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How does Austen tell the story in Chapter Three of Pride and Prejudice?

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Introduction

In Chapter Three, how Does Austen Tell the Story? How do Issues Raised in this Chapter Affect the Rest of the Novel? What do we learn of the Men in this Chapter? In this chapter, Austen tells the story using a variety of devices, making decisions about structure, style, plot, characterization and viewpoint which affect how the story is told to the reader. We immediately gain a sense of their parochial lifestyle through the setting and plot. The chapter begins in Longbourne with the girls getting ready for the ball, speculating over whom might be there etc: gossip here is their 'blood.' Lady Lucas 'starts the idea of his (Bingley's) being gone to London to get a large party for the ball. Here, Austen's choice of setting shows more than just where it is, we learn about the characters 'narrow' lifestyles, where their concerns do not regard wider issues than marriage, fashion and socializing, and hence this creates a context for us to approach the issue of marriage: we can better appreciate Mrs. ...read more.

Middle

The turning point, an event which affects the rest of the novel, is built up to with little events which create a climax in the form of Elizabeth overhearing Darcy. This is very important to the progression of the story since after we are aware that Darcy is an unpopular character, and that by comparison, Bingley becomes more likeable. In terms of characterization, Austen has Lizzy retell the story and directly tells us that she 'delights in anything ridiculous' which enhances our later views of her. In this chapter issues are raised of Pride, after Darcy behaves in a stand-offish manner at the ball and remarks that Elizabeth is not handsome enough to tempt him. Darcy's Pride here affects the rest of the novel because without his Pride, Elizabeth would not have been prejudiced against him and there would be no turbulent relationship between them, and hence no novel. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sir William contrasts this, and appears almost as parochial as the woman around him; he is easily pleased with Darcy, having only met him for ten minutes. It is as if he, like his wife and daughters, wants Darcy to be a match for his daughters, and so believes he is perfect before he has met him. We judge Sir Lucas here on the words he says. We also learn of Bingley and Darcy in this chapter. Bingley, we are authoratively told by Austen, is lively and unreserved, whilst Darcy's character is revealed through his direct speech and his actions. He refuses to dance, and his comments about Elizabeth lead the reader to assume his pride, however, we find ourselves assuming them in ways similar to the villagers of Meryton - we have been drawn into their parochial world, and do not stop to consider that he simply may not be dancing because he is shy, or because he simply cannot dance. ...read more.

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