Essay on Letters in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
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Letters in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice is one of the great love stories of our time. Its continued popularity shows that its essential story can still be adapted to modern day life. Set in the 1800s, it tells the love story of two people who gradually learn to understand each other and themselves. In the time that the novel is set, modern means of communication, for example telephones and computers were not yet invented. The most effective way of corresponding, especially over long distances, were letters. In this period, when people met in formal circumstances, for instance at a ball, where they were in company and never alone, they could not express their inner thoughts. Letters provided a…show more content…
The tone Mr Collins uses immediately suggests a serious, aloof man who is self important, and this is reflected in his style, where the points he makes are laboured and unclear. He does not always use very specific language and his elaborate sentence structure and lack of paragraphs underpin this impression.
“I feel it my duty to promote and establish the blessing of peace within the reach of my influence”.
This illustrates the long winded sentences that Mr Collins often uses.
Mr Collins mentions in his letter that he has recently been ordained; this might suggest that this vocation requires humility, compassion and understanding. However, in complete contrast to this, Mr Collins seems to use it as an opportunity to elevate his status. The only time does he appear to be servile is when mentioning Lady Catherine De
“I have been so fortunate as to be distinguished by the patronage of the Right Honourable Lady Catherine De Bourgh”
Mr Collins believes mentioning Lady Catherine De Bourgh would impress the Bennet family and raise his status in their eyes. However he only succeeds in appearing a fool, and gives the impression that the lifestyle he leads is only to serve, which makes him appear dull, limited and superior in attitude.
The content of his letters includes him inviting himself to visit; this assumption implies that he is pompous by not asking the Bennet’s permission to come. He thinks that
The Importance Of Letters In Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice
The Importance of Letters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
To reveal how useful the letters are in ‘Pride and Prejudice’, we need
to look at the history behind letter writing. Jane Austen’s novel,
‘Pride and Prejudice’ was written in 1813. The main form of
communication then was by letters. However, they did not have a
Central Postal system that we have today, where if you want to send a
letter or parcel urgently then it could arrive within a few hours,
instead they had their mail sent by Mail Coach. Although, you could
send the mail by ‘express’, which was where you would pay an extra
amount of money to have your mail sent faster, for example Mr
Gardiner’s letter in chapter 44 was sent by express.
There were no separate envelopes so letters were folded and the
address would be written on the back, often they would seal it using
wax. If the letter was private then the writer may have made an
envelope which would be made from simply folding paper. In chapter 35
Darcy makes an envelope for his letter to Elizabeth because it is so
long. Paper would have been extremely expensive in Jane Austen’s time,
so to save paper the writer would write in the margins making sure
they used up every space upon the paper. The letters would have been
written using a pen made from a quill feather, which would have been
sharpened to a point and dipped in ink.
The lost original first version of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was written
in epistolary form and was called, ‘First Impressions’. Other
eighteenth century authors wrote in this form. A twentieth century
novel also written in epistolary form is, ‘The Color Purple’, Alice
In total there are 40 letters either paraphrased or directly quoted
in the novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Letters are useful because they
give secrecy between two characters allowing for complete privacy.
They allow the characters to express feelings they can never convey
aloud, they have time to think. Letters allow one to reveal their
thoughts more personally and intimately than they can in person.
Staring at a blank page of paper is definitely less intimidating than
looking into someone’s eyes. Letters allow you to communicate without
travelling yourself. They are good for the use of invitations.
Communication is such an important vitality, and letter-writing lacks
the loss of words, stuttering, awkward silences, and uneasiness that
conversations can sometimes carry. You can read a letter over and over
again each time gaining a better understanding. In Chapter 36
Elizabeth reads the letter from Darcy intently it quotes, ‘… commanded
herself so for as to examine the meaning of every sentence.’, ‘she
read and re-read with the closest attention.’, ‘Again she read on….’
They show that you can study a letter and read beyond the surface.
As a reader a letter makes you feel as if you are prying. It gives you
a quick coverage so you know what is happening in the novel. They are
used to catch...
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