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Pride and Prejudice

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Introduction

Discuss the Importance of Letter Writing in "Pride and Prejudice" Jane Austen (1775-1817), author of "Pride and Prejudice", was a country vicar's daughter from Hampshire. She was poor gentry and therefore acceptable in high class county society circles in which she would have moved with ease. She was from a similar class to Mr Bennet, who was only looked down upon because he had married beneath him. She never married, instead devoting her life to looking after her father and brother and writing her novels in her free time. Because of Jane's position in society she would have been from a world in which appearances and money were important marks of identification and badges of privilege. For women permanently trying to better themselves, marrying a man of high status was the norm. These ideas are reflected in her novels, where the heroine always ends up with a secured marriage to an upper class gentleman. In her novels you also get the idea that outsiders to a certain class or circle were treated with prejudice and often looked down upon, as Miss Bingely does to the Bennets when she realises that Jane is trying to marry her brother. Jane Austen was from an era in which great pride was taken in status. A woman was required to have beauty, accomplishments, class, money and youth if she was ever to obtain a suitable husband. ...read more.

Middle

Elizabeth may be compatible: "Detection could not be in your power and suspicion not in your inclination" He has a wonderful flow of English, which the reader has not heard from him before. Darcy's letter enlightens the reader to the truth about the confused circumstances, and reveals his true nature. Letters are used by Mr Darcy, Jane and Elizabeth to express their sincere thoughts and deep, hidden emotions, from anxiety to contentment, in contrast to letters from Lydia and Mr Collins, which reflect their ridiculous characters. Mr Collins's first letter to Mr Bennet showed how in awe he was of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, "Lady Catherine is far from objecting to my occasional absence on a Sunday." You can clearly see how he referred to her for her advice on everything, and hung on her every word. This illustrates what a pathetic and indecisive man he was. Take for another example, Mr Collins' absurd letter to Mr Bennet, in which he tries to make peace with the family while being quite unintentionally rude and offensive, "the circumstances of my being next entail of Longbourne estate." By reminding Mr Bennet that after his death the estate will be passed on to him, he is being very vulgar and blunt. He seemed totally unaware that certain subjects are best left unspoken. The letter he sent Mr Bennet after hearing about Lydia eloping with Wickham was even worse. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are twenty-one letters in "Pride and Prejudice", each of which plays a greater or lesser role in the novel. Some are merely used to speed the plot up and carry essential information. Nevertheless the novel is made more dynamic and interesting with letters every so often, rather than just never ending dialogue and description. Other letters give us an insight into characters' true feelings for each other. For example, the letter Miss Bingely sends Jane is evidence of what she really thinks of her - that she is not good enough for her brother. Miss Bingely is obviously delighted to share the news that her brother will not be returning to Longbourne. She goes on to boast of Miss Darcy and Mr Bingely's increasing intimacy. The thing with writing such things in a letter is that it is there forever and there is actual evidence that Miss Bingely has lied unlike saying it out loud. In fact it is letter writing that eventually unites the hero and heroine. If Elizabeth had not received the letter in which Darcy managed to enlighten her of the confused circumstances and his true feelings, then she would never have considered him again. Letters often present the most intense climaxes in the story, not to mention the most hidden secrets. Austen's use of letters manages to convey these vital situations without delay or interruption and rounds off the picture of a society so different from our own. ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 of 4 ...read more.

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