The Importance of Jane Austen's Letters in Pride and Prejudice
In Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" letters are used to indicate a
change in direction of the plot or to form narrative crisis points.
Jane Austen successfully weaves her letters into the natural narrative
of the dialogue and description. It is suggested that Jane Austen
developed her epistolary mode of writing from many other 18th Century
authors such as Samuel Richardson, whose novels are written completely
in the form of letters.
In the 18th century letters were an important form of communication
for characters such as Jane, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy; who write with
assiduousness and diligence. Through letters these characters convey
their hidden emotions, apprehensions and convictions. This is a great
contrast to characters such as Lydia and Mr. Collins whose letters
reflect their own ludicrous personalities. For example Lydia's letter
to Harriet concerning her elopement with Mr. Wickham confirms previous
convictions of her vulgar, and indiscrete traits.
Although each of the characters write for different motives and with
individual approaches, each letter reflects the personality of their
scribe and contributes to the movement of the narrative, as letters
are followed by action, whether inward or outward, and are thus
pivotal contributions to the plot.
Darcy's letter to Elizabeth is perhaps the most influential letter in
the novel. It is written to Elizabeth during her stay with Mr. and
Mrs. Collins at Hunsford near Rosings Park. Darcy writes this after
his initial proposal, which Elizabeth brutally rebuffs. It explains
his past dealings with Wickham and th...
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The Importance of Letters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice To reveal how useful the letters are in ‘Pride and Prejudice’, we need to look at the history behind letter writing. Jane Austen’s novel, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was written in 1813. The main form of communication then was by letters. However, they did not have a Central Postal system that we have today, where if you want to send a letter or parcel urgently then it could arrive within a few hours, instead they had their mail sent by Mail Coach. Although, you could send the mail by ‘express’, which was where you would pay an extra amount of money to have your mail sent faster, for example
Weldon, Fay. From Letters to Alice: On First Reading Jane Austen. Taplinger Publishing Co. Inc, 1984 in Readings on Jane Austen. Ed. Clarice Swisher.
Throughout the texts we have read in English thus far have been feminist issues. Such issues range from how the author published the book to direct, open statements concerning feminist matters. The different ways to present feminist issues is even directly spoken of in one of the essays we read and discussed. The less obvious of these feminist critiques is found buried within the texts, however, and must be read carefully to understand their full meaning- or to even see them.
“A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of” (Austen). The bluntness of this quote fully encompasses the main theme of an advantageous marriage for the English novelist, Jane Austen. Her realism, biting irony and social commentary have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics (Southam). Austen’s major novels, including Pride and Prejudice, were composed between the years 1795-1815. During those twenty years England was at the height of its power facing many historical landmarks (Thomson). It is no coincidence that Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, coincides directly with the historical events of this time period.
Jane Austen’s career followed novelists such as Ann Radcliffe and Laurence Sterne, at a time when the Gothic and Romance novels were very popular. However, Jane Austen did not look favorably upon these styles, believing them to be harmful to both literature and the reader. In writing her own novels, Austen parodied these genres, but not merely for a humorous effect. She had specific messages that she wanted to get through to her audience, through this method. She wanted to impress upon her reader the value of that which is ordinary, but real, the importance of thinking for oneself, and to make logical judgments of characters.
shown in the lines “But I am willing to hope the best, and that his
Austen. Critical Insights: Jane Austen. 2010: 8-14. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 12 Apr. 2014.
Even after its publication in 1813 Jane’s Austen’s romantic and wonderfully written masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice, remains an absolute joy to read for thousands and thousands of readers across the globe. The 19th century novel enchants the youngest of readers to the wisest of souls. Many individuals all over the world, very much like us as university students here at Villanova, are quite intrigued by the amazingly created characters, impressively dynamic portrayal of an oppressively class-bound culture, and the vitality of a strong woman at the center of the novel. Jane Austen presents the reader with the most tantalizing and illustrious opening sentence, which enamors the reader and never lets go. "It is a truth universally acknowledged,
The Significance of Letters in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Letters play a very important role in 'Pride and Prejudice'. They can link the story because letters provide information which we would not have found out from the dialogue between the characters. We an also find out extra background information which can help with the reader's understanding of characters, the plot and the novel in general. Letters can reveal characters' personalities and how they feel about the other characters in the novel, for example Miss Bingley's feelings about Jane. Letters are used as a dramatic device in 'Pride and Prejudice' to further the plot, link the story and to inform the readers of the character's personalities.
Fergus, Jan. “Biography.” The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen. Ed. Janet Todd.