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Pride and Prejudice

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Introduction

Pride and Prejudice TMA 01 1. How do the narrative techniques of 'showing' and 'telling' work at this point in the novel? 2. How does this passage relate to the themes of the novel as a whole? The first part of the passage is dialogic, in that it contains only conversation between Lydia and Mrs Bennet. Jane Austen, through the use of narrative techniques, gives the reader an in-depth understanding of the story. One of these techniques is 'showing', which with the use of dialogue, allows us to gain an understanding of the characters. The characters of Lydia and Mrs Bennet, through the use of dialogue in this passage, are 'shown' to be excessively concerned with the expectations of the society in which they live, by being obsessed with the importance of marriage. Lydia is passionate in her manner; this is 'shown' to the reader when she talks of getting husbands for her sisters, "They must all go to Brighton. That is the place to get husbands". She is pleased with herself and even boastful in her ability of having secured a husband before any of her sisters. She puts him on a pedestal, 'shown' by the narrator, with statements such as "Is he not a charming man?" ...read more.

Middle

This narrative is directed to the reader, and includes such phrases as 'Wickham's affection for Lydia was just as Elizabeth had expected to find it; not equal to Lydia's for him." The character of Lydia doesn't have this insight into her husband's character due to the 'na�ve consciousness of the character and the knowing consciousness of the narrator', (p.59 The Realist Novel). Using free indirect speech, the narrator (Austen) 'tells' us how Mrs Bennet advocates and encourages Lydia's non-conformity by 'having very frequent parties at home', and 'telling' us with the use of hyperbole how Lydia was 'exceedingly fond' of her 'dear Wickham' and how he did 'everything best in the world'. This exaggeration, which is in Lydia's reported voice or style, enables us to view and understand the story with more depth, giving us an insight not only to what the characters are saying, but also to what they are not saying. These techniques of 'showing' and 'telling' help to bring out the character of Austen's writing. There is an irony in her work, where we, as the reader, are shown the two sides of the story. The dialogue between the characters, 'shows' how they converse with each other and what they are willing to share of their lives, then in contrast, the narrative gives us their secret, innermost feelings and desires. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her prejudice deriving from her 'ill-founded pride in the astuteness of her first impressions of Wickham'. (P.43 The Realist Novel). Austen uses her characteristic irony to 'tell' us that although Lydia was in love with her 'dear Wickham', he in fact (according to Elizabeth's character), only married her 'by distress of circumstances' and 'he was not the young man to resist an opportunity of having a companion'. The irony of this situation being that, through the narrator, we know that Elizabeth was aware of Wickahm's past conduct, after all, 'her heart had been but slightly touched', 'believing that she would have been his only choice, had fortune permitted it' (page 118 P&P). Through Darcy's letter, she had learnt of Wickham's advances towards Darcy's own sister, with the chief objective of his 'sister's fortune' of 'thirty thousand pounds'. (Page 158 P&P). Then of course there was Miss King, who had come into a fortune of ten thousand pounds; Wickham 'had paid her not the smallest attention till her grandfather's death made her mistress of this fortune', (Page 121 P&P). His 'distress of circumstances' compelled him to seek a fortune, for which he would apparently go to any length to secure. We are encouraged by the use of dialogue and narrative to differentiate between Elizabeth's personal and emotional integrity, Lydia's immorality, and Mrs Bennet's persistence in securing husbands for them all, no matter what it takes. ...read more.

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