Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice Film Critical Analysis Essay
Pride and Prejudice, directed by Joe Wright, is a 2005 movie adapted from Jane Austen’s classic tale bearing the same name. The movie, rated PG for some mild thematic elements, was produced by a British film production company called Working Title Films and written by Deborah Moggach. It has a running time of one hundred and twenty-eight minutes.
The romantic film was released in September 2005 in the United Kingdom and two months later in the United States. Some of the main characters in the film include Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Bennet), Mathew Macfadyen (Mr. Darcy), Talulah Riley (Mary Bennet), and Brenda Blethyn (Mrs. Bennet). Although the film version is short, it is persuasive, witty, powerful, and entertaining that makes it to be far superior to the novel.
The movie illustrates the lives of the Bennet sisters. They consist of five young women who are looking for suitable husbands. Their overbearing mother aids them in this process. However, the father seems to be unaware of the unfolding drama. Elizabeth, the second of the five sisters, prevails in the movie. The main plot of the story depicts the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy who is the affluent owner of the pompous family estate of Permberley in Derbyshire (Austen, 2009).
As the movie begins, they seem not to be attracted to one another. However, as the story continues, circumstances compel them to scrutinize their hearts and their notions about one another, so as to dig out the truth about their lives. In addition, there is also a parallel love story between Elizabeth’s older sister, Jane (Rosamund Pike) and the amiable Mr. Charles Bingley (Simon Woods).
The story as well follows the rejection of marriage proposal made to Elizabeth by a detestable emotional clergyman known as Mr. William Collins (Tom Hollander). The underground illicit activities of the open and bighearted Mr. George Wickham (Rupert Friend) are also revealed.
The Bennets are anticipating the coming of Mr. Bingley, an affluent bachelor who recently moved to a house in their neighborhood. Mrs. Bennett is busy strategizing on how to let one of her daughters to get married to this rich neighbor, without his knowledge. Jane and Mr. Bingley seem to be attracted to each other.
However, Elizabeth seems to take an immediate dislike to Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley’s reserved friend. Mr. Darcy is the kind of a person who does not like to relate to people who are not of his status in the society. And since the Bennets were not very rich, Darcy coldly rebuffed Jane’s attempts to talk to him. Thereafter, Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy unexpectedly return to London leaving the Bennet family astonished at what happened of the love between Bingley and Jane (Moler, 1989).
Since Mr. Bennet does not have a son, Mr. Collins, the cousin of the five sisters, is the probable heir to the family’s estate because of his close kinship to the family. When Elizabeth refuses her proposal, her father welcomes the idea but her mother does not.
Collins ends up marrying Charlotte Lucas (Claudie Blakley), who is a good friend to Elizabeth. Charlotte married him to gain financial security. In the midst of the journeys between London and Derbyshire, the viewers are introduced to the influence of Mr. Wickham, an old friend of Darcy from childhood.
Superficially charming, he convincingly talked to Elizabeth concerning several distorted tales about Darcy. From here on, things start to take a drastic turn. Viewers witness the fall and rise of Mr. Darcy. The fall of the Bennet family is also depicted when Lydia Bennet (Jena Malone), the youngest in the family, elopes with Mr. Wickham. However, it seems that this marriage is not founded in love. As the story ends, despite the difficulties, Jane and Mr. Bingley are engaged. In addition, Elizabeth accepts Darcy’s second proposal.
Many changes are often done to literary works when they are adapted into a movie (Geraghty, 2008). Pride & Prejudice is no exception as a number of notable changes from the original novel are evident throughout the movie. To begin with, the movie was compressed into one hundred and twenty-eight minutes that significantly reduced the time for several major sequences. For example, Elizabeth’s visit to several places such as the Rosings Park and Pemberley were not adequately covered.
The filmmakers also did not include several supporting characters. Some of them are Louisa Hurst, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips, and a number of friends of the Bennett family. Numerous sections whereby the characters talk about experiences, which had already taken place, are also emitted in the film version. For instance, the chapter describing Elizabeth’s change of perspective after receiving the love letter from Darcy. This may be the only weakness in the movie.
Any person who has read Austen knows that possibly her greatest strength rests in her use of supporting characters and detailed explanations of events. Abbreviating some sections fails to convey this richness in her writing. In as much as there is a lot of sacrifice in adapting the book into a two-hour film, the pacing issue in the film makes some scenes to suddenly rush forward and fail to depict Austen’s intentions in writing the novel.
Wright and his screenwriter, Moggach, modified numerous scenes to more loving environment than the ones in the novel, for example, in the movie, Darcy first gives his proposal outside in a rainstorm near a beautiful lake, while in the novel, this scene occurs inside a church house.
In the movie, in another attempt to engage Elizabeth, Darcy proposes to her on the misty moors in the early morning, while in the novel, the scene takes place when both of them are strolling down a country lane during the day. In the United States version of the movie, the last scene depicts the newly married Darcys having a good time outside their home in Pemberley. However, this additional final scene is absent in the book.
This romantic ending received a hostile reception in the United Kingdom; therefore, it was secluded for the country and international audience. The UK film version culminates with Mr. Bennet giving Elizabeth and Darcy his blessings on their relationship. This circumvents the last chapter in the book. The book ends by summing up the lives of the main characters in the story over the next numerous years.
The tone of the movie differs from that of the novel. As the movie starts, the director and the screenwriter fail to include the author’s well-known, cunningly satirical, aphoristic opening line. This instant shift in tone continues all through the whole movie. The filmmakers placed more emphasis on romance. However, the author of the novel intended to portray the morals and the mores of a marriage relationship.
As pointed out above, several important scenes are shifted from the drawing room to the countryside. This complements and strengthens the teeming passions of the characters. Perhaps, the secret weapon for the movie’s success lies in its romantic aspect. On the other hand, Austen did not portray this in the novel. The cinematographer, Roman Osin, also did a good job in capturing the film’s skillfully designed surface. The old saying ‘beauty is only skin deep’ depicts the outstanding cinematography in the film.
As the director made full use of the spectacular scenery of England’s countryside, the cinematographer did his best in bringing the correct mood to every shot, whether it is warm, broad daylight, chill, or spring morning. The filmmakers used attractive scenes in order to allow the moviegoer to lose himself or herself in his or her engagement with the film’s captivating performers. The making of such an elegant and captivating world is likely to charm many viewers.
Credit goes to the director of the film for casting performers closer in age than the ones in the novel. However, there are some weaknesses in the characters in the film. Although the actors are handsome and talented, in some places, they fall short of hooking up with the audience.
Austen’s classic novel has an emotional pull that the movie fails to portray to the audience. Some parts are too cold and distant. It is as if the characters were deriving their cue from the brooding personality of Darcy. The movie’s older generation of actors achieved a higher caliber of performances.
Donald Sutherland, Dame Judi Dench and Brenda Blethyn headlined these veteran actors in providing the film’s best moments. Brenda Blethyn understands the significance of the quandary facing his family, but simultaneously he only wants his children to get the best husbands. The hen-pecked, world-weary Sutherland prevails in each scene he is in with his laconic dry sense of humor. This contrasts Blethyn’s restless, one-track minded display of character.
On the hand, the younger group, did not portray an engaging performance as did their more senior counterparts. For example, Austen portrays Darcy to be unapproachable; however, in the film, Macfadyen treats him so unfriendly that he fails to give an engaging performance.
Darcy is less engaged in the activities that are taking place such that Elizabeth’s attraction to him is difficult to explain. The Bennet sisters are not convincing as siblings since none of them looks alike with the other and their interactions with one another fail to sell the bond of sisterhood. Elizabeth seems to be the only one who is full of life.
The supposed relationship between Jane and Bingley seems to be existing in the films so as to maintain the same running joke. The relationship is underplayed and it lacks chemistry. It is difficult for someone to believe that the two are in love, except by closely scrutinizing the characters as the story develops.
The incarnation of Pride and Prejudice makes it to be occasional anachronistic. For example, there are moments when the performers portray very modern habits that are different from the time it is set. A number of the women characters are especially liable to instances of defiance and vivacity. This is a common behavior of women in our own age than of people in the early nineteenth century.
However, the filmmakers intended to make the performers to be more approachable to the viewers of this age with these mannerisms. Besides the weaknesses that exist in the film, it is very intriguing. In addition to its great story outline, the five star characters did an excellent job. The soundtrack as well as the costumes used portrays the setting of the 1813 classic by Austen. The film is best suited for persons aged sixteen and above, especially those who adore stories concerning love, disloyalty, guilt, and desire.
The adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is a demonstrative confirmation against any protests to the perpetual significance of Austen’s beloved classic of behavior, relationship, and riches. The movie opens up and unfurls Austen’s tightly drawn work of literature. In this manner, the actors are able to breathe and move about. This could not have been possible in a slavish version. One feels to be alive in the movie as there is a pulsating vitality, which is usually so distinct that it diverts from the story.
However, this diversion is not detrimental to the story. Yes, it is evident that several changes have been made from the original text. Some subplots have been grouped together, significant exchanges taken to unusual locales, new scenes incorporated and others taken away completely. The filmmakers also changed the overall thematic emphasis of the story. However, the movie is persuasive, witty, powerful, and entertaining that makes it to be far superior to the novel.
Austen, J., 2009. Pride and prejudice. New York: Feather Trail Press.
Geraghty, C., 2008. Now a major motion picture : film adaptations of literature and drama. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield.
Moler, K. L., 1989. Pride and prejudice : a study in artistic economy. Boston: Twayne Publishers.
Importance of Letters in “Pride and Prejudice” Critical Essay
This essay focuses on the importance of letters in “Pride and Prejudice,” the most well-known novel by Jane Austen. The analysis aims to demonstrate their role, function, and significance as the literary technique used to reveal the main characters’ personalities.
Jane Austen, the seventh daughter of a priest, wrote the novel Pride and Prejudice in 1893. Although her education level was low, she taught her own how to write numerous literary pieces. Her first novel was Sense and Sensibility that she released in 1811 (Copeland and Juliet 1). The second novel called Pride and Prejudice was set during rough times of England, but the author chose to dwell on a fantasy about a blissful England where women sit and gossip.
Use of Letters in “Pride and Prejudice”
Austin uses letters as one of the main literary devices in the novel. The characters constantly correspond with each other. The list of letters in Pride and Prejudice includes numerous messages by Elizabeth Bennett, Mr. Collins, Jane, Lydia, and – last but not least – the thrilling Mr.Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth. Mr. Collins repeatedly wrote to Mr. Bennett to reveal the personalities of people in society to the reader (Devine 10). Furthermore, the letters of Darcy and Elizabeth act as windows through which the writer can peep into her characters, thus exposing their flaws or strengths. The letters in “Pride and Prejudice also lay bare gaps in the education and social standing of her different personalities, and they confront such traits.
The topic, therefore, shows the critical significance of Austen’s letters as used by her characters Elizabeth and Darcy. The author intends to depict class, age, and personality of her characters as perceived by other characters. The text also presents a new voice in which readers can listen to feelings of the characters; therefore, revealing their internal self. This aims at understanding the use of letters from a different perspective as opposed to only friendly letters (Devine 14).
The essay aims at discussing several issues on letters in Pride and Prejudice (Copeland and Juliet 192). First, we must comprehend why the author chose the literary technique of using letters to enhance the communication of the characters. Therefore, the essay aims to look at the significance of responses of the characters involved. Also, the symbolism employed by the author is necessary for the reader to puzzle out the hidden lesson behind the letters.
The use of letters in several chapters enables other characters to learn about their counterparts. Austen, Jane (1893) says, “When they were gone, Elizabeth…chose… the examination of all… letters Jane had written to her…” (p.294). Here, Elizabeth is enraged that Mr. Darcy is still mistreating her sister.
She learns this by reading all Jane’s letters that depict a lot of unhappiness. Austen, Jane (1893) continues to reveal the exposure of Jane’s troubles as Elizabeth scrutinizes her letters. Jane is permitting her to know that she is not well where she is residing. The writer wants the reader to feel the misery and pain of Elizabeth and her sister (Austen 294).
The significance of the responses of characters is necessary for exposing the personalities of the characters. Austen, Jane (1893) writes, “The day passed much as the day before… (and) Mr. Darcy was writing, and Miss Bingley…watching the progress of his letter…” (p.72). The author illustrates an element of humor in Mr. Darcy as the woman sits by to admire him.
Austen, Jane (1893) proceeds to write about how Elizabeth approaches (Austen 72). Darcy writing and flatters him how his wife will be impressed by getting that letter. Here, Austen reveals how some characters take to ridiculing their colleagues, therefore, exposing the follies of people with similar traits as her characters.
The lessons we can grasp from the author’s letters include the gift to perceive the feelings, anxieties, and hopes of others in life. Austen, Jane (1893) writes, “Miss Bingley’s letter arrived, and…the… the first sentence conveyed the assurance… of being settled in London…” (p.208).
The author displays an aspect of joy that people feel when they attain fantastic news, such as excellent results in exams. Austen, Jane (1893) depicts the hopelessness of Jane when she reads a letter from her gone friends. Readers experience the desperation of the woman losing her close friends. Thus, letters in the book manage to represent humanity in different situations of life (Austen 208).
In summary, Jane Austen, in her book Pride and Prejudice, specifies the roles of letters by examination of issues of class, age, and decorous behavior among the letter writers (Devine 10). The reader observes aspects of love, hatred, and humor in characters such as Elizabeth when she reacts to her sister’s letters. We also see the author ridiculing Darcy on how his wife will love the message he is writing. This displays the premium of letter writing in Austen’s society and, therefore, an enlightened society.
Besides, the letters in Pride and Prejudice offer readers a chance to analyze the society on issues of class and education. The writer wants her readers to take the responsibility of observing the flaws of the characters through the words in their letters and reforming where possible (Copeland and Juliet 192). The letters also act as a voice of the characters’ expectations and joys. Lastly, the use of letters in the book is a unique literary style that provides readers with reflections.
The importance of letters in “Pride and Prejudice” includes the burning necessity to reveal the different phases of the characters. This involves their joys and sadness when they receive and read their letters (Devine 10). In many of the letters, including Mr.Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth, Austen portrays a societal difference between the characters, as well as the difference in their education and recognition in the society.
They are the same people who write, receive, and read their letters audibly to friends. The author intends to draw the reader to a world of class, age, and education differences so that the reader can reflect and learn lessons (Copeland and Juliet 232). In conclusion, Austen wants us to see letter writing as another form of literary technique that can be effective in communicating intimate feelings.
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York, NY: Bantam Dell, 1893. Print.
Copeland, Edward, and McMaster, Juliet. The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Print.
Devine, Jodi. Epistolary revelations. Michigan, MI: ProQuest publishers, 2007. Print.
Pride and Prejudice: Critical Analysis Essay
Bride and Prejudice is a musical film directed by Gurinder Chadha. The screen play which is co-written by Paul Berges in 2004 is created on Bollywood style adaptations (Eber, 2005). The language used for the screen play is mainly English, with Hindi and Punjabi accent interference.
The screen play is characterized with exotic sounds, Bollywood style dancing and vibrant colors. Though Bride and prejudice screen play transplants from Austen’s work in 1813, the background of the screen play is set in modern India. Main actress, Rai (used as Lalita), who is doing her first English language movie, commands the play like a seasoned English language screenplay star.
Though the screen parallels Austen’s writing which was done over a hundred years ago, in both cases, the producers portray women being useless in society until she is married (Eber, 2005).The action of the film takes place in three different countries, India, England and the United States.
As the movie is based on Austen’s Bride and Prejudice novel, a number of characters retain their names while a few are slightly altered. The movie, which is set in Amritsar, features Lalita Bakshi as the main star. Lalita lives with her doting dad whom she assists in running family business.
Lalita’s mother desires to marry her daughters off to wealthy men. During her friend’s wedding, Lalita interacts with a handsome wealthy gentleman called Will Darcy. Darcy, an American, had come to Amritsar along with a friend (barrister Balraj) and Balraj’s sister for family business (Chadha, 2005).
After their interaction, Darcy struggles with attraction to Lalita, who on her side views Darcy differently. She thinks that Darcy is vain, intolerant and arrogant towards Indian culture. Darcy and his friends are greatly amazed at the exclusive behaviors that are exhibited by Lalita’s mother and two of her daughters during subsequent parties which they attend.
The mother chatters; Maya performs her kitchy dances while her sister Lakhi has astonishing flirtatious behavior. These behaviors mortify Lalita and Jaya who opt for reservation. Later, Balraj and Jaya develop a romantic relationship which does not last long due to misunderstandings and interference from other people.
After some time, Lalita interacts with Johnny Wickman, Darcy’s former friend whom she also gets attracted to. This does not help much as the interaction only validates Lalita’s perception of Darcy. Mr. Kholi, a man whom Lalita considers americanized, proposes to her, but she rejects the proposal. To Lalita’s confusion, Mr. Kholi marries Chandra who is Lalita’s best friend (Chadha, 2005).
As Will’s determination to marry Lalita develops, his mother, Catherine, stands on his way through constantly undermining his efforts. Darcy and Lalita separate Lakhi and Wickman later as they attempt to run away together. The separation of the two is based on the argument that Wickman will ruin Lakhi’s life the same way he did it to Darcy’s younger sister Georgie.
Ultimately, Darcy wins over Lalita’s love once again when he joins in traditional drumming. By joining drumming, he wins over Lalita’s belief that he appreciates Indian culture. As the film ends, there is a double wedding of Lalita and Darcy, and Balraj and Jaya. During the wedding, the couples ride on elephants down vibrant Amritsar streets (Chadha, 2005).
The screenplay is blended with fanatic dances and lively songs which rapidly change from rock ‘n’ roll, pop to touching ballads. All the actors are also clearly portrayed to bring out the intended cultural theme (Bendersky, 2004). The actors who make up the Bakshi Family are presented to relate quite well that the audience will take them for relatives.
Chadha features cultural and social complexities developing the ideas that were originally written by Austen in his work. In use of writing styles, Chadha inhibits cultural richness that incorporates Indian and western cultures (Bhaskharan, 2004).
Chadha operates the audiences perceptions with which outsiders view India and its social/cultural circles. The English rhyming lyrics that Chadha uses in her writings appeal to everyone, easterners and westerners as well, with no regard to the cultural background. The dialogue in the setting is full of choppy exchanges, the most conspicuous one is between Darcy and Lalita who constantly engage in cultural clichés (Flixster, 2010).
Lalita is furious on Darcy whom she accuses of wanting to change her nation into a tourist theme park. The plot is increasingly outrageous with Will being sidelined, Wickman coming into the picture and Lalita’s mum lining up for her daughters prospective husbands (Wright et al, 2005).
When the cultural grandstanding fades out, the film slowly falls into romantic action with Broadway musicals. The ‘sisters-in pajamas’ mix of pop rock does the magic of rolling the film into a romantic action in the absence of cultural barriers. Lalita and Johnny attraction is instigated by gharbah, a fantasy duet number which accommodates American gospel, London, India and Los Angeles musical orientation (Pais, 2004).
The music is used as a socio-cultural instrument for unity in this case where language casual talks cannot work out (Dwyer, 2004). The act is made superb by ensemble actors who peg English language as expected by the audiences to suit all the cultures in the screen play.
Language and culture are greatly used by Chadha to blend the family as a unit that the audience can consider to be a perfect life reality (Chadha, Rai and Henderson, 2004).
In an easy win over the Indian culture, Chadha uses his two western leads in an involving way that is impossible to resist. Johnny appears to have much influence of the two western leads due to his outgoing character that is basically achieved through intertwined use of language that appeases all the cultures.
She is therefore the most likeable figure in this production despite the cultural barriers that stands in the way of two cultures. According to Chadha, Will is good looking, but lacks the massive influential character that Johnny rides on.
However, he is used as a supportive character with minimal sexual charisma in the film that is founded on the power of the sisterhood and matriarchy of the Indian society (Shrivastava, 2005).
A number of styles are hard to ignore in the second part of the screen play, which focuses solely on the characters and the plot. One such notable style is heavy reliance on the artificial misunderstandings and inability of fluent communication. Thematically, analysts are of the opinion that use of language in Bride and Prejudice falls short of message and medium.
The film waters down East-West class conflict tensions to capitalize on Indian Americanization and to some extent American centralism (Bendersky, 2004). Chadha does this by using her Lalita Bakshi to scold Will in his quest to acquire a hotel in Amritsar.
She argues that the hotel will create a hub for rich Americans coming to India, those whom she considers as Indian culture misfits. However, what the film Bride and Prejudice does contradicts with what Indian experience offers to cater for Western sensibilities in this part of the film (Wright et al, 2005).
Chadha misuses language when she tries to expresses the difference between Mrs. Bakshi and Lalita in the screen play (Wright et al, 2005). Lalita repeatedly professes her uncaring attitude towards marriage for money gains. it is quite the opposite to her mother’s desires which are to have her daughters married off to wealthy men.
However, Lalita tells that what we see does not really portray the actions that are seen. The romance between Lalita and Darcy is quite extravagance. According to Indian culture, romance actions such as kisses and sexy actions are prohibited in screen plays (Kolodny, 2001 and Sarkar, 2005).
The language and culture presentation therefore differs during the first wedding party. The hip swiveling dances, sexy attires, loose chatters and a hug at the end of the party that Lalita gives Darcy contravene those traditions (Shrivastava, 2006).
In this screenplay, Chadha gives each woman her own language and distinct voice. Lalita speaks her own language that differs from Mrs. Bakshi and the rest of her daughters. Lalita is used by Chadha in the screen play as the most outspoken prudent wit of all the sisters, but with a prejudiced speech and perception of all.
As it is learned from the screen play, this character is attributed to her relations with her father. Her behavior is greatly influenced by her father who is an acute observer other people’s particularities. Audience easily perceives the characters as presented by Chadha due to use of language and their conversation (Ray, 2005).
The soft spoken Jaya believes that everyone she meets has at least opportunity to do well, and if they don’t, they have good reasons for not doing so. Jaya dares not to express herself openly to show emotions, and that’s way she wins a lot of people’s love. She uses politeness and good language to gain confidence from other people in the screen play.
Chadha uses Lakhi as the most spoilt character as it is seen from her language and her sexuality. Lakhi, who is Mrs. Bakshi’s favorite daughter, is full of accusations for other members of the family. Lakhi easily gives in to temptation without objection; a weakness that her mother thinks can be reversed if Lakhi is looked after well. As Chadha sets her screenplay, there are senior voices and the overshadowed voices of subalterns in the screen play (Wright et al, 2005).
Chadha also uses language to demonstrate protests concerning the place of woman in Indian society today. Music and dances are satirically and ironically used by Chadha to scorn Indian traditional and cultural perceptions of marriage and romance.
To show a scorn for traditional Indian culture, four daughters of the Bakshi family envisage how life would be under traditional Indian marriage between Lalita and Kholi. The women voices and language show freedom from traditional slavery to men (Hutcheon, 1989).
In a nutshell, female voices are used by Chadha to show how perceptions and ideas over time have changed (Petras, 200, Ashcroft, 1989). The varying voices of the women, starting from Mrs. Bakshi to her four daughters, have important cultural information to pass.
In conclusion, the screen play has powerful mix of tools which are used for communication. There is a blend of Hollywood and Bollywood music which is meant to pass the information about the changing times. The fact that the screen play is shot in three different worlds, India, England and America, shows a mix of cultures which makes it easy to accommodate all the parties.
It is important to note how Chadha uses language and voices to pass the information that people should change their perceptions of Indian culture and tradition concerning women.
The female domination and open criticism, especially by Lalita, show the maturity of Indian culture on marriage and romance. The culture is therefore made strong by use of voice and language including polite language, remorsefulness, and apology among others.
Ashcroft et. al. (1989). The Empire writes back: Theory and practice in post-colonial literature. London and New York: Routledge.
Bendersky, Y. (2004) India as a rising power. Asia. Times. Web.
Bhaskharan, S.(2004). Made in India. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Chadha, G. (Producer & Director). (2005). Bride and Prejudice. [Motion Film]. USA: Miramax Films.
Chadha, G., Rai, A. and Henderson, M. (2004). Bride & Prejudice. — Bollywood Musical Version. [Motion Film]. USA: Miramax Films.
Dwyer, R. (2002). Cinema India: The Visual Culture of Hindi Film. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Eber, R. (2005). Bride and Prejudice. [Review of the movie Bride and Prejudice]. Chicago Sun-Times. Web.
Flixster, T. (2010). Bride and prejudice. [Review of the movie Bride and Prejudice]. Rotten Tomatoes. Web.
Hutcheon, L. (1989). The politics of postmodernism. London, New York: Routledge.
Kolodny, A. (2001). Dancing through the Minefield. The Norton antology of theory and criticism. New York, London: Norton & Company.
Pais, A., J., (2004). Bride & Prejudice gets good UK opening. [Review of the movie Bride and Prejudice]. Rediff. Web.
Petras, et. al. (2001). Globalisation unmasked: Imperialism in the 21st century. London: Zed Books Ltd.
Ray, B. (2005). A Voice of protest: The writings of Rokeya Sakhawat Hossein (1880-1932). History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization. Women of India: Colonial and Postcolonial Periods. London: Sage Publications.
Sarkar, T. (2005). Political women: An overview of modern Indian developments. History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization. Women of India: Colonial and Postcolonial Periods. London: Sage Publications.
Shrivastava, S. G. (2006). Woman’s place and the LTC- Walas. London: Vikas Publishing House.
Pride and Prejudice Essay
The main values for the young women in the nineteenth century were their successful marriage and family. This fact can be explained by the dependent economic position of a woman in society.
Thus, to receive the economic security, a woman should be married or inherit the income from her male relatives. Traditionally, girls and their mothers became preparing for the further marriages in advance because it was the major event in the life of a young woman.
In spite of the predominance of this vision of the marriage and the woman’s role in society, Jane Austen in her Pride and Prejudice proposes several possible variants of realizing the scenario of meeting the further husband and the marriage which can be considered as rather controversial from the point of the ideals of that period.
Although marriage in the nineteenth century is the guarantee of the woman’s definite social status, Jane Austen accentuates that the happy marriage cannot be based successfully on the other factors differed from the mutual love, respect, and understanding.
The social status of married and unmarried women in the British society differed greatly, and mothers used any opportunity to help their daughters marry a noble man with the income. Thus, “it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” (Austen 1).
These words open the novel written by Austen and reflect the opinions of the majority of the women in Britain of that period. This idea was also interesting for Mrs. Bennet who could think only of her own unhappy marriage and successful marriages for her daughters in the future (Shapard). Mrs. Bennet’s example emphasizes the viewpoint that marriage depends not only on the amount of money and status but also on sincere and deep feelings. However, Mrs. Bennet’s personal vision is quite opposite to this statement.
That is why in the case of the unhappy marriage between Lydia and Mr. Wickham the problem of the family status was much more significant for Bennets than the question of real feelings. “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance” (Austen 14). Charlotte Lucas also agrees with this opinion and understands the law of the strict social rules and norms.
Her position seems to be strange for Elizabeth Bennet, the main character of the novel, who is inclined to contradict the social norms, if these norms and rules are opposite to her personal visions. That is why her ideal of marriage is based on the principles of love and respect. If it is difficult to marry such a man who can love you and be intelligent and noble, it is better to be unmarried.
Elizabeth’s position depends on her pride and prejudice. Nevertheless, following her principles, she can be happy in her marriage with Mr. Darcy who is the best part for her.
Moreover, examining all the variants of the marriage presented in the book and shifting from the rational approach to the romantic one, it is necessary to concentrate on the relations between Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley. These relations and their marriage are based on the sincere feeling of love which is not broken by possible social prejudices and personal rationality.
In her novel Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen vividly discusses the theme of marriage which is realized in the context of the British society of the nineteenth century. This context is familiar for the author. Austen’s rather ironical tone in depicting different visions of marriage accentuates her own position according to the issue with determining the principles of love and understanding as the key ones for marriage.
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. USA: Dover Publications, 1995. Print.
Shapard, David M. “Introduction”. Pride and Prejudice. Ed. Jane Austen and David M. Shapard. USA: Anchor Books, 2007. xv-xxxii. Print.
Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility Essay
Literary work is a reflection of what is happening in the society. Authors normally voice their opinion about issues affecting the society through various themes. These themes are closely linked together through analysis of a character’s actions.
In the contemporary society, introduction of literature research has extensively increased the volume of literature in every topic of interest researchers may be interested in especially in use of expression tools such as metaphors to present a symbolic view that a character displays in a play or a book.
As a matter of fact, irrespective of the level of knowledge and understanding of research facets, literature versions are inclusive of literature tools such as metaphors. Literature comparison is about enjoying the phrases, feeling the narrator’s words in action, imagining, and placing oneself in the writer’s shoes.
Writings with consistent assumptions and symbolic insinuation add comprehensiveness to sentence structures or phrases with hidden meaning. Thus, this reflective treatise analyses the theme of triangulated desires in the books “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility”.
The pieces dwell much on marriage and its holistic perception which is influenced by race, gender, family relationships and social status. The books show how an individual’s sense of identity is vulnerable to manipulation by others of higher social class.
Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility
Jane Austen (1775-1817) relied heavily in a balance of irony, realism, and parody in her genre to present a distinct literary style in depicting different societal setups. Through use of irony, Austen was successful in addressing hypocrisy that was dominant in the 18th century in the theme of triangulated desires.
This themes form the foundations upon which the societies at that time were built. It resonates across generations since its influence is inherent. Triangulated desires as a theme touch on identity crisis, tradition, manipulation, and marriage. As observed, Austen’s society is deeply rooted in their culture and is inflexible to accommodate modernity. They view such ideas as alien with no bearing in their lives.
In the texts “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility”, Austen artistically underscores the traditional position on marriage as a trajectory and paradoxically dependent on desire with homo-social relations forming the underlying huddles towards fulfilling the traditionally internalized protagonist beliefs in marriage as a normative social positioning institution.
Austen then endeavors to expose these excesses of female and male ‘homosocial’ and formative desire bonds which climax in either marriage dissolution or final resolution. In addressing this theme, Austen uses ‘homosocial’ desires privilege to authenticate female possibilities in marriage institution. She proceeds to recuperate to different degrees of patriarchal symbolism on gender-class system.
The Theme of Triangulated Desires
“Pride and Prejudice”
In the text “Pride and Prejudice”, Austen presents a relationship between Darcy and Bingley as that filled with unending triangulated desires. The ‘steady friendship’ between Darcy and Bingley is a reflection of a powerful visible ‘homosocial’ bond that immediately sparkled at Meryton ball during their first meeting (Austen 1995, p.10).
Despite Bingley’s superior social class, Darcy is worn out in strong jealously when the latter enjoys a dance with “the only handsome girl in the room” (Austen 1995, pp. 6-7). Reflectively, this indifference displayed by Darcy is more than coincidental fancy but an unending desire to hold Bingley in her arms. Darcy proceeds to dance with Bingley’s favorite friend Jane.
The erotic triangle between Darcy and Bingley is based on unending ‘homosocial’ desires with Jane being the mediating figure in romance. In this aspect, it is apparent that Darcy would be happier to dance with Bingley instead of dancing besides him holding a heterosexual figure. Since this opinion doesn’t not process, it is apparent that the desires of Darcy are not met.
To balance an undying desire and ‘homosocial’ ego, Darcy proceeds to dance with Bingley’s sisters besides openly spurring Elizabeth’s dance offer claiming that “I am in an honor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men (Austen 1995, pp. 6-7).
This is a reaction sentiment Darcy is displaying after feeling slighted by his superior ‘heterosocial’ friend’s currency. In doing so, a reader can identify the lose end competitive logic for triangulated desires between two grown men who belong to different social classes. Macpherson (2003) asserts,
In any erotic rivalry, the bond that links the two rivals is as intense and potent as the bond that links either of the rivals to the beloved… the bonds of “rivalry” and “love,” differently as they are experienced, are equally powerful and in many cases equivalent… not by the qualities of the beloved, but by the beloved’s already being the choice of the person who has been chosen as a rival (21).
Besides the hidden desires at dance party, Darcy becomes an obstacle in the intended union between Bingley and Jane. Darcy’s desire for Bingley has totally blinded him and he confesses that “I have no wish of denying that I did everything in my power to separate my friend from your sister, or that I rejoice in my success” (Austen 1995, p. 130).
When confessing that Jane “want of connection could not be so great an evil to my friend as to me,” Darcy with ease “preserve his friend from… a most unhappy connection,” stating “other causes of repugnance” as the “total want of propriety so frequently, so almost uniformly betrayed” by the family of Jane (Austen 1995, pp. 134–35).
The theme of triangulated desires is presented in the possessive jealousy of a ‘homosocial’ Darcy whose desire for Bingley cannot allow him to let go of the fantasy he has for him.
Despite this desire, Darcy composes a passionate letter to Bingley to make a confession of a failed union between him and Elizabeth. In an interesting turn of events, the triangulated desires of Darcy lands on Lydia who is saved from social abjection of being unfit for marriage. Macpherson asserts,
Darcy saves Lydia not because he cares about Lydia or about the Bennets—not even because he cares about Elizabeth. Elizabeth acknowledges that Darcy had “done this for a girl whom he could neither regard nor esteem”… but it turns out that Darcy saves Lydia because he feels himself, without having “schemed to do wrong,” to be accountable for Wickham (16).
Darcy is fully responsible for the reprehensible actions displayed by Wickam. In fact, he admits this as inspired by ‘homosocial’ desire competition. As a result, Darcy “becomes the better man in ‘homosocial’ competition with Wickham, and successfully routes his triangulated ‘homosocial’ desire through the “heterosexual detour” of marriage in the novel’s curiously anticlimactic denouement” (Macpherson, 2003, p.15).
After a long struggle, Darcy detours his ‘homosocial’ investments in Bingley and Wickham and is presented as a better person after reviving Elizabeth’s and Jane’s marriage plots. As a result, the new status position Darcy as a superior male among the three males with triangulated desires for ‘homosocial’ clandestine.
Elizabeth is described as an essentially masculine person because of her unladylike affection for Jane. Austen asserts “very nonsensical to come at all! Why must she be scampering about the country, because her sister had a cold” (Austen 1995, pp. 21-23). Elizabeth’s homoerotic excesses towards her sister Jane paint her as part of the hidden ‘heterosocial’ society.
Reflectively, integrating this in the theme of triangulated desires introduces physical and emotional insistent which is climaxed in momentous fulfillment achievement. Elizabeth is described severally as ‘feeling really anxious’ and face glowing in presence of the sister more than it should be for sisterly love.
Her motivation towards showing concerns to Jane may be classified as a heterosexual courtship with Jane being the sole object of ultimate destination. These desires towards a female of same family indicate an implicit ‘homosocial’ inclination in the romantic chivalry described as unfeminine. Interestingly, these manly features make the ‘homosocial’ Darcy attracted to Elizabeth (Austen 1995, p. 24).
“Sense and Sensibility”
Literature is a passionate subject that requires originality when reading through it. Originality is an essential thing required to improve the manner in which we view the narration and understand it.
As a matter of fact, from the external focus, a reader can connect the previous arguments in the text “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility” since two have same theme of triangulated desires. Austen is more philosophical in her writing of the book “Sense and Sensibility” than in the book “Pride and Prejudice”.
Though the plot is built in a conservative society, unending desires separate Marianne and Willoughby, who loses her to Colonel Brandon. The theme of hidden and recurring desires control the lives of main character in this wobbly plot. This aspect is narrow and creates an essence of assuming a static plot setting.
This is a wise way to maintain the literature touch, making it simpler to understand. In this narration, that is, “Sense and Sensibility” the author has created a quantifiable and intrinsic reader understanding of what metaphoric use on a character was about and the resultant effect created.
Marianne is presented as an intelligent, frank, loving, and musically talented (Austen, 1996). Willoughby is a man of many faults who is appreciative of Marianne and deeply loves her. However, the desire for class and economic power pushes Marianne to exchange marriage vows with crude Colonel.
Desires to own a home and forms the main driving force for different character traits exposed by Austen. Across the text, home is presented as the ideal landmark, a beloved place, and a treasure defining happiness. Love without a home is but a fantasy.
Though things are falling apart, owing a home to the Dashwood sisters is an accomplishment of triangulated desires. Many characters such as the Steeles, Edward and Willoughby are haunted by the unfulfilled desire to own a roof over their heads. Despite having a shelter, they don’t have land and are considered loosely hanging in the conventional society (Austen, 1996, p. 34).
Reflectively, achievement of desired object symbolized good sense. On the other hand, disillusionment is as a result of underscoring on desires and depending on emotions. In her endeavor to achieve her desires, Elinor is patient enough to subject her observation to deep scrutiny before passing judgment.
Besides, Colonel Brandon loves Marianne and knows the virtue of rational proclamations in the quest to fulfill the desires of marrying her.
Unlike Willoughby, Colonel Brandon is careful when expressing his feelings towards Marianne. In this instance, good judgment and final marriage between the two is as a result of patience in the quest for desires.
Though Mrs. Dashwood thinks highly of Willoughby, she is worried by his lack of good judgment and caution. This worry is also directed towards Colonel Brandon’s feelings for the fragile Marianne. Austen (1996) wrote,
On every formal visit a child ought to be of the party, by way of provision for discourse. In the present case it took up ten minutes to determine whether the boy were most like his father or mother, and in what particular he resembled either, for of course everybody differed, and everybody was astonished at the opinion of the others (p 38).
In my view, without the theme of desire, these writings would be similar to watching a movie with no camera effects, no sound effects, and with unknown characters as the only aim is passing a message.
In Austen’s use of the desires as a theme, she succeeds in characterizing the powerful in the society and the weaker ones in their desire to find love, maintain marriages, and climb economic ladder. The patriarchal society is painted as unfair to the female members of the society.
In quest to fulfill desires, the male members of these societies share same attitude towards females. Interestingly, the wall limiting desires in both texts is an unending phenomenon which cannot be destroyed. Instead of focusing on either antagonistic or protagonist stand, the narrator present a brief on both sides.
She is comprehensive on presenting a quantifiable expository backed by a strong characterization in line with the main theme in the book.
Consistent use of this theme more than once alongside other literary devises has made the two main characters, that is, Marianne and Darcy stand out as a protagonist verses an antagonist in a battle to satisfy ego and undying desires.
However, at the end of the struggle, the spontaneous desire hits the wall for both characters. Marianne ends up married to Colonel Brandon to the dismay of many readers in the text “Sense and Sensibility”. The same fate faces Darcy who loses Bingley to Jane despite series of attempts to attract Bingley’s attention.
Triangulated desires stops reasoning and slower people from examining the limits of pragmatic possibilities necessary for psychological reconciliation. Fortunately, the self regulating society seems to offer a facilitated explanation for mutual support.
Austen has imposed the above thought as an expression to resonate on the need for better life and communicate past negative experiences. Austen suggests that the process of appreciating the social power as a power of the people enables the society to function coherently within minimal tension, despite having different desires.
Austen pushes for personal conviction as the basis of the ideal fundamental social norms that minimizes conflict in the process of creating a systematic orientation for fulfilling desires.
In presenting the theme of triangulated desires, the author characterizes personal identity as a component of realism. Recognizing aspects of loyalty, moral crisis, honor, and revenge, Austen gives her story a lifeline of a typical society filled by personal interests.
She creates a human action drama that combines stories of self-discovery and love. Austen convincingly mingles the ‘futuristic’ and the ‘realistic’ imaginations of the then naïve society.
The theme of triangulated desire is relevant in the contemporary society where difference between unity and hatred is defined by a thin line of personal interests. In most cases, the losers remain to wallow in regret as winners blow trumpet. The driving force towards triangulating desires remains to be family, love and the need to belong.
Despite these desires, the society as a bond unites different personalities and these desires often remain hidden within a person. As a matter of fact, love remains to be the sole dictator of human desires. The degree of jealousy often determines an individual’s ability to arrest unbecoming desires.
In conclusion, the two texts, “Sense and Sensibility” and “Pride and Prejudice” share connections in the plot and theme of triangulated desires. The texts are able to vividly and convincingly present the unending desires.
However, they end up in different circumstantial incidences. Acknowledged by many authors as homosocial culturally embedded female writer, Austen presents an experimental imagination of deep heterosexual relationships. Across the two novels, women are displayed as victims of the triangulated desires.
Austen, J. (1995). Pride and Prejudice. New York: Dover.
Austen, J. (1996). Sense and Sensibility, New York: Barnes & Noble Books.
Macpherson, S. (2003). Rent to Own; Or, What’s entailed in Pride and Prejudice. Representations Journal, 82, 1–23.
Style as Character Insight: The Use of Irony and Free Indirect Discourse in Jane Austen’s Major Works Term Paper
No work of art achieves permanence unless its creator imbues it with a unique individual style that solidifies its value across cultures and across time. Truly, art would not exist without style. According to Susan Sontag, the earliest experiences of humankind reflected art as “incantatory, magical. Art was an agent of ritual” (65).
This view was followed by the preliminary theory of art as an imitation of reality understood by the ancient Greeks (Greenberg 2; Sontag 65). In any work of art multiple disclosures of truth take place.
These contextual revelations can be endless; revelations of the society, not to mention the revelations of the artist himself. It could therefore be argued that the objects seen and felt by the artist constitute the mirrored image of her distinctive society.
On the other hand, Alexander Pope argued that socialization itself murders authorial style (Miller 76). In Pope’s opinion, everyone is born with some taste that gets lost through education. Pope argued that nature played a crucial role in the judgment of style (Miller 76). From Pope’s assertion, the reader may deduce that in every art, there is a peculiar goodness that is peculiar to the artist.
It is therefore irrelevant to argue the subjective value of one piece of art over another (Galperin 50). Great art reflects its truth vis à vis “the relationship between aesthetic experience as met by the specific – not the generalized – individual, and the social and historical contexts in which that experience takes place” (Greenberg 1).
Jane Austen’s novels clearly reflect these dual realities. Her work remains a stylized time capsule that reveals the complexities of the social world that existed in the United Kingdom during the Regency period. The continued popularity of the author’s works speaks to the individuality and appeal of her writing style to generations of readers and scholars since that era.
Jane Austen’s stylistic choices typically present male characters as one of two types: shrewdly reluctant romantics, or fools easily duped by Jane Austen’s wily female protagonists that have become so beloved over the years, including Emma Woodhouse, the heroine of Emma. The inner workings of Jane Austen’s characters typically provide somewhat awkward and unnerving insights into polite society (Harding 167).
Many literary scholars view Jane Austen’s works as “country house novels” (Le Faye 11). Some have labeled them as “comedies of conduct” according to Le Faye, comedies of manners that embrace the affairs and social conspiracies of upper class people living in a stylish and civilized culture (11).
These comedies of conduct typically present a violation of social traditions and etiquette; while Jane Austen’s keen social observations remain veiled by the sparkle and wit of her dialogue (Le Faye 45). As a rule, Jane Austen’s fiction has come to represent “one of the most sophisticated analyses we have of the elusive character or quality of sociable human interaction” (Russell 176).
However, a number of literary scholars regard Jane Austen as a darker, more socially engaged writer. Her novels involve the author advancing 19th century social theory via the use of a style that reveals the theory of mind within each character (Ferguson 118).
Many of Jane Austen’s works feature characters that adopt one self publicly and another privately; thus, the conflict between these selves becomes the meat of the novel (Ferguson 118). This paper endeavors to critically analyze the stylistic devices Jane Austen employs in her work to recreate the social psychology of the 19th century British upper classes for the reader.
The paper favors the devices of irony and free indirect discourse as the main stylistic choices Jane Austen applies to give the reader insight and access to the interior, psychological landscape of her characters.
Jane Austen was born in Hampshire, England in 1775, the seventh child of eight children. Jane Austen’s early introduction to classical works arrived through the influence of her father, George Austen, a member of the English landed gentry who also worked as a preacher and educator (Galperin 49; Le Faye 10).
Though the family was not wealthy, they were land owners, and as such Jane Austen’s childhood was a happy one with full access to intellectual stimulation and learning (Le Faye 10). After the death of George Austen in 1805, Jane, together with her mother and sister Cassandra moved to Chawton village, where she received a marriage proposal from a wealthy brother of her close friend (Tinkcom 134).
Jane Austen initially accepted this proposal but turned it down the following day; scholars argue the rejection of the proposal occurred because Jane Austen fully understood the role of marriage in the mobility of a woman in those days, together with all the vulnerabilities of single women who relied on wealthy relatives for accommodation (Tinkcom 57).
Marriage at that time remained the sole form of social leverage available to women of the upper classes (Galperin 50; Le Faye 11). This event appears to be a seminal one in the life of the author, as the social theme of marriage plays out very much in several of Jane Austen’s novels, including Emma, and Sense and Sensibility, as does the theme of social class positioning, a phenomenon of great interest to the author.
Jane Austen’s works can be identified with the eighteenth century novel traditions. According to Duckworth, Austen read broadly in many genres including works which were regarded as mediocre; however, the major feature of her reading activities was noting native genres traversed by women writers at the time (48).
The publishing environment for women during the 19th century was perilous (Ferguson 2). The social environment dictated that propriety be maintained above all else, and at the time literature was deemed too vulgar for women to engage in (Ferguson 2; Lascelles 88). In this sense therefore, Jane Austen remains one of literature’s first female mavericks.
When critically examined, the works of Jane Austen show the effect of the literary state of affairs of the 18th century period. The works at this time embraced the notion of and social environment and man’s perspective relative to individual circumstances. In essence, an individual’s needs were sublimated to the needs appropriate to his or her social role.
Satire and humor are characteristics embraced in literature during this period; however, the use of irony became the ultimate tool for authors to critique their society discreetly. In Jane Austen’s novels, the romantic and passionate nature of her characters is evident, though implied (Ferguson 76). Jane Austen’s works demonstrate the role of passion and its place in society.
Though these novels appeared in the middle of the Romantic period, they also involve an intellectual and cerebral quality that minimizes the absolute praise of the youthful passions expressed in other works written during this period. To this end, Jane Austen combines passion and reason through the use of irony.
Jane Austen has embraced the use of irony in many of her most famous pieces. Though scholars typically identify Jane Austen as a romantic author, her style largely renders a biting and acidic account of romance.
The author applies contrast to the plain meaning of a character’s account of a situation or event, in order to create a witty twist and reduce the magnitude of the original statement and highlight its ironic disjunction. In her juvenile literary works, Jane Austen depended on satire, irony and parody fixed on absurdity to color the romantic view.
In her mature literary works, she employed irony to forestall social pretense and to highlight discrepancies between familial duties and character, as well as character foibles. A classic example of this occurs in Mansfield Park. The author writes:
To the education of her daughters Lady Bertram paid not the smallest attention. She had not time for such cares. She was a woman who spent her days in sitting nicely dressed on a sofa, doing some long piece of needlework, of little use and no beauty, thinking more of her pug than her children, but very indulgent to the latter, when it did not put herself to inconvenience (Austen 16).
Jane Austen’s use of irony is “exemplified in romanticism’s earliest forms and carried into the nineteenth century, where absence, division, and fragmentation are completed by their readers’ own mistaken ideas” (Greenham 163). In the above example, the reader’s reaction to the neglect demonstrated by Lady Bertram toward her offspring fuels the irony of the story.
As such, Jane Austen’s style employs irony to criticize not only the marriage institution but the parental ideal of care and concern for the welfare of children, placed in the hands of indolent, spoilt, utterly self-absorbed individuals.
As Greenham notes, romantic authors in the vein of Jane Austen’s style “use our expectations to deceive us because their texts are completed only by the expectations of the reader, a use of expectation that reveals, through negation, the reader’s false ideas and ideals” (163). Jane Austen’s genteel use of language and style barely conceals her contempt for the social conventions that would allow such individuals to prosper.
Similarly, in Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen draws the reader’s attention to irony in the opening line. The author writes “it is a realism that is widely recognized, that a single man in charge of a good fortune should be in need of a wife” (6).
At first glance this statement appears simple and predictable; however, the plot of the statement contradicts it. As it says, it is a woman without a fortune who is in need of a husband. Also, in Pride and Prejudice, the major structural motif creates irony in the story which stimulates a reader’s judgment and attention, besides engaging a reader’s feelings.
Jane Austen’s paradoxical and ironic character sketches also underscore the reciprocal impact of personality and society in Emma. Like many of Jane Austen’s novels, Emma presents an explanation of how one learns to see oneself, others, and personalized relationships more clearly as events unfold.
But to prevent this occurrence Jane Austen has employed an unparalleled blend of styles to present her thesis. Emma comes out as Jane Austen’s masterwork as she manages to capitalize on irony and the use of free indirect discourse effectively.
Greenham notes that the character of Emma Woodhouse is “femininity ironized” (165). The romantic novels of Jane Austen typically contain these strong heroines, deeply restricted by the class and gender roles of their time, whose actions and inner thoughts do not align – herein lies Greenham’s point. Jane Austen’s style use irony to bedevil social veneer.
The reader understands this in the opening line of the novel: “Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her” (Austen 1). Jane Austen uses the word “seemed” to pique the reader’s suspicion (Austen 1).
As Greenham explains, this word is “always a sign of ambiguity” (165). Once the word “seemed” registers in the mind of the reader, everything that Jane Austen describes about the heroine becomes open to interpretation. As Greenham notes, the word leads the reader to assume “some kind of deflationary irony, which might in turn lead the reader to conclude that Emma is none of these things to the extent that she appears.
The tension, then, would be between appearance and reality” (165). The social psychology of the characters in the world of Jane Austen’s novels remains ultimately ambiguous and uncertain; nothing can be assumed to be true, often since the actions and the words of the characters create an ironic distance.
Further use of irony becomes apparent when the reader witnesses Emma’s thoughts at the first meeting with Harriet Smith. She immediately sees in Harriet some kind of project that she might embark on, the belief that she could make an upper class woman out of Harriet’s kind request could be a reflection of Emma’s impolite disposition towards others.
It could also be construed as a confession that she is meddlesome and self-centered, as Emma’s actions indicate that she is the only person entitled to effect such improvement on another human being. However, the ironic truth becomes apparent later, through Jane Austen’s skilful use of irony, when the reader concludes that it is actually Emma who desperately needs improvement.
Emma is presented as one person with a contrary judgment; however, since the character only keeps such convictions between herself and the reader, she enhances the various ironic twists that Jane Austen has employed in the novel.
Brownstein argues that the use of irony in Jane Austen’s novels speak to the actual physical and psychological experience of women at that time in history. Language itself was a chess match, and the social conventions so complex and rigorous that one wrong word could topple the most socially graced female.
As Brownstein notes, among the female protagonists such as Emma Woodhouse, “choosing language, commenting on the stereotypes and formulas of novelists, and the language available for use in social life, is always Austen’s subject” (Brownstein 59).
An example of this occurs following Mr. Knightley’s proposal of marriage in Emma. The response that Emma Woodhouse gives is the model of propriety, and illustrates the author’s use of irony to highlight the restrictive and psychologically complex social environment of upper class women of marriageable age: “What did she say? Just what she ought, of course.
A lady always does. She said enough to show there need not be despair – and to invite him to say more himself” (Austen 386). In Brownstein’s analysis, Jane Austen used irony not only to write as a lady but to illustrate life as a lady. As Brownstein explains, “Writing as A Lady, Austen savors the discrepancy between being a stable sign in her culture as well as a user and analyst of its signs” (Brownstein 59)
Austen and Knowledge of Intention
Authorial intention comes out as an issue of great interest in Jane Austen’s work. Though this may be a difficult thing to find in the absence of the author, literary analysis involves the interpretive spectrum around the determination of authorial intention.
In this line of thought, many critics have viewed a literary work of thought which fades the author from the message that is being communicated; as such, many critics have not managed to find subtle ways of determining authorial intent.
The simplicity that Jane Austen exhibits in her work provides a clear template for authorial intention. There is usually a paradigm between what we learn from the novel and what we know about the real author’s world. While reading Austen’s work, one construes several images of the author (Le Faye 135).
But, different people, depending on their inclinations and other factors, form their own images that fit those inclinations, hampered by the distance of time and the complete transformation that has occurred in the social relationships between heterosexual men and women since Jane Austen’s time.
Looking at Jane Austen’s works, several images of the author appear, and several different perspectives arise among private readers as to who Jane Austen really was, and what she really stood for as an artist and as a social critic.
Jane Austen has staged parodist sensations that imbue her later novels with a gothic quality – an example is her novel Northanger Abbey. Issues within the novel border on gender and power.
For example, Catherine experiences several challenges in her life through the novel such that by the time she arrives at Abbey, she has really faced an array of issues. From this Austen manages to present a sustained fear and anxiety throughout her work (Wilde 156). In Northanger Abbey, there seems to be a greater connection between surprise and emotion.
Jane Austen has also employed dialogue as a means of endearing the reader to the outward reality. She has effectively used this at the proposal scene in the novel Emma. For instance, some of the lengthy dialogues usually act as preludes to something about to happen (Wiltshire 132). A case in point is the quarrel that ensues after Harriet refuses Robert Martin (Austen 113).
Emma’s behind the scenes manipulation shines herein; to hide her machinations, she maintains a calm disposition. This demonstrates Jane Austen’s multidimensional approach towards style.
Jane Austen has also presented Emma Woodhouse in such a way that her appearance does not coincide with the revelation. Such an ironic nature of presentation is a distinctive mechanism through which Jane Austen exhibits her authorial intention and unique style.
Free Indirect Speech
Jane Austen has meticulously utilized the practice of free indirect discourse. Free indirect speech was a literary device created by Henry Fielding in the 18th century and used liberally by many novelists at that time.
Todd indicates that the free indirect speech allows the speech and the thoughts of the characters to socialize with the voice of the narrator (33). As a device, the use of free indirect discourse facilitates access to the interior psychology of the character without interrupting the social convention in place in the world of the novel.
This device allows authors to write about things that would never be spoken about – in essence – to delve into the private mind of the character. In a Jane Austen novel, much of the action remains implied, an element of authorial style that mimics the social confines of its characters – essentially – no one says what they really mean, because to do so would be social suicide.
Without free indirect discourse, much of the actions of the characters within Jane Austen’s novels would be indecipherable for the reader.
As Neumann explains, “so much of an Jane Austen novel is apparently shown or dramatized rather than told or narrated, [thus] it becomes of particular interest not just to trace how Jane Austen reports the speech and thought of her characters but also to consider when and how judgments on the characters’ consciousnesses are implied as well as stated” (364).
The stylistic device of free indirect discourse illustrates one example of how Jane Austen authenticates the consciousnesses of her characters. This device renders the interior workings of the characters’ minds visible to only the reader and themselves.
As Neumann explains, free indirect discourse in a Jane Austen novel employs “sentences which combine a character’s reported voice with the narrator’s reporting voice, sentences in which the narrator can both render, and comment on, the utterance reported” (364). The net effect of this device brings the quality of mind to life for the reader; as such, the action becomes interior and subtle, implied and muted.
In one of her works, Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen extensively uses this approach. For example, Mrs. John Dashwood “did not endorse intends of her husband… to take three thousand pounds from the plight of their precious little boy… she begged him to think again on the subject….. how would he have answered to him to deny his child…..” (20).
The extract draws a straightforward story in the “voice” of the narrator. In this example, Jane Austen proves the inner feelings of the character and fixes the imagination the reader is entering the characters mind.
In the novel Emma, Jane Austen applies the stylistic device of free indirect discourse masterfully to develop the relationship between Emma and Mr. Knightley. As Bray notes, the use of free indirect discourse ensures that “everything is presented through Emma’s dramatized consciousness, and the essential effects depend on that” (10).
In Emma, one of the clearest and most effective examples of free indirect discourse occurs when Emma and Harriet Smith discuss Mr. Knightley. Emma asks:
Have you any idea of Mr. Knightley’s returning your affection?
Yes, replied Harriet modestly, but not fearfully – I must say that I have.
Emma’s eyes were instantly withdrawn; and she sat silently meditating, in a fixed attitude, for a few minutes. A few minutes were sufficient for making her acquainted with her own heart. A mind like her’s, once opening to suspicion, made rapid progress.
She touched – she admitted – she acknowledged the whole truth. Why was it so much worse that Harriet should be in love with Mr. Knightley, than with Frank Churchill? Why was the evil so dreadfully increased by Harriet’s having some hope of a return? It darted through her, with the speed of an arrow, that Mr. Knightley must marry no one but herself! (Austen 335)
In this passage, Jane Austen uses the free indirect discourse to plumb the depths of her main character’s denial. In this one passage, the author peels away multiple layers of truth slowly and steadily, to reveal the romantic yearnings that Emma holds very close to her core, the element of her affection that she has revealed to no one thus far, not even herself.
In this regard, the power of this stylistic device is threefold – it reveals character intention, explains character action, and functions as a bond between reader and character. The stylistic use of free indirect discourse places the reader in the role of confidante. As Bray explains, in this example, “here Harriet’s supposedly reciprocated feelings for Knightley force Emma to acknowledge the truth of her own heart.
A few minutes of reflection are enough for revelation to be reached. Notice that the trajectory by which Emma arrives at the truth, from touching, to admitting, to acknowledging, is first described indirectly, from the vantage-point of an external narrator, and then presented more directly, as the narrative enters into her mind” (18).
Herein lies the value of free indirect discourse as a means of drawing out the interior social psychology not only of the character, but of the larger social world that Jane Austen’s characters inhabit, in all its rigidity and artifice.
Bray notes that it is “Emma who asks herself, Why was it so much worse that Harriet should be in love with Mr. Knightley, than with Frank Churchill? and Why was the evil so dreadfully increased by Harriet’s having some hope of a return?” (18). Through free indirect discourse, the reader learns the truth at the same time as the character.
The device allows the character’s consciousness to become a character independent to the social character witnessed in the novel, which in turn reflects the schism that occurs in the selves of the characters between their social personas and their actual selves.
As Bray notes, Emma’s “consciousness could be said to be dramatized here if by this is understood the narrative’s attempt to re-enact, rather than describe externally, the character’s actual thought-processes. From Why was it so much worse onwards the reader is granted intimate access to Emma’s thoughts and anxieties, leading up to her final moment of anagnorisis” (18).
In regard then, the style device of free indirect discourse functions as a means of granting access to the deep action of the story, as motivated by the deep and largely unconscious desires of the characters. This phenomenon explains why several scholars view Jane Austen as one of the foremost romantic novelists writing from a social psychology perspective.
A number of the characters in Jane Austen’s novels remain susceptible to feminine beauty, and the author’s stylistic choices to use this weakness for beautiful women as a distraction, particularly among the male characters in her novels, often begets surprisingly comedic results.
In her essay An Argument about Beauty, Susan Sontag notes that “beauty, it seems, is immutable, at least when incarnated – fixed – in the form of art, because it is in art that beauty as an idea, an eternal idea, is best embodied. Beauty…is deep, not superficial; hidden, sometimes, rather than obvious; consoling, not troubling; indestructible, as in art, rather than ephemeral, as in nature.
Beauty, the stipulatively uplifting kind, perdures” (Sontag 208). A perfect example of this power occurs in the novel Emma.
Through the character of Mr. Knightley, Jane Austen give voice to all of the less than stellar qualities of her heroine – her peevishness, her inability to cease meddling in other people’s romantic affairs, her liberal enjoyment of manipulation of family and friends, and her lazy and indolent nature – not to mention the fact that her family, especially her father, spoiled her.
“I, [Mr. Knightley] soon added, who have had no such charm thrown over my senses, must still see, hear, and remember.
Emma is spoiled by being the cleverest of her family. At ten years old, she had the misfortune of being able to answer questions which puzzled her sister at seventeen…And ever since she was twelve, Emma has been mistress of the house and of you all. In her mother she lost the only person able to cope with her” (Austen 48).
Yet, Mr. Knightley remains struck by Emma’s pulchritude, a weakness that Mrs. Weston appears perfectly willing to exploit, as evidenced in the following example:
Oh! You would rather talk of her person than her mind, would you? Very well; I shall not attempt to deny Emma’s being pretty.
Pretty! Say beautiful rather. Can you imagine anything nearer perfect beauty than Emma altogether – face and figure?
I do not know what I could imagine, but I confess that I have seldom seen a face or figure more pleasing to me than hers (Austen 49)
The beauty of the heroines in Jane Austen’s works functions as a distraction, the problematic element of sexual desire thrown into the mix. Physical beauty at that time in history remained one of a woman’s most potent tools of power, and Jane Austen’s protagonists typically wield it as a means to avoid any deep form of dialogue or authentic emotional intimacy.
A master of style, Jane Austen’s work reveals the complex social machinations at the heart of the romantic dealings between men and women in the United Kingdom during the 18th century Regency Period. The author’s effective use of the stylistic devices of irony and free indirect discourse draw the reader into the deep stratum of each character’s psychology to reveal the personal motivations behind the action of the novels.
Jane Austen developed a style that could essentially tell the story that could not be told in the rigid social environment that her characters dwelled in. As such, Jane Austen’s style reveals the individual’s desires in conflict and opposition to the social conventions that restricted their use of language, particularly in the realm of romance.
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Harding, D. W. “Regulated Hatred: An Aspect of the Work of Jane Austen”. Jane Austen: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Ian Watt. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963. Print.
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Le Faye, Deirdre. “Chronology of Jane Austen’s Life”. The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen. Eds. Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Print.
Miller, D. A. Jane Austen, or The Secret of Style. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003. Print.
Neumann, Anne Waldron. “Characterization and Comment in Pride and Prejudice: Free Indirect Discourse and Double-voiced Verbs of Speaking, Thinking, and Feeling.” Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism. Ed. Russel Whitaker. Vol. 150. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Print.
Russell, Gillian. “Sociability.” The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen. Eds. Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Print.
Sontag, Susan. “An Argument about Beauty.” Daedalus 134.4 (2005): 208-. Web.
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Gardens in pride and prejudice Essay
Austen uses gardens to advance the themes of class, love, parental relationships and family honor. She also reveals Elizabeth’s, Darcy’s and other people’s character through the gardens.
Significance of gardens in the novel
The novel “Pride and Prejudice” does not rely heavily on symbolism because it has more dialogues than descriptions. Nonetheless, certain physical elements still stand out in the narrative. One such case is Darcy’s estate, which residents know as Pemberley. This garden is at the heart of the book. First, it is reflective of Darcy’s character since he owns it.
When Elizabeth pays Darcy a visit, the picturesque gardens impress her totally. She begins to warm up to this man and his wits and charm impress her even more. In the novel, the author compares this garden to Darcy’s perception of himself. Austen (140) describes a nearby stream that appears to swell with its own natural importance. She adds that the stream achieved this without appearing artificial.
The same thing may be said about Darcy’s character. He possessed a natural importance that made him appear proud. Nonetheless, this pride still coexisted with a lack of artificiality just like the stream; Darcy is not too rigid or too superficial.
Mr. Collin’s character also comes out through the mention of his garden. When Elizabeth and Collins take a stroll in Collins’ garden, he uses the opportunity to elevate his accomplishments and virtues. For instance, he talks about his fondness for the garden, and the fact that he enjoys working on it. Collins also talks about every single detail in the garden without giving the ladies a chance to share their views on the same.
He boasts about how he knows the number and the location of each and every tree in the garden. This behavior implies that Collins is quite self-centered (Delany 35). He wants everyone to know about what he did for the garden, but does not care about their opinion. Additionally, Collins is a proud and boastful man; he likes to show off his vast knowledge of the gardens and the tree.
He also wanted to prove to the ladies that he was in charge of the place. Such preferences indicate that Collins was also a controlling person. In fact, Charlotte often asked Collins to go to the garden and show off his ‘talents’. The garden was Charlotte’s escape from Collins’ pompousness. When carried out activities, in the garden, she could enjoy her private time and space.
Indeed, the garden is also symptomatic of class differences and family honor as seen through Charlotte’s eyes. The garden clearly illustrates how foolish Mr. Collins was; however, a lady as intelligent as Charlotte still chose to stick with him. Charlotte had to choose between two extremely difficult decisions; she could decide to stay with her parents, and thus strain their financial resources.
Alternatively, she could choose to marry the ineffable Mr. Collins and just do what she could do within those circumstances. This reflected how society placed heavy expectations upon unmarried women.
They often sacrificed their own happiness for a chance to improve their social status and maintain their family traditions. Furthermore, wealth warranted the forgiveness of one’s vices; the lavish gardens and picturesque estates especially envisaged this.
In one scenario, in the book, Austen (45) describes how Elizabeth crossed a bridge when she first came into this estate. This had a symbolic effect because it reflected the start of a new romance. When Elizabeth crossed the bridge, she was also crossing the line between love and loneliness. This bridge in the Pemberley garden also reflected the gap that existed between the two individuals as a result of class differences.
Gardens also play a pivotal role of highlighting change in the story (Le Faye 44). Most dialogues occur inside a house. Therefore, when the author mentions the outdoors, she often does this to cue a significant change in the novel. For instance, Elizabeth comes into contact with Mr. Darcy for the first time when she goes to see Mr. Collins and Charlotte; she did this by passing through a garden.
This scenario is what builds up to Darcy’s proposal. The second time that she takes a journey through the Pemberley gardens, she realizes that her affections for Darcy are growing stronger. In that instance, the gardens symbolize a transition from indifference to affection for Darcy.
In the third instance when Austen mentions a journey in a garden, she wanted to illustrate the threat that would come upon the Bennet family if they did not find Wickham and Lydia. When Darcy tracks them, he illustrates just how devoted he is to Elizabeth.
The author uses gardens to advance the theme of class struggles. The Bennets have an ordinary house, and because of its small size, the home has no picturesque gardens. This simplicity reflects the social status of the Bennets. Conversely, Bingley, Darcy and Lady Catherine have lavish gardens in their homes. Bingley has Netherfield Park while Lady Catherine has the Rosings estate.
As mentioned earlier, Darcy had Pemberley. These gardens showcased Darcy’s, Catherine’s and Bingley’s enormous wealth. They are also crucial indications of social status. When Elizabeth sees Darcy’s garden, she thinks about how delightful it would be to stay there. Even someone as composed and sensible as Elizabeth could not help herself when she saw the beauty and elegance of the landscape.
One can even compare the relative social status of the people who owned those estates through the quality of the gardens in their estates. For instance although the gardens in Rosings were impressive, they did not possess the same level of elegance that existed in Pemberley.
Gardens also signify familial relationships in the story. Austen talks about the relationship between Darcy and his son Colin, in the thirtieth chapter. One morning, Darcy wakes up feeling rejuvenated and energetic. He feels glad to be alive for the first time in an unusually long time. Darcy then proceeds to wake up his son and offers to take him out for a walk in the garden.
This is a unique bonding moment for the two as Darcy relieves his own childhood. He promises his son that he will teach him how to ride horses and to swim. In fact, he had no idea that his son did not know these things, yet his age mates were well aware of the same. Furthermore, Colin got to learn a lot about his family’s history. Darcy talked about his sister and mother and their escapades as children.
He talked about the lessons and reprimands they underwent when they misbehaved. For the first time, this son and father had an exciting conversation together. Additionally, the experience was also reflective of Darcy’s own lessons. He got to appreciate the value of family experiences and heritage (James 56). It reinforced his views about himself and the things that mattered more to him.
Gardens emphasized the characters of the owners and the people who came to see the estate; to Darcy, the garden reflected his self determination and dedication towards Elizabeth. It signified a change in perception about Darcy to Elizabeth. The gardens brought out Mr. Collin’s arrogance and self centeredness; they also emphasized Charlotte’ helplessness in choosing a spouse.
Audiences can learn about the importance of family heritage during Darcy’s and Colin’s morning walk. Furthermore, one can also learn about class differences in this society as seen through the aristocrats’ lavish gardens.
Austen, Jane. Pride and prejudice. London: Bantam Classics, 1983. Print.
Delany, Samuel. About writing. NY: Routlege, 2006. Print.
James, Edward. The Cambridge companion to fiction. Cambridge :CUP, 2003. Print.
Le Faye, Deidre. Jane Austen: The World of her novels. NY: Harry Abrams, 2002. Print.
Robinson Crusoe’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Daniel Defoe and Jane Austen Explicatory Essay
The novels Robinson Crusoe and Pride and Prejudice by Daniel Defoe and Jane Austen respectively, share a lot. Characterization and themes that the two novels portray are drawn from the medieval British society. This implies that the two novels use huge amounts of realism as a technical element that facilitates their themes.
At the one hand, it is recognizable in Defoe’s novel that the use of real events to steer the plot has been immense. In the novel, Robinson Crusoe, Defoe describes it as a history of facts that seeks to portray the social institutions and structures of the medieval British society.
Indeed, he uses real experiences of the protagonist who had spent quite some time alone. Undoubtedly, this is a reflection of the real life of Alexander Selkirk in uninhabited island.
The author uses his skills to describe minute details in such an elaborate way that the reader cannot question the presence of reality in the novel (Black 129). For instance, he describes the minute details of Crusoe’s activities like building the fence, harvesting his grains and digging the cave amongst many others.
Using circumstantial method, Defoe brings out the aspect of realism in the novel. According to Myers, he describes the success of the protagonist in growing crops that gives him a platform through which he brings on board the technical element of realism (176).
It is apparent that Defoe also introduces a wrecked ship in novel that facilitates the survival of Crusoe. Another technical skill that has typified Defoe’s use of realism is in the characterization. He portrays Friday’s gratitude and behavior in a very natural way.
This is in consideration of the fact that Crusoe had saved his life from cannibals. It therefore becomes natural for him to show gratitude to the protagonist, which inspires the realism in the novel.
Finally, he narrates using precise dates that the protagonist stayed in uninhabited island after being swept ashore by unfavorable sailing conditions. In fact, these dates coincides with the real dates of the real character, Alexander Selkirk whose experiences have largely inspired the novel (Black 192).
On the other hand, Jane’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, depicts the reality of the society in the nineteenth century. Precisely, her depiction of events in the novel reflects the society of the time.
DeMaria says that it is clear that throughout the novel she uses such stylistic devices as irony and contrast to highlight the theme of social relationships in the society (591). Use of letters and other medieval means of communication throughout the novel are critical and realistic elements that portray the themes as being relevant to the medieval British society.
Like Defoe, Austen uses characterization to display the reality of social values and beliefs. The characters such as” Bennets” have used their subjective beliefs to choose the course of their lives. Apparently, society shapes people’s beliefs and values and imparts them on individuals during the process of socialization (Black 72).
Elizabeth (one of the Bennets) contrasts with Mr. Collins who believes that the social system’s ideals dictated that women were supposed to submit to men. Besides, he believes that women should not acquire any property and act as custodians of men’s wealth.
He asserts his arguments with confidence owing to the prevalent social values and norms (DeMaria 592). However, Austen introduces such characters as Elizabeth to appraise the discriminating social system that favored a patriarchy. The use of characters to depict reality of the society has as such, facilitated the novel to highlight major themes.
Further, realism is explicit in the novel when the author highlights the theme of marriage. In nineteenth century, women bore gender roles that openly discriminated them from decision-making processes of the society. Mr. Collins asserts this claim by believing that Elizabeth could not reject him after he makes a marriage proposal (Myers 87).
It becomes clear that he attributes his subsequent rejection to women’s modesty of the time. This implies that it was very unusual during the nineteenth century for a woman to reject men advances. Indeed, society attributed rejection to pride borne by liberal women and young feminists (like Elizabeth).
It was therefore an exception rather than a norm. Austen compares with Defoe in depiction of dates that clearly depicts the periods that their novels portray. Austen shows the rise of gender equality and women empowerment that took shape in the century. She describes discriminative land ownership practices that had typified the era (Black 231).
Finally, the two novels contrast in their main themes. While Defoe chose to explore the rise of British imperialism, Austen tends to dwell on the pertinent issues that affected women and the marriage institution. The protagonists in the novels play different roles but present them in a very realistic way. Nonetheless, the depiction of reality in the two novels is overwhelming.
Discussion of Pride and Prejudice
The novel has wide variety of themes that are apparent in the plot. Mary points this out at the onset of the novel where she claims that human beings are vulnerable to pride. Pride blurs the ability of some characters to see the truth. This makes them unable to attain happiness in their lives.
Particularly, Elizabeth’s pride presents an impediment to her marriage with Darcy. Her vanity leads to impaired judgment of Darcy and Wickham in which she thinks well of the latter and perceives the former as evil. However, she comes to realize that her pride had led her to wrong inferences.
Further, Darcy is proud owing to his social status and disparages anyone who occupied lower social status. He also writes a letter to Elizabeth asking her to abandon vanity and begin to use reason (DeMaria 577). Austen also uses Prejudice as a major theme in the novel. It is important to point out that the prejudice is intricate to other themes.
Darcy uses social-economic prejudice to scorn other members of the society that occupy lower classes. Besides, Elizabeth’s prejudicial and unfounded beliefs make her to believe that she could make impeccable judgments. She realizes in the end that she could not and that she had been wrong in a number of occurrences.
DeMaria points out that Austen explores family institution as a major theme that characterized the medieval society (579). The novel depicts the family institution as that which is endowed with the responsibility of inculcating morals and intellect to the children.
For instance, “Bennets” fail to educate their children leading to explicit naivety, promiscuity and shame exhibited by Lydia. Elizabeth’s manages to get some positive virtues after she receives some informal education from the Gardiners. In fact, only the Gardiners are portrayed in the novel as a family that showed concern for the girls’ welfare (Myers 42).
This theme is in tandem with the roles of women and the marriage. All the characters in the novel hold the concept of marriage with such intensity that they all long for marriage. Elizabeth eventually accepts to get married to Darcy despite her beliefs regarding marriages. The context of family and marriage provides a platform that Austen uses to explore the idea of gender disparities.
In the 19th century, women suffered from myriad of injustices among them being discrimination due to their gender. Although Austen attempts to depict women as equal to men, it is apparent that the society had preservation for this perspective (Black 171).
It is a patriarchal society where women were supposed to be the obedient and submissive to their husbands. The society denied women the rights to own property as well as access to education and employment opportunities. Evidently, the “Bennets” fail to educate their five daughters and remain convinced that women had no rights to education.
Finally, class and social stratification has typified the entire novel. In particular, Darcy represents a major character that is full of pride and conscious of his social status. He perceives class as a phenomenon that is not only composed of wealth but also inclusive of other factors.
Gardiners are depicted as occupying lower economic classes but their intellect and virtue have leveled their class with other characters that are affluent. Other than class, Austen also highlights the theme of individual and society. The society takes precedence even in the private matters of its members.
Specifically, Lydia’s elopement with Wickham is scandalous in the whole society and she becomes a disgrace to her family (Black 179). Besides, Darcy’s failure to reveal the Wickham’s true behavior is seen as a failure to honor social obligations and duties. Despite the society’s involvement in individuals’ private lives, Austen questions its capacity to make right inferences regarding different characters.
Historical Development of Realism
Realism emerged in the mid 19th century and reflected a shift from initial literary works that were typical of romantic idealism. It gives more attention to the subject matter and characters and depicts the true nature of the contexts. Although it coincided with the Victorianism, realism has the ability to remove subjectivity in the novels.
It employs journalistic approaches of reporting ‘as is’ without imparting personal beliefs and values. Harrison asserts that much of the literature work that have realism as a core element stand out from the rest for their true portrayal of the events and characters as they happened in the real world.
Henry Fielding has often been referred as the pioneer of the style. In the novel, Joseph Andrews, Fielding uses a wide scope and keenly observes the requirements of realism. His perception of the medieval England portrays a true picture of England at the onset of Industrial revolution (Black 171).
The novel highlights characteristics of human nature through characterization. For instance, he portrays selfishness and meanness of humans after Joseph had been robbed and left for the dead. The only reason the community rescues him was the fear of being held accountable for his death.
This aspect of realism is also manifest in the novel Pride and Prejudice in which Austen portrays the society in a true way. The presence of class disparities is typical of the two novels making it possible to portray realism (Myers 73). Although Daniel Defoe’s novel, Robinson Crusoe was published earlier, he is not short of realism.
He depicts the British society during the exploration of the world by giving the real occurrences in the life of Alexander Selkirk. It is in such novels whose use of realism was able to appraise social system and structures.
Realism has been used in different novels to give shape to themes. In Pride and Prejudice, it is apparent that the Austen describes the characters of the novel with emphasis of minute details. Through realism, she is able to address social issues that affect specific social groups.
As such, realism gave writers platform where they could appraise prevalent social system. Similarly, Virginia Woolf in the novel To the Lighthouse uses realism to highlight the need for equality within the society. Henry Fielding also used realism to appraise particular aspects of the society.
In sum, Defoe and Austen bear similarities in the manner that they explore their themes. Although they differ in their central themes, the use of realism is evident throughout their novels. Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice uses characters and real events of the 19th century to highlight the themes of pride, prejudice, social class, gender inequalities and marriage.
Realism has been typical of many novels since the 18th and 19th centuries. At the very minimum, it helps novels to meet the demands of reality with objectivity and giving details to characters, events and objectivity.
Black, Joseph. British Literature: A historical Overview, Toronto: Broadview Press, 2010. Print.
DeMaria, Robert. British literature, 1640-1789: an anthology, New York: Blackwell Publishers, 2008. Print.
Harrison, Martin. Realism in Literature, London: Routledge, 1998. Print.
Myers, Walter. The later Realism: A study of characterization in the British Novels, London: Ayer Publishing, 2001. Print
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Essay
Pride and Prejudice is a world-known novel written by an English author Jane Austen in 1813. The story revolves around the importance of education, marriage, financial viability, and traditions in the United Kingdom during the Regency era. Humor is used as the primary artistic means of the narrative, which attracted many readers and ensured the popularity of the book. This essay contains the analysis of the novel, including the summary, description of the main characters and themes, personal opinion about the narrative, and conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay.
The Summary of the Novel
The story begins with the conversation of two characters, Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet, who are talking about the visit of a young bachelor, Mr. Bingley, to their neighborhood. The Bennet family has five daughters, and Mrs. Bennet thinks that they should be friends with Mr. Bingley as he can marry one of her girls. Therefore, since the time of Mr. Bingley’s arrival, spouses Bennet try to use the opportunities to communicate with him.
One day the Bennet family meets Mr. Bingley at the ball, where his friend, Mr. Darcy, accompanies him. Even though initially Mr. Darcy made a positive impression on people, soon everyone found him to be arrogant, because he did not want to dance with anyone except for Mr. Bingley’s sisters. Mr. Bingley advises Mr. Darcy to pay his attention to Elizabeth, one of the daughters of the Bennet, but he did not express any interest to her. Elizabeth witnessed this conversation and felt antipathy toward Mr. Darcy.
Soon, Mr. Bingley realized that he felt in love with the sister of Elizabeth, Jane, while Mr. Darcy started having feelings for Elizabeth. Elizabeth talks to her new friend, Mr. Wickham, who tells her the story about the immoral behavior of Mr. Darcy. This only supports Elizabeth’s negative opinion about Mr. Darcy as she is sure that he despises her. Mr. Darcy, in his turn, thinks that the Bennets are out of his social circle because they demonstrate bad manners. He encourages Mr. Bingley to return to London and give up the idea to marry Elizabeth’s sister Jane.
Later, Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth, but she rejects him, saying that he is guilty of destroying the happiness of her sister. Months later, the younger sister of Elizabeth, Lydia, runs away with Mr. Wickham. Mr. Darcy, trying to save the Bennets from shame, forces Mr. Wickham to marry Lydia. Being thankful, Elizabeth realizes that she likes Mr. Darcy, and accepts his proposal when he asks her to marry him the second time. Thus, the story has a happy end, where the pride of Mr. Darcy and the prejudice of Ms. Bennet were overcome.
The Main Characters and Theme of the Novel
Jane Austin created personalities in a way that made them unforgettable for readers (Wilhelm 2014, 30). Elizabeth Bennet, the second eldest daughter of the Bennets, is one of the main protagonists of the story. She is young but intelligent and witty, well-educated and, in contrast to the other members of her family, has good manners. She is a strong woman with principles, who is not ready for a marriage on a financial basis, even though she understands that money is necessary for a respectable life (Awan and Ali Nasir 2018, 673). However, Elizabeth tends to have a prejudiced opinion about people even if she does not know them well. Unfortunately, it does not allow her to be objective in evaluating people’s actions.
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is the second protagonist of the story. He is a tall, rich, and handsome man who is twenty -eight years old. At first sight, it seems that he does not have any drawbacks, but his pride spoils people’s impression of him. At the ball, where he meets Elizabeth first time, he proves his arrogance, saying that he does not see any beautiful women dance with. In his conversation with Mr. Bingley, he says: “Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with” (Austen 2017, 11). Thus, the prejudice of Elizabeth and pride of Mr. Darcy became a stumbling point for their relationships. Eventually, they could overcome these negative traits that ensured the happy end of the story.
Even though the personages of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy create the most exciting line of the story, the other characters contribute to the humorous narrative. Thus, Mrs. Bennet is shown as a woman whose primary goal of life is to marry her daughters to wealthy men, even if it happens against their will. She says: “If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield, and all the others equally well-married, I shall have nothing to wish for” (Austen 2017, 9). Also, sometimes, she can behave in an indelicate way that creates comic situations and makes her eldest daughters Elizabeth and Jane blush.
Another personage that is worth to pay attention to is the youngest daughter of Bennet, Lydia. She is shown as a silly little girl who tends to do foolish actions without taking responsibility for that. Even though the Bennets cannot serve as the best example of a well-mannered family of the Regency era, these characters help the author to use humor as the primary artistic means of the narrative.
The main idea of the novel conveyed by the author is the importance of being unbiased and modest. Also, Jane Austen unfolds the concepts of marriage, true love, and the role of fortune in people’s lives (Wan 2019, 349). It does not matter how many years have passed since the first publication of the novel because these ideas remain significant for people, even nowadays, in the modern world.
The novel Pride and Prejudice can be recommended to read for both youth and adults because it raises topical questions for people of all generations. It narrates love, morals, family relationships, and the social status of people. Moreover, it is especially interesting to read nowadays, because it tells the story about traditions, entertainments, and way of life of people who lived two hundred years ago. Therefore, the novel can serve as an excellent educational tool that not only entertains readers but also provides historical information. In my point of view, the author skillfully shows the influence of the social environment on people’s personalities in her novel. The story teaches readers to always stay true to themselves. For instance, even though society encourages women to marry wealthy men, the character of Elizabeth shows that one can still act in accordance with his or her opinion.
Jane Austen created a romantic story that became popular because of the author’s sense of humor and skillful way of storytelling. She created strong, ambitious, intelligent, and independent characters that attracted readers around the world and made the story unforgettable. Moreover, the narrative contains a lot of historical information that shows people’s life in England in the 19th century. Therefore, it is highly recommended for reading to everyone who wants to have a good time and receive some historical knowledge about the society of Great Britain in an entertaining way.
Austen, Jane. 2017. Pride and Prejudiced. Seattle: Amazon Classics.
Awan, Abdul, and Ambreen Ali Nasir. 2018. “Matrimonial Issues and Marxist Approach in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.” Global Journal of Management, Social Sciences and Humanities 673 (4): 651-676.
Wan, Yongkun. 2019. “Study on Jane Austin’s Original Views toward Marriage in Pride and Prejudice.” Paper presented at the 9th International Conference on Education and Social Science, Yunnan Province, China, Francis Academic Press, 349-351.
Wilhelm, Julia. 2014. The Austen Formula: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century. Hamburg: Anchor Academic Publishing.
Pride and Prejudice essay – a comparison of Elizabeth and Lydia
Elizabeth Bennet is the 2nd eldest of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s 5 daughters. Lydia is the youngest. The only thing these 2 brother or sisters seem to share is their family. The girls contrast starkly.
Lydia Bennet has a rather childish and fun caring disposition. She encounters as a little doing not have in intelligence and her own dad even reaches to call her ‘among the silliest women in the country.’ As well as stating that she is ‘ridiculous and oblivious like other ladies’.
Elizabeth on the other hand is fully grown, kind, caring and rather more in her daddies favour than her more youthful sis. He appears especially keen on his ‘little Lizzy’ and informs his better half that she ‘has something more of quickness than her siblings’.
Throughout the unique the women opposing personalities are demonstrated. Lydia’s flirtatious and frivolous ways are really obvious at the beginning of the novel through her behaviour towards the soldiers. Elizabeth’s wisdom shines through at the very first ball in the unique, when she overhears Mr Darcy explaining her to Mr Bingley as ‘tolerable; but not handsome adequate to tempt me’.
Elizabeth however takes this on the chin, and instead mocks him by stating the story to her friends and chuckling at his rudeness and arrogance. Her conduct is exceptional, a lesser girl would have been ravaged to hear herself explained in such an unflattering and uncomplimentary method, and in this instance we really see her great manners and sense of maturity.
Both Elizabeth and Lydia are confident and outspoken girls although in rather different ways. Lydia tends to say exactly what she thinks without much consideration, whereas Elizabeth’s words are always thoughtful and quick witted. Her observance and good sense make her mostly a consistently accurate judge of character. For example she recognises the inappropriate behaviour of some members of her family, like her mother and Lydia, and feels embarrassed. Also she realises Mr Collins unsuitability for her and refuses his proposal, despite it offering her notable financial stability. She also takes a dislike to Lady Catherine De Bourgh, regardless of her influential position, and stands up for herself and her family. However, in the case of Mr Wickham and Mr Darcy, her perception was originally misguided, but later she recognises her mistakes.
Lydia on the other hand does not have such a sound sense of judgement. She believes that Wickham genuinely loves her and will marry her, when his intentions were only to elope with her. She was so gullible that she ran away with him and her only saving grace was Mr Darcy forcing Mr Wickham to enter into marriage with her.
Lydia rushes headfirst into her affair with Wickham and claims to love him, although in reality she barely knows him.
Elizabeth is completely different to her sister and by no means hurries into her romance with Mr Darcy. She demonstrates at several stages in the novel that she does not want a pretentious and shallow relationship or marriage for practicality, but wants to find a true love match. Her cousin Mr Collins is very admiring towards Elizabeth and asks for her hand in marriage. The acceptance of this proposal would have offered Elizabeth a sound life as Mr Collins had ‘a good house and very sufficient income’. But having no physical or mental attraction to the man, Elizabeth tells how, in regard to his proposals ‘it is impossible for me to do otherwise than decline them.’ Mr Darcy also asks for Elizabeth’s ‘acceptance of his hand.’ At the stage when he makes his first proposal to Elizabeth she believes him to have wronged Mr Wickham and feels a ‘deeply rooted dislike’ for him and so declines his proposal. In this instance she follows her heart, despite Mr Darcy earning ‘ten thousand a year’ and having a very respectable status and estate.
Neither Lydia nor Elizabeth really conform to the expectations of the society that they live in. They are both different to the mould of average women of the setting, but in their own ways. Lydia is less discreet than her elder sister and certainly makes a name for herself with her flirtatious and attention seeking tendencies. She is only fifteen years of age and many people scorn her for socialising with men, attending balls and such like. Lady Catherine De Bourgh is a prime example of this and tells Elizabeth that it is ‘very odd’ Lydia being out at only fifteen years of age.
Another far more scandalous way in which Lydia does not conform to the values of her society is her elopement with Wickham. She runs away with him to London without a single care for her family or the disgrace it might bring to their name. She believes all that he tells her unquestionably and is certainly very niaive. She is ignorant with regard to her family’s feelings and her actions outrage her father and cause her mother to be ‘taken ill immediately’. It places their home in ‘such confusion’ and forces Mr Darcy to pay out a substantial sum of money to the penniless Wickham. Lydia’s behaviour was not the norm and Elizabeth tells how her ‘conduct has been such as neither you, nor I, nor anybody can ever forget’ which implies that the elopement has tarnished the Bennett name lastingly.
At the time the novel was written, women were expected to become ‘accomplished’ in things such as art, music and reading. Elizabeth is suitably talented at playing the piano and ‘has a good notion of fingering’ and Darcy tells how ‘no one admitted to the privilege of hearing’ her ‘can think of anything wanting.’ She is also ‘a great reader’ and so all in all is quite an accomplished girl. Lydia though does not, as far as I can tell, show much talent or interest in the areas of music and arts. She seems rather preoccupied with the soldiers in neighbouring Meryton, clothes, balls and gossip.
Although Elizabeth is generally well liked and highly thought of, she does not completely live up to expectations in her society. As I have discussed previously she doesn’t, like most girls of the time, consider money an important enough reason to marry and hence refuses two marriage proposals. In this period, women were considered second class citizens in society, as equality had not yet been established between the sexes. This makes Elizabeth an even more remarkable character as she is by no means intimidated by Mr Darcy and is intelligent and assured enough to tease and mock him, questioning his actions and picking him up on his past wrongs.
Her disposition is so confident that she has enough conviction to stand up for herself and express her views cleverly regardless of the company she is keeping. This is demonstrated when she stands her ground when confronted by Lady Catherine De Bourgh, telling her in no uncertain terms that her prospective marriage to Mr Darcy is none of her business. In the period that the novel was written, this would not have been considered acceptable conduct as Lady Catherine is of much higher social status than Elizabeth. Lady De Bourgh explains how she has ‘not been accustomed to language as this’ and goes on to ask Elizabeth – ‘do you know who I am?’
Elizabeth also causes a minor stir when she walks three miles from Longbourne to Netherfield. It was unusual for ‘ladies’ of the time to walk so far unaccompanied – they would usually have taken a carriage. This is a way in which Elizabeth takes a subtle stand and resolves to do as she pleases regardless of what people may think. Miss Bingley tells how Elizabeth seems to ‘show an abominable sort of conceited independence.’
The main character of the novel is Elizabeth Bennet and much of the story is portrayed through her eyes, leading the reader to favour her. She is the heroine of the novel and the main narrative is her story in particular. I think that Jane Austin meant for her to be a particularly likeable character, as she shows admirable and dignified conduct throughout. She is the sort of woman that many people would aspire to – she has intelligence, beauty, talent and is a kind and compassionate sort of person. She does not allow herself to simply be dictated to, but has the strength of personality to do and say as she sees fit, and for these reasons I think that she earns almost all readers approval.
I do not think that Jane Austin intended us to approve of Lydia. Her behaviour certainly was not approved of by the characters in the book as she acted without any consideration for others. She was self centred, reckless and stupid. However, I do not think that Lydia is a bad character that we are meant to strongly dislike, but on the contrary, we are meant to be entertained by her antics. She adds a touch of scandal to the story making it all the more interesting and in the end it is her carelessness in not thinking before she speaks that lead to Elizabeth and Mr Darcy finally uniting.
The two sisters are very different indeed and are both portrayed to opposite extremes. Elizabeth’s responsibility and great qualities are magnified by Lydia’s outrageous behaviour at the other end of the scale. I think that without Lydia’s character Elizabeth would not seem quite so exemplary, and without Elizabeth to live up to, Lydia would not seem such an immature and thoughtless character.
I personally prefer Elizabeth and I think this is a feeling that most readers would share. I think she is an ideal role model who overcomes many obstacles to find truly deserved happiness in the story. Although I don’t particularly dislike Lydia, I think that she is a silly and annoying character who lacks all the inspiring qualities possessed by her older sister, Elizabeth Bennet.