• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Exploring Connections Between Pride and Prejudice and Fay Weldons Letters to Alice

Extracts from this document...


Anoushka William The tension between the individual and society is what leads to questioning and change. A parallel study of two texts, written in two distinct time frames, exposes the questioning and change that had occurred within society itself, as a result of tensions between the individual and society. A study of Jane Austen?s early 19th century novel, Pride and Prejudice, set in Landed Gentry of the Regency Era, and Fay Weldon?s late 20th century epistolary non-fiction text, Letters to Alice, explores the ways writers, often through their characters in fictitious literature have the capacity to catalyse change in their world by introducing new ideas. Weldon?s contextualisation and discussion of Austen?s text as a novel of superior literature, clarifies the connections between the two texts and highlights the questioning and change that has occurred within the role of women and the values of love and marriage especially. A reading of both texts emphasises the ability of the writer to use literature, and especially the letter-form, to create tension within society and change it from within. Reading Austen and Weldon?s texts together foregrounds the differences between their distinct contexts, and in this, illuminates the reader to the social changes that have occurred over time in the lives of women, as their traditional roles have been questioned. ...read more.


In creating an individual such as Elizabeth that lives against convention Austen created an opportunity to lead to questioning an change, as ?change works from the inside out, from the individual out into the wider community.? Austen?s legacy lives on in today?s society, as love is certainly valued as equal if not more important than mere financial benefits. Weldon?s fictional niece Alice is characterised as having a ?relationship? with her ?married professor,? from which there would only be emotional benefits, not the monetary ones that Austen?s conservative society so highly valued. Alice?s own promiscuous behaviour with a married man is an example of an individual acting against her society?s established conventions of love only in marriage. However, in Alice behaving in this way, Weldon is perhaps commenting on the social questioning and change occurring in her own society with the ongoing Second Wave of Feminism movement. Women with new work opportunities and less of a financial dependency on men could pursue relationships merely out of love or lust. Alice with her future university degree and Weldon with her highly lucrative book tour that frameworks the letters are examples of such women free from the patriarchal constraints of Austen?s time. ...read more.


However, it is Alice?s individuality and refusal to listen when her aunt tells her to ?get on with your studies? that receives the final respect, as she becomes a ?best-selling author? Similarly, Darcy?s reprimanding of Elizabeth in his apologetic letter to her causes a moral tension within herself, and the exclamation ?How despicably I have acted!? followed by a cummulation of her faults, acts to convey the change within her character. This in itself also conveys one of Weldon?s tenets of superior literature as the best novels have a ?happy ending?through moral development.? In listening to the behavioural demands of her society and relinquishing her own narrow-mindedness Elizabeth is able to grow as a person, and reflects the capacity to literature to catalyse positive changes. In reading Austen and Weldon?s texts, Pride and Prejudice and Letters to Alice together, readers are enlightened as to the changes through the contexts and values, especially in regards to the role of women. It can ultimately be seen that the tension between individuals and society, both embodied in various ways and forms in literature, is what leads to questioning and change, which can ultimately reshape meaning and values across contexts. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    Dying in a Holy Place The characters in the novel frequently mention the idea of "dying in a holy place." Katharine dies in a cave, a holy place to ancient people. Patrick, Hana's father, also dies in a holy place, a dove-cot, a ledge above a building where doves can be safe from predatory rats.

  2. How do the writers of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights use setting and atmosphere ...

    The tree that was once magnificent was torn hastily. Despite Mr Rochester's new condition, Jane sees him as "green and vigorous" and believes plants will "grow out of [his] roots" instead, installing a hopeful atmosphere. The setting and nature act as the extension of character's moods and feelings of both novels.

  1. Compare and contrast three examples of gothic fiction

    However, he acknowledges that he would be willing to forgive these indiscretions were there some useful "application" to Moreau's work. Unfortunately, Moreau is not undertaking his research for any such reason; rather, he is "on [a] different platform." Nothing, certainly not pain, can stand in the way of his research,

  2. Otherness in The merchant of Venice, The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible

    Hester is shown to possess great inner strength - starting a business in embroidery work, raising a daughter alone whilst fighting to keep her and all the while coping with her sin and her stigmatisation; she is still portrayed as, essentially, a good person; one who, over the years gains the respect of her community.

  1. Compare and contrast the presentation of sex and sexuality in The Color Purple by ...

    Jeanette states that "she was my most uncomplicated love affair, and I loved her because of it". Katy's influence and love make Jeanette's sexuality more clear to herself. Although she has "no intention of telling [Melanie] or anyone else what happened" between them, and this emphasises her same struggle to deal with the attitudes towards homosexuals.

  2. Women in Dracula, A Street Car Named Desire and Birthday Letters

    However we can see the power that Plath had on Hughes due to the high impact that Sylvia's suicide had on his poetry - 'Years after your death'4. Plath's downfall doesn't seem to be due to her position as a women it is presented within the opposite, she is a traditional women and this causes her problems.

  1. 19th Century Mystery Stories Coursework

    and absurd decisions, which are not required at all, and which ultimately lead to their downfalls. Darkness is a sign of the extinguishing and quenching out of hope which takes away the confidence of character. It is due to all of the above that it becomes very obvious that the story should be set at night.

  2. Compare and contrast the presentation of religious ideas in The Color Purple by Alice ...

    The third, the 'blessing' reduces Jeanette to the status of an idea. There is no sense of self, only of sacrifice for those who would seek to benefit. This gradual reduction in purpose exposes Louie's hypocrisy and selfishness. She sees Jeanette as hers, as someone who will submit to her and she cares little for how Jeanette may feel.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work