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

Discuss the use Jane Austen makes of letters in her novel Pride and Prejudice

Extracts from this document...


27th April 2010 Grace Turner 10CH Discuss the use Jane Austen makes of letters in her novel Pride and Prejudice In the eighteen century, one form of novel that was very popular was the epistolary novel; ‘An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. The word epistolary comes from the Latin word epistola, meaning a letter.’ It is thought that epistolary novels originated from ‘novels with inserted letters’, or, that the epistolary novel came from miscellanies letters and poetry. Miscellanies are ‘separate writings collected in one volume’ or ‘a collection of writings on various subjects. ‘The first epistolary novel was the Spanish novel "Prison of Love" by Diego de San Pedro in 1485. Other examples of epistolary authors are: Edmé Boursault and James Howell. Although Jane Austen used the epistolary style, she adapted it to suit herself. One of Jane Austen’s favourite author’s was Samuel Richardson He is best known for his three epistolary novels: ‘Pamela: Or, Virtue Rewarded’, ‘Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady’ and ‘The History of Sir Charles Grandison’. In Jane Austen’s time, letters were a very important form of communication. If someone was away for a large amount of time, a letter was the only way of keeping contact with them. Jane mainly wrote to her sister Cassandra who was also her closest friend. ...read more.


The letter is to congratulate Elizabeth on her marriage to Mr. Darcy; she says ?I wish you joy. If you love Mr. Darcy half as well as I do my dear Wickham, you must be very happy.? The letter is short, and after the first line, the letter turns from congratulations to asking Elizabeth to think of her and perhaps offer some financial aid; ?It is a great comfort to have you so rich, and when you have nothing else to do, I hope you will think of us.? This shows us that Lydia is very selfish. She also goes on to say ?I am sure Wickham would like a place at court very much? and asks for three or four hundred pounds a year as ?I do not think we [Lydia and Wickham] shall have money enough to live upon without some help.? She suggests that Elizabeth should not ask Mr. Darcy about it ?if you [Elizabeth] had rather not.? It is very inappropriate and impolite to ask for money like this, but as usual, Lydia has no idea of social etiquette. Two letters that deal with important aspects of the plot are written by Jane to Elizabeth and appear in full on pages two hundred and six to two hundred and eight in Chapter Four of Volume Three. The first letter informs Elizabeth of Lydia?s elopement. The letter arrived late as ?Jane had written the direction remarkably ill.? The letter was dated five days prior to Elizabeth?s opening of it. ...read more.


Letters are important in this novel not only to develop the plot and illustrate character but also to bring about a satisfactory conclusion to the story. Just before the end of the novel, Lady Catherine de Bourgh turns up at Longbourn to see Elizabeth. Lady Catherine interrogates Elizabeth about if Darcy has proposed to her. She says that she has received a ?report of a most alarming nature? that informed her that Jane was to marry Bingley and that this would probably mean that Elizabeth, as Jane?s sister would marry Darcy, Bingley?s good friend. Lady Catherine asks for Elizabeth?s word that she will not accept a proposal from Darcy and when Elizabeth refuses to accept, Lady Catherine goes to try and convince Darcy not to propose to Elizabeth. Elizabeth later finds out that it was the Lucases who informed the Collinses of Jane and Bingley?s wedding, who then proceeded to tell Lady Catherine. Unknown to Lady Catherine, her going to Darcy actually gives Darcy hope. Lady Catherine tells Darcy that Elizabeth refuses to promise to refuse his proposal and Darcy thinks that this might mean that she would accept if he proposed, so he rushes straight to Longbourn to propose and Elizabeth accepts. Jane, Bingley, Elizabeth and Darcy all get married at the end of the book, much to Lady Catherine?s dismay and even though for a short time Darcy is so angry with Lady Catherine he refuses to speak to her, by the end of the book, they are on good terms again. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Jane Austen 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 GCSE Jane Austen essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Pride And Prejudice:Why is the news of the elopement of Lydia and Wickham in ...

    5 star(s)

    It is ironic how Elizabeth regrets making Mr Darcy ?acquainted with their fears for her sister? in earlier chapters, but if he hadn?t known, the situation would have deteriorated. Elizabeth had clearly underestimated him as instead of looking at Elizabeth?s status with scorn, he helps the Bennet?s escape from disgrace.

  2. Discuss the Significance of Letters in 'Pride and Prejudice'.

    It is also important to note Mr Bennet's response to the letter; he says that Mr. Collins "seems to be a most conscientious and polite young man". However, we learn later in the book, through Mr Collins's letters, that he is the exact opposite indolent, rude and pompous.

  1. A Comparison of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen

    The collapse of the "fact" based education is made known when Gradgrind himself soon realises that rearing his children on a diet of facts contributes to the emotional breakdown of Louisa and the ultimate downfall of Tom. In the end, the whole system of education is reversed and the 'fancy' is fancied.

  2. Jane Austen's use of letters in 'Pride and Prejudice' ...

    Through his poor correspondence Mr Bennet betrays his lower class. In 'Pride and Prejudice' there are two independent audiences to the letters - the reader and the characters of the novel. Therefore the letters must be written to cater for both - they must plainly inform both parties of endeavours and be characteristic of their fictional author.

  1. Who makes the best marriage in pride and prejudice?

    She tries to keep her husband out of the way, for example, by encouraging him to do the gardening, 'when Mr Collins was forgotten there was a great comfort throughout'. But she is always loyal to him. She never says anything bad about her husband.

  2. The Importance of Letters in Pride and Prejudice

    It is also significant to note Mr. Bennet's response to the letter; he says that Mr. Collins "seems to be a most conscientious and polite young man". The second letter of Mr. Collins comes somewhat towards the end of the novel.

  1. Pride and Prejudice Chapter Summaries

    Lydia tells the sisters that she is trying to talk their father into taking them there over the summer. Lydia also talks a lot about Wickham, saying that the woman that he had been courting had gone to Liverpool, which means that Wickham won't marry her.

  2. Comparative Study of Jane Austens novel Pride and Prejudice and Fay Weldons novel Letters ...

    Both novels provide instructions to their readers, though indirectly. Austen saw writing as an opportunity to teach others and like Weldon, believed that women should exceed the expectations of society and be independent. The differing contexts of the two novels reflect on the different values within the texts. As social norms have evolved, women have received a greater role

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