Narrative Perspecitve and Voice in Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice and George Elliot's Middlemarch

Narrative Perspecitve and Voice in Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice and George Elliot's Middlemarch

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Narrative perspective and voice is a major aspect of a novella as Jeremy Hawthorn suggests in Studying the Novel, “[s]ource and medium affect the selection, the authority and the attitude towards what is recounted of the narrative” The narrative perspective can be used to shape or in some cases mis-shape the story. Looking at both Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and George Eliot’s Middlemarch, the narrators of these novellas hold a quality of influence over the reader. Through comparing and contrasting how the two different authors have used the narrative perspective to develop their novels, through voice, linguistic register, free indirect discourse and narrative distance in respect to the intimacy of the information shared with the reader.

Looking at both Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and George Eliot’s Middlemarch, the point of view otherwise known as perspective and voice, do contrast one another. Perspective and voice are defined by Hawthorn, as the views of the characters and events in the novella are relatable by human experience, which in turn makes the novella more realistic . Pride and Prejudice can be seen in this light as the narrator explains events as the plot unfolds. In this line of thinking the voice can be interrupted as third person semi-omniscient, but the perspective is mainly Elizabeth Bennett. The use of a semi-omniscient voice works well as information is not so readily disclosed to the reader. Within Middlemarch the voice would be third-person omniscient as the narrator knows all and discloses this information, but the perspective would predominantly be Dorothea, Lydgate and the narrative. Through the narrative, the reader discovers information before the other characters within the novella. As Ha...


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...res that make these books continue to live on for centuries. Due to the constraints of the essay not all aspects of the narrative perspective could be discussed and the role they play with the novellas.



Works Cited

• Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice (Ware: Wordsworth Classics, 1993)

• Eagleton, T The English Novel (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005)

• Eliot, G Middlemarch (Ware: Wardworth Classics, 1994)

• Hawthorn, J, Studying the Novel (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2010)

• Morris, P Realism (Oxon: Routledge, 2003)

• Newton, K.M. ‘Narration in Middlemarch Revisited’ in George Eliot Review, 42 (2011), p. 19-25,6 [accessed 1 April 2014]

• Southam, B. C, ‘Jane Austen’, in The English Novel, ed. by A. E. Dyson (London: Oxford university Press, 1974)

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