a moral duty to his or her reader to present characters with attainable virtue. Austen’s illumination of Johnson’s moral precepts and philosophies fulfills the standards Johnson set forth for the novel genre. This study traces the relationship between Johnson’s precepts in Austen’s Emma, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility.