Analysis Of Letters To Alice On First Reading By Fay Weldon

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Fay Weldon’s Letters To Alice on First Reading Jane Austen works through the didactic literary form of epistolary novel to enable the contemporary reader to understand the values found throughout Pride and Prejudice. Weldon innovatively and creatively alludes to the modern day reader’s world through postmodern perspectives; and a blend of fiction and nonfiction to shift their understanding, transform individual perspectives, and encourage a unique yet contemporary appreciation of Austen’s novel. Jane Austen published her regency novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ in 1813, a work that critically analyzed the social values and mores of her time, including the marriage and education. Austen explored the significance of characterisation, dialogue, and …show more content…
For instance Weldon takes a ‘tender view’ of Mrs. Bennett, who is introduced as a flustered character, and who is used constantly to provide comic relief for the reader. As such Fay Weldon reinforces the significance of marriage in Austen’s world by exploring and explaining contextual information to help Alice (and the external audience) sympathise with Charlotte and Mrs. Bennett 's actions. For example: “Only 30% of women married... So to marry was a great prize...women only lived well by their husbands favour.” Here Weldon uses the aforementioned statistics to enable the reader to understand the greater social and financial reasoning behind Charlotte’s decision, “old maid, was very real to her”. Also Weldon employs the literary theory of ‘New Historicist’ to demonstrate how Austen’s work is influenced by its context, thus altering the reader’s view of Austen’s characters - otherwise marriage centric - decisions. The use of conversational language in particular allows modern readers to understand Jane Austen 's authorial tone and leaves little area for debate or interpretation, one that is underscored further when she addresses her readers in a direct, didactic

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