Jane Austen Epistolary Analysis

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Jane Austen masters the use of epistolary in her novel Pride and Prejudice, to add more layers and understanding to her piece, and to quickly put forth a message rather than prolong the plot. Austen uses letters as a dramatic device to add effectiveness to the novel and to continue to unravel the plot. Letters reveal an intimate perspective of a character 's thoughts without any intrusion from another character, and it aids in the revelation of character. Specifically, the letters in Pride and Prejudice allow Austen to communicate important information that would take longer to write as a narrative. Elizabeth’s letter to her aunt, Mrs. Gardiner, and Jane’s letter to Elizabeth about Lydia both are exemplary to discuss how Austen’s use of epistolary…show more content…
“I am now convinced, my dear aunt, that I have never been much in love; for had I really experienced that pure and elevating passion, I should at present detest his very name, and wish him all manner of evil. But my feelings are not only cordial towards him; they are even impartial towards Miss King. I cannot find out that I hate her at all, or that I am in the least unwilling to think her a very good sort of girl” (Chapter 26, page 89). Elizabeth described to her aunt that Mr. Wickham’s fondness for her had abated and transferred to another woman named Miss. King, who had recently acquired 10,000 pounds. Elizabeth still felt fine towards Mr. Wickham though he clearly was a gold digger; she concluded that she must not have been in love with him in the first place because her emotions towards him were still warm hearted. The tone in which Elizabeth’s letter is…show more content…
and Mrs. Gardiner, she received two letters from her older sister Jane, regarding her youngest sister Lydia and a surprise. The first letter states: “Since writing the above, dearest Lizzy, something has occurred of a most unexpected and serious nature; but I am afraid of alarming you—be assured that we are well. What I have to say relates to poor Lydia. An express came at twelve last night, just as we were all gone to bed, from Colonel Foster, to inform us that she was gone off to Scotland with one of his officers; to own the truth, with Wickham” (Chapter 46, page 157)! This letter about Lydia’s elopement with Wickham shocked Elizabeth, and the whole family was thrown into turmoil. Jane wrote this letter in such a frantic way she stated at the end that she hardly knew what she had written. Her tone was commiserating, because she felt dreadful for bringing about this news while Elizabeth was out of town. This letter gives us an insight of Lydia’s frivolous character, as well as Jane’s compassionate personality. Through all the turmoil that Lydia put the family through, Jane still took the time to keep Elizabeth informed and included in the family business while she was away. Jane’s letter is very ironic considering how Mr. Wickham is viewed as a gold digger earlier in the novel, and then suddenly he is eloping with Lydia. It is known that the Bennet family has no money to offer, so Wickham’s intentions were questionable
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