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analysis of Pride and Prejudice

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Introduction

Analyse this passage from Pride and Prejudice, discussing ways the narrative voice and dialogue used. (volume I, chapter XVII 'Elizabeth related to Jane the next day... And even Mary could assure her family that she had no disinclination for it) Throughout this passage, we see various narrative techniques being used to help in the development of the theme of pride and prejudice and of the character of Elizabeth and Jane. These techniques include 'showing' involving direct speech, showing the reader in conversation with others, and 'telling' which involves free direct speech and focalisation, giving the reader the impression of seeing through the character's eyes and showing the thoughts and feelings of that character. In the first paragraph of this passage the narrator is third person omniscient while focalising through Jane. It begins with the narrator using free indirect speech, 'Elizabeth related to Jane the next day, what had passed between Mr. Wickham and herself', allowing the reader to imagine that Elizabeth has thought about what Wickham has told her and has decided to discuss it with Jane, showing the closeness of their relationship. ...read more.

Middle

Elizabeth is so blinded by her prejudice that she doesn't see anything wrong in Wickham revealing so much of his personal life to someone he hardly knows 'without ceremony'. The narrator uses irony with Elizabeth mocking Jane, 'Do clear them too, or we shall be obliged to think ill of somebody' but Jane is steadfast in her views, 'you will not laugh me out of my opinion'. This strength of character is something not seen in Jane before, not only showing the reader that there is perhaps more to Jane than first thought, but also using Jane to give a different view point to Elizabeth's blinded one, leading the reader to think for themselves. Throughout this dialogue, the narrator is showing the reader Elizabeth's attempts at trying to convince Jane in the truth of Wickham's story, to no avail. The direct speech used by Jane, 'It is difficult indeed', again shows that Jane is not one to easily believe badly of someone, but to look for the good, something we see recurring with Jane through the novel. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that the Bingley sisters are not mentioned by name, and just as 'his sisters' indicates that the narrator is reducing their status within the novel. The narrator's omniscient voice is very strong in the last paragraph with free indirect speech used for the various female Bennet characters. This paragraph also acts as something of a show and tell regarding the different characters, showing their various thoughts and feelings regarding the ball. As the title suggests, this novel is structured around the issues of pride and prejudice of the various characters and also of social class which the various techniques used in this passage help to highlight. The techniques allow the reader to get to know the characters and watch them develop through the course of the novel as with Elizabeth, realising her pride and prejudices have clouded her judgement regarding Darcy and Wickham. We learn more of the different characters, such as Jane's lack of prejudice against anyone, contrasting with Elizabeth. These techniques help to enlighten the reader about the character's personalities and contrast them against each other and to help tie in the various themes of the novel to give the reader a greater understanding of the novel. ...read more.

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