Letters In Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice

Great Essays
Generations of scholars and casual readers alike love the romance, comedy, and drama in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Austen’s use of letters in particular demonstrates a masterful storytelling technique, and the epistolary nature of the novel ends up being a device to further the plot and draw the novel to it’s resolution, particularly in the latter half. Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth and her reaction to it marks a pivotal change in Elizabeth’s opinion of Darcy. More importantly, however, the letter and her reaction also mark a pivotal change in Elizabeth’s opinions of her own actions. Furthermore, Mrs. Gardiner’s letter to Elizabeth further changes her opinion of Darcy into a more favorable light, and makes her realize her love for Darcy, …show more content…
While Darcy revealed himself as a prideful man through the novel up to this point, even in his proposal, Elizabeth dislikes him mostly because of Wickham’s accusations, that he had deprived him of his inheritance and left him in reduced financial circumstances. However, Darcy’s letter directly contradicts this claim, and “she could bring no proof of its injustice” (Austen 157). Elizabeth prides herself on her cleverness, wit, general reasonableness, and, at least to her knowledge, impeccable judgment. When Darcy shows how poor her judgment has been, she takes it as a personal offense, “protesting that she would not regard it” (Austen 156) until she realizes it must be true. Elizabeth misjudges both Wickham and Darcy, which makes her feel like a fool, and “She grew absolutely ashamed of herself” (Austen 159). While so ashamed of herself, Elizabeth recognizes that Darcy was “entirely blameless throughout the whole” (Austen 157) when it comes to Wickham’s misfortunes. Furthermore, Elizabeth realizes “she had never, in the course of their whole acquaintance…seen anything that betrayed him to be unprincipled or unjust” (Austen 159). Elizabeth maturely reevaluates her opinion of Darcy, and changes it to properly reflect his true character, rather than his awful first impression. By the end of her thought process, Elizabeth’s …show more content…
Gardiner implies that she thought Elizabeth would already know, as she believes Darcy and Elizabeth to be involved romantically. She continues to sprinkle this insinuation throughout the rest of the letter, hinting at “another motive” (Austen 244) for paying for the wedding rather than his mistake of not exposing Wickham earlier. Mrs. Gardiner even goes so far as to ask for “A low phaeton, with a nice little pair of ponies, would be the very thing” (Austen 247) upon her next visit to Pemberly, essentially saying that Elizabeth will be the next mistress of Pemberly. The letter “threw Elizabeth into a flutter of spirits” and as a result “Her heart did whisper, that he had done it for her” (Austen 248). Austen uses suggestive language in Mrs. Gardiner’s letter to convey her thoughts on Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship, and the romantic language used to describe Elizabeth’s reaction indicate that she agrees with her aunt’s implication. The idea of Elizabeth “fluttering” seems out of character to the reader, as she has proven herself quite the realist, further proving her deep feelings for Darcy. Austen makes it clear that Elizabeth’s feelings for Darcy have undergone a complete transformation from her first impression, and Mrs. Gardiner’s confession of what Darcy has done puts the nail in the coffin for Elizabeth’s

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