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Plot-Construction of Pride and Prejudice

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JANE AUSTEN'S PLOT-CONSTRUCTION In contrast to the simplicity of her style, Jane Austen's plots are unexpectedly complex. She is not content to simply draw two or three characters in isolation. She prefers a family, with their many friends and acquaintances and she tries within her limited range to make things as difficult as possible. SETTINGS OF HER NOVELS Jane Austen's field of study is man. She is, therefore, more preoccupied with human nature than nature in the nineteenth century usage of the word. The background and the scenery of the provincial town is rich in its beauty and grandeur. But there is no attempt to look into the spirit of this country. Thus although, she has some sense of locality yet she does not paint an English community like the other writers of her time. She rather avoids those very elements of the population in which the local flavour, the breath of the soil is most pronounced. She is further incapable of evoking a scene or a landscape and cannot conjure up the spirit of Bath as Emile Bronte could conjure up the spirit of the Moorlands or Hardy that of Wessex. All this, one may say, would be fatal to her dramatic quality of construction. In all her novels, we see only a limited range of human society. Most of her characters are the kind of people she knew intimately, the landed gentry, the upper class, the lower edge of the nobility, the lower clergy, the officer corps of the military. ...read more.


Mrs. Bennet's silly remarks, Mary's all too quick consent to sing at a party, Mr. Collin's sycophancy, Mr. Bennet's want of propriety and Lydia's shallowness---infact everything that the Bennet family did is enough to alienate anybody and Darcy's poor opinion of the whole set urges him to avoid closer connections with Elizabeth. When Elizabeth meets Wickham, his winning manners grow on her good-will, and the altogether false reports of his victimization by Darcy intensify her prejudice far too much. Later, when she naturally suspects that Darcy plays a prominent part in ruining the prospects of her sister's marriage with Bingley, she feels an almost irrevocably strong prejudice against him. From chapter 3 to 33, the prejudice grows in better strength and so when Darcy proposes to her, she bluntly rejects him. In reply to his enquiry about why she refused, she lays the charges at his door without any apology. The first stage in the history of their relationship is convincingly developed. Chapters 35 and 36 mark the climax in this development. Darcy's letter to her marks the beginning of the second stage. Every event occurring subsequent to this helps to reverse Elizabeth's conception of him, undo all the knots of prejudice and reveal the sterling qualities that he possesses. Even at the end of the first stage, his repulsive pride completely dominates all his thought and action, but the citadel staggers at the first rude shock Elizabeth gives him. ...read more.


This brief dialogue between Darcy and Elizabeth throws distinct light upon Jane Austen's purpose and programme in her novels. For once it be supposed that Miss Bennet's point of view is but a projection of her creator's. Her intention in these novels is to present a comedy of manners - to present the follies and vices of men and to expose them to general ridicule by employing the devices of comedy, parody, burlesque, irony, wit, satire, each one of them as is suitable for the occasion and need. THE UNITY OF TONE Hence, her plots are characterized by a singular unity of tone and she often achieves it by focusing our attention at it from more than one angle. In Pride and Prejudice alone the unity of plot has been achieved from as many as three angles. We can view the novel first, as Elizabeth Bennet sees everything; secondly, by assigning to Elizabeth and Darcy a prominent place into the novel and by centering the higher and nobler comedy around these two figures; and thirdly by making the whole story a study in Pride--- pride of place and responsibility in some, pride in the form of social snobbery in others and also either a perverted pride or the lack of pride in the rest. However, the unity is therefore very essential in imparting coherence and shape to her design. Thus, the structure of Jane Austen's novel is perfect and is ideally suited for the material she wanted to embody and the outlook she wished to present. ...read more.

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This is a perceptive piece of writing which shows knowledge and understanding of Austen's novels. At times there are lapses in expression and some ideas could be expressed more simply. Critical voices are included and discussed but should not be anonymous. Well selected quotes support comments and prevent mere descriptions of plot development.

Marked by teacher Katie Dixon 07/08/2013

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