Values In Pride And Prejudice

1098 Words 4 Pages
The distinctive contexts of novels that discuss the same subject matter can be accentuated through a comparative study, thus enabling a responder to deepen their understanding of the values presented within these texts. This concept is encapsulated in Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice (Pride) when studied alongside Fay Weldon’s 1984 epistolic text, Letters to Alice on first reading Jane Austen (Letters). The values presented in each text are heightened by each of their contexts, where Austen writes in the Regency era and Weldon during a period of literary analysis transformation. The exploration of the values established by the institution of marriage, the importance of individuality and education induce a thorough comprehension …show more content…
In the Regency era, women adhered to norms of marrying for economic stability. They relied upon men as Austen parodied it being “the only honourable provision”. Her purpose in Pride is implied through the ridiculing of values that she opposed as she ironically reveals hyperbolising, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”. Contrastingly, the novel addresses the female characters being “in want of a [husband]” setting a satirical tone. The social convention shadowing demonstrated in the characterisation of Charlotte Lucas reveals her outlook on “happiness in marriage [being] a matter of chance” opposing spinsterhood hence marrying Mr. Collins for financial …show more content…
Austen’s context is mirrored in Pride through the codes of behaviour, of decorum, where women were expected to “possess a certain something”. Elizabeth’s characterisation in rejecting Mr. Collins’ proposal using hyperbolic diction to deem herself “the last woman in the world who would make [him happy]” demonstrates her rational attitude, opposing social conventions.
This is seen through the mockery of Mr. Collins’ conceit characterisation through dramatic irony when mistaking Elizabeth’s attempt to leave the room to be “amiable in [his] eyes”. Elizabeth’s dependence, without conceding her femininity - a critical perspective that soon began to emerge - reflects the Enlightenment ideal of individuality. Through free indirect discourse, Austen expresses Elizabeth’s thoughts enabling a reader to experience her individuality, indiscernibly altering the responder’s appreciative perspective, such as when Elizabeth regrets misjudging Mr Darcy in that “no such happy marriage could now teach… what connubial felicity really was”. Her own ridicule of the diction discloses her individualistic self-criticism hence enhancing the responder’s appreciation for her

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