Letters in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Essay

Letters in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Essay

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Letters in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice


Pride and Prejudice is one of the great love stories of our time. Its
continued popularity shows that its essential story can still be
adapted to modern day life. Set in the 1800s, it tells the love story
of two people who gradually learn to understand each other and
themselves.

In the time that the novel is set, modern means of communication, for
example telephones and computers were not yet invented. The most
effective way of corresponding, especially over long distances, were
letters. In this period, when people met in formal circumstances, for
instance at a ball, where they were in company and never alone, they
could not express their inner thoughts. Letters provided a
confidential way to do this. This is also true to the novel; where
Jane Austen carefully composes the letters. There is more care and
attention paid to their structure and content; as letters are they are
a permanent record of thoughts that can be revisited and re-read, were
carefully crafted to provide the exact meaning of each letter. The
letters used in Pride and Prejudice shows us a glimpse of a
character’s personality and their viewpoint. They are a key feature of
conveying a new character and developing the plot. It is not an
accident that over forty letters or letter extracts are used in Pride
and Prejudice. They are an effective means of illuminating characters
where dwelling on individual reflections is not a style used much by
the author. Also we gain an insight into the recipient of the letter
through their response.

One of the first letters used in Pride and Prejudice to introduce a
new character is Mr Collins’ letter. This letter gives us our first
opportunity to assess ...


... middle of paper ...


...tures
Lydia Bennet’s character.

In this essay I have shown three examples of letters. In each of these
letters we have seen how they have introduced, changed perceptions and
shown us in depth a character. Letters are an integral part of the
novel; they are threaded through the story to add variety, drama and
develop character detail. Without letters it would be hard to move
plot on and pick up the pace of the novel. They are used as a means of
providing drama to the novel. They often reveal dramatic detail and
provide an impression of news being discovered immediately. Letters
offer a useful structural device to add variety to how the plot is
revealed. This in turn shows the variety and imagination of Austen’s
style. They also are entertaining additions to the novel on their own,
often giving engaging or moving insights into character and
situation.

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