Received: 11th April 2024 Revised: 2nd May 2024, 28th May 2024, 29th May 2024, 31st May 2024 Accepted: 11th April 2024


  • Hana Djelloul Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland



Basic Anxiety, Childhood Experiences, Coping Strategies, Psychological Conflict, Parenting Influence, Character Development


This paper delves into the inner conflict of Elizabeth Bennet and Emma, the heroines of Jane Austen’s Prejudice and Prejudice and Emma. The study uses Karen Horney’s psychoanalytic social theory of basic anxiety that emphasizes the influence of childhood experiences and the impact of socialization on an individual’s psychological development. It examines certain instances in the heroines’ early experiences that shape their adult identity and self-knowledge. The analysis reveals that those heroines are highly influenced by their parents or chaperones, who themselves may suffer from neurotic struggles that hinder their ability to properly provide care and support for their children. Therefore, an analysis of those parents and chaperones is provided to see to what extent their psychological conflicts preoccupy their behavior towards the heroines.


Anderson, K. (2000). Fathers and Lovers: The Gender Dynamics of Relational Influence in Emma. Persuasions, 1.

Austen, J. (2005). Emma (R. Cronin & D. McMillan, Eds.). Cambridge University Press.

Austen, J. (2006). Pride and prejudice (P. Rogers, Ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Bolger, E. (2017). The Rewards of Impertinence: Happy and Unhappy Endings in Jane Austen’s Novels. English Honors Papers.

Butler, M. (1975). Jane Austen and the War of Ideas. Oxford University Press.

Horney, K. (1945). Our Inner Conflicts: A constructive Theory of Neurosis. W. W. Norton & Co., Inc.

Horney, K. (1950). Neurosis and Human Growth: The struggle Toward Self-realization. Norton.

Jones, H. (2009). Jane Austen and Marriage. Continuum.

Mudrick, M. (1974). Jane Austen: Irony as Defense and Discovery. University of California Press.

Lee, N. (2000). The participation of fathers in Jane Austen’s novels. University of Michigan. Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States.

Paris, B. J. (1997). Imagined Human Beings: A Psychological Approach to Character and Conflict in Literature. NYU Press.

Paris, B. J. (2006). Character and Conflict in Jane Austen’s novels: A Psychological Approach (1st ed.). Routledge.

Poovey, M. (1985). The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen. University of Chicago Press.,%20M.%20(1985).%20The%20Proper%20Lady%20and%20the%20Woman%20Writer:%20Ideology%20as%20Style%20in%20the%20Works%20of%20Mary%20Wollstonecraft,%20Mary%20Shelley,%20and%20Jane%20Austen.%20University%20of%20Chicago%20Press.&f=false

Shokri, S., Bahar, I. B., & Noor, R. (2016). Levi’s Basic Anxiety, Conflict and The Search for Glory in Zadie Smith's ‘On Beauty’. Pertanika Journal.

Sturroc k, J. (2013). Jane Austen’s Families. Anthem Press.




How to Cite

Hana Djelloul. (2024). BASIC ANXIETY IN JANE AUSTEN’S PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND EMMA: Received: 11th April 2024 Revised: 2nd May 2024, 28th May 2024, 29th May 2024, 31st May 2024 Accepted: 11th April 2024. PEOPLE: International Journal of Social Sciences, 10(2), 49–59.