Function of Letters in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Pages: 4
Words: 1215

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, published in 1893, is one of her best-known works. Despite her lack of formal schooling, Jane Austen had a wide range of literary skills. In 1811, she published her first novel, Sense and Sensibility. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice relies on an imagined enjoyable spot for ladies to gather and chat, even though the book was written during difficult times in England. Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia Bennett live with their five sisters in Georgian England. Their lives are turned upside down when Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy, their closest friend, move into their neighborhood. Jane reveals the characters’ personalities, progresses the story plot, and sheds light on the educational and social divides that the characters face through elements of function, significance, and role of letters in Pride and Prejudice.

Austen employs letters as the story’s most dramatic tool in the novel. It seems as though the characters are constantly exchanging messages. Mr. Collins, Elizabeth Bennett, Lydia, Jane, and Mr. Darcy are just a few characters who write letters in Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Collins’s letters to Mr. Bennett convey the characteristics of people in society to the viewer through their recurrence (Copeland and McMaster 190). Much more than expected might be gleaned from the way it is written. Graphology, a study that dates back to Aristotle’s time, examines handwriting to look for personality traits. Copeland and McMaster explain that “specialists may identify over 5,000 character features just by breaking down your handwriting” (190). Furthermore, the author’s ability to further into her characters’ personalities is aided by the letters that Elizabeth and Darcy exchange.

The author relies heavily on Elizabeth and Darcy’s correspondence to convey their respective characters’ social standing, ages, and personalities. The character’s sentiments are brought to light through the letter as a fresh voice presentation, revealing their interior nature. It emphasizes good letter usage from a different perspective than friendly letters (Devine 101). The author uses letters to strengthen the communication between the characters in the story. To pique the reader’s interest, a writer will craft a tale that incorporates both people and events. For instance, there is an expression, “the day went by quite quickly. Moreover, Mr. Darcy was composing while Miss Bingley observed his letter’s development” (Austen 72). In other words, the author links character and story, but when it comes to interpreting the letters, diverse players’ answers must be considered.

As the woman takes a seat next to Mr. Darcy to admire him, the author displays a touch of fun in his portrayal of the character. Interestingly, Darcy’s character is marked by pride, while Elizabeth’s is marked by prejudice. However, both of these main characters display Pride and Prejudice in their thoughts and actions against one another. Darcy is biased against Elizabeth’s family since they are from a lower class than he is (Marcella 114). Wickham’s family ties were something that he could not entirely enjoy while he was pondering proposing to Elizabeth. Therefore, he sent her out to bring a higher degree of clarity to the letter. Eventually, Lizzie had to come to this conclusion after much consideration.

Other secondary characters can learn more about their counterparts through the novel’s usage of letters. When these individuals were gone, Elizabeth selected the analysis of all letters Jane had sent to her (Austen 294). In this case, Elizabeth is enraged by Mr. Darcy’s treatment of her sister. Elizabeth is aware of this since she has read all of Jane’s letters, demonstrating her general discontentment. As Elizabeth delves deeper into the correspondence, the author reveals even more of Jane’s struggles. Finally, she reveals that things are not going well at her new home. The author intends for readers to empathize with Elizabeth and her sister’s plight.

In addition, the novel’s different letters assist in sorting out the story’s many strands. A letter from Mr. Collins indicates that he has arrived and is involvement in the plan. Letters are narrative devices in Austen’s works, as evidenced by the letters of Mr. Collins discussing how Mr. Bennett should deal with Lydia or his dissemination of rumors about Elizabeth and Darcy’s engagement (Marcela 123). Jane’s letter to Elizabeth detailing Lydia’s problem and Mrs. Gardiner’s letter to Elizabeth revealing Darcy’s participation in the planned wedding of Lydia and Wickham are examples of this. After a few days in Lambton, Elizabeth grew frustrated with the lack of a letter from Jane, which occurred on their first day there. However, on their third morning there, she received two letters from Jane, one of which stated that it had been sent to the wrong address. This ended her resentment, and she gave her sister some support. Analyzing the letters reveals the intricate challenges faced by the main characters. Communication and exchange of information are complicated by rumors, frustration, and misunderstanding, which showcase the different personality elements of each character.

Nevertheless, Lydia’s letters to her aunt, Mrs. Gardiner, are essential because they reflect their connection and personalities. Austen avoids using direct speech to convey important information to the audience through the use of letters, advancing the story. In addition, letters may be used to reveal a person’s character, as shown in Mr. Collins’ letters to Mr. Bennett. His arrival at Long Bourne and the functional purpose revealed in this letter, his personality, can fully be observed. It depicts the specifics of the law, which provided that in the absence of male successors. His property would be distributed to the closest male relative, in this case, Mr. Collins. According to his recurrent reference to Lady Catherine De Bourgh, his self-importance and social standing have elevated because of their engagement.

In addition, Jane’s letters shed light on the characters and move the plot along. Austen relies on letters to keep the plot together, which provide information that neither communicative nor visual depictions can. Letters are a good way to keep the public informed about the progress of a wide range of negotiations and collaborations. Using letters to describe events that do not need to be depicted in detail, Austen reduces the number of pages in her novel by a factor of 10.

Although tone may be conveyed through the meaning of words, written communication cannot replace speech in its entirety. It lacks the outward appearance, nonverbal communication, and manner of speaking that are all part of the conversation. Jane sends Elizabeth a letter informing her of her upcoming trip to London. Jane’s character and the sisterly relationship revealed in this letter are noteworthy (Shavkatovna 43). This letter serves as a record of Jane’s time in London. In addition, it is revealed that Jane was right about Caroline Bingley’s relationship being hollow. She now admits and accepts her mistake; in contrast, she claims that she has to be ‘nasty’ for her brother’s well-being.

In conclusion, in Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen makes extensive use of letters to advance the action and flesh out her characters’ personalities. The characters’ reactions to the letters must be conveyed through the letters. Using letters as a literary device for conveying personal sentiments is the author’s goal. Letters contribute to the development of characters, the advancement of the story, and the building of a social context. The correspondence between the characters in Pride and Prejudice reveals a great deal about them.

Works Cited

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice (International Student Edition) (Norton Critical Editions). WW Norton & Company, 2016.

Copeland, Edward, and Juliet McMaster. The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen. Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Marcela, Elena. “Self-Understanding in Emma and Pride and Prejudice.” East-West Cultural Passage 2 (2017): 109-125.

Shavkatovna, Akhmedova Hilola. Translation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” International Journal on Integrated Education 2.6 (2019): 42-46.