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In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's usage of letters allows the reader to fully comprehend the situation and certain feelings of the characters

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Ashley Austell October 12th, 2005 English H204 Ms. Amy Monaghan The Usage of Jane's Letters in Pride and Prejudice In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's usage of letters allows the reader to fully comprehend the situation and certain feelings of the characters. For example, the two letters sent by Jane Bennet to Elizabeth Bennet in Chapter 46 allow the novel to arrive at a turning point in many different aspects. The obvious purpose of the written letters is to inform the reader of the events at hand regarding Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham. However, these letters allow changes to take place in other relationships as well. Jane Bennet illustrates herself much in the letters that she composes. She is constantly optimistic and trusts people immensely, shown in the lines "But I am willing to hope the best, and that his character has been misunderstood." Jane is constantly considering the feelings of other people and she conveys that she does not like to impose on others. She states in the second letter, "Now as the first shock is over, shall I own that I long for your return? I am not so selfish, however, as to press for it, if inconvenient." Even in her opening statement in the first distressed letter Jane states, "I am afraid of alarming you-be assured that we are all well." ...read more.


Preceding this chapter, the story had been slowing down and the plot was thinning out. The letters provide a twist in the novel's plot. Mr. Wickham's actions that are outlined in the letters expose the type of man that he truly is. There is a touch of irony in the fact that the prospect that Elizabeth was originally interested in has turned into a "jerk" and the man she initially hated is now her fianc´┐Ż. These letters bring about feelings of anxiety and eagerness to find out what is to come of Lydia and Mr. Wickham as well as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. However the seriousness of the situation in itself, the relationship between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet is furthermore developed because of these two letters. Elizabeth turns to Mr. Darcy as soon as he appears and immediately notifies him of everything. This action of hers illustrates the budding closeness between the two and how she relies on Darcy. Both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy blame themselves for not exposing Mr. Wickham as the vagrant that he truly is. Therefore, this shared guilt provides the nascent couple with a strong emotional connection and a universal principle. A major factor of a couple's relationship is how they react in times of distress. Do they turn to each other for support or withdraw from one another? ...read more.


The fact that Elizabeth receives them both at the same time allows for all of the appalling news to hit the reader at once and observe the characters' reactions. The realization is now apparent that if Mr. Wickham does not marry Lydia Bennet now, then the Bennets' reputation as well as Lydia's would be devastated. The cause for the first letter's delay is because Jane Bennet is too shaken up from her sister's actions to even address the letter correctly. Elizabeth even states that she "was not surprised at it, as Jane had written the direction remarkably ill." The delay because of the incorrect address is vital in conveying Jane's emotions to the reader. It is apparent that Jane Austen intended these two solitary letters to play a vital role in the novel. These letters single-handedly brought on the climax of the novel and allowed many different relationships to develop. If the letters were not available to the reader or even simply mentioned, the novel would be lacking in a connection with the reader. These letters convey emotions and worries that otherwise might not be discussed in person, such as the negative comments about Mr. Wickham and his supposed intentions for Lydia Bennet. The letters also allow the reader to personally imitate the internal reactions of the original receiver in the novel. Jane Bennet's two letters to Elizabeth certainly fulfill these literary functions and are quite essential to the novel. ...read more.

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