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Pride And Prejudice Essay, Research Paper
This passage is taken from Elizabeth and Wickham?s invitation to dinner by the
Philips? at Meryton. The passage focuses on Wickham?s wickedness and Elizabeth?s
feelings about the proceedings.
Jane Austen adopts two main forms of narrative modes, referred to as the ?telling?
and ?showing? in which the ?telling? mode of narration carries the voice of a narrator which
summarizes the actions and thoughts of the characters, whereas the more dramatic
mode of ?showing? uses dialogues which allow the reader to visualize and hear the
?characters act and speak for themselves.? These techniques allow the novelist to create
an understanding of the various dispositions and shape the impressions and ideas the
readers would get by the portrayed attitude of the characters.
The passage begins with ?telling? in which the narrator introduces us to Mr
Wickham whose inquisitive and discreet manners is exposed when he whispers to
Elizabeth with the intention to inquire on how Mr Collins is associated ?with the family of
de Bough.? Wickham as we understand later in the novel, is a fortune-hunter and his
curiosity here, gives hint to this mercenary attribute. Wickham also sways Elizabeth?s
attention from the rest of the guests and indulge himself in gossip and this action during
a social gathering, exposes to the readers, Wickham?s unethical manners.
The passage proceeds by ?showing? all of Wickham?s subtleties at wickedness
and manipulation, which is part of Austen?s narrative technique of revealing her
characters through their speech. Wickham?s character as the villain in Pride and
Prejudice is invented not only to intensify the plot in the novel but also to heightens
Elizabeth?s prejudice and the negative impression she has of Darcy, which later resulted
in her rejection of Darcy?s marriage proposal. Not only through Austen?s ?telling? that we
are aware of Wickham?s ability to manipulate, but Austen is also ?showing? us this side of
him when he deliberately assumes that Elizabeth ?know of course that Lady Catherine de
Bough and Lady Anne Darcy were sisters?, in order to make sure that Elizabeth has no
knowlegde of ?Lady Catherine?s connections?, before he proceed to malign Darcy and his
family. Wickham is cunning enough to go a step further to furnish Elizabeth on their
relationship with Darcy, knowing that Elizabeth will be keen to partake in the
conversation, whenever Darcy is the object. Elizabeth reassures him that ?……I did not.- I
knew nothing at all of Lady Catherine?s connections. I never heard of her existence till
the day before yesterday.? Elizabeth?s quick affirmations of her having absolutely no
idea of Darcy or of his family shows an element of impatience and hunger for more
information about the topic being discussed. T
Knowing of the possible matrimonial attachment between Darcy and Miss de
Baugh, ?made Elizabeth smile as she thought of poor Miss Bingley.? Here, there is a shift
from direct speech to a term referred to as ?focalization?, whereby the ?point of view
conveyed is that of Elizabeth? showing her satisfaction over the fact that Miss Bingley
has no chance of having Darcy for herself as he is ?self-destined to another?. The
narrator?s ?telling? shows elements of sarcasm and mockery on the part of Elizabeth
towards Miss Bingley whose ?affection for his sister and her praise of himself?, was
thought to be ?vain and useless.? This shows that all along, Elizabeth is aware of Miss
Bingley?s effort to impress Darcy, which portrays her ability to ?read? the behaviour of
other characters. Austen also throws subtle irony on Elizabeth?s reaction to the news
which reveals her unconscious interests on Darcy.
everyone connected with him should have an understanding of the first class?.
Here, it is obvious that Wickam is actually targetting his statement at Darcy and his
ulterior motive of providing the information on Darcy?s family, is done solely to serve his
own interests. He main intention is to jeopardize Darcy?s reputation. His remarks which
emphasize on Darcy?s class-consciousness help heighten Elizabeth?s dislike against him
(Darcy). Wickham?s sly and manipulative nature is again depicted in this aspect. Austen
weakens the readers negative impression of Darcy by ?contrasting him with Mr Wickham.?
Darcy?s conceited manners remain unpleasant but he does not participate in Miss
Bingley?s nasty dismissals of Elizabeth and her family. Though well liked by many,
Wickham?s ability of sullying Darcy?s family in front of a comparative stranger further
reveals his lack of self respect.
The final paragraph returns to the narrative mode of ?telling? which focalizes on
Elizabeth?s feelings on the event that has just taken place. Elizabeth perceives that
Wickham ?had given a very rational account of it? which is obviously derived from her
prejudice against Darcy. The narrator then slips into the voice of the neighbourhood, a
term known as ?free indirect speech?, which says that Wickham?s ?manners
recommended him to everybody. Whatever he said, was said well…..? . This method of
narration allows Austen to create an impression of a small, close-knit society largely
dependent upon reports, gossips and superficial impressions. Austen does not wish to
focus too much on Lydia and Collins and therefore summarizes their actions and
conversation largely through the eyes of Elizabeth. This paragraph has both the
narrative modes of ?telling? and ?showing? especially when she the narrator summarizes
Lydia and Collin?s actions, through the eyes of Elizabeth.
This passage carries the themes of pride, prejudice, money, appearance versus
reality and marriage. Both Darcy and Elizabeth have pride in themselves prejudice for
each other. Darcy takes pride in his social standings and is too class conscious which
resulted in him being prejudice against Elizabeth. The accumulation of wealth has
provide him with so much confidence and pride. Elizabeth on the other hand takes pride
in her ability to study characters and has so much confidence in her first impression of
people. She is able to perceive that something is wrong between Darcy and Wickham
and she is extremely perspective about Collins, after reading his letter and wonder if he
is a sensible man. However even with this perception, her judgement is clouded by her
prejudice which is too strong against Mr Darcy that she becomes too gullible in trusting
Wickham. Elizabeth despise Darcy because he snubs her and hurts her pride by
refusing to dance with her. Due to this unpleasant first impression, Elizabeth readily
believes Wickham?s words because his ?very countenance may vouch for his being
amiable?. Her rash inclination causes her to be more convinced of Darcy?s unworthiness
of character. However, both Darcy and Elizabeth have to lower their pride and discard
their prejudices if they need to live in harmony together.
Wickham?s fine countenance, and good manners have made him popular with the
people in the neighbourhood but in reality, he is an evil man, who is wealth seeking and
elopes with Lydia, causing tension in the novel. Austen shows the danger of trusting
one?s first impression and basing our judgement on appearance. However, Austen
characters are able to learn from their mistakes evident when Elizabeth scolded herself
for her misjudgements and for being too trusting of Wickham. Her first impression of
Darcy and Wickham shows that she is human and is prone to make mistake and to learn
from those mistakes.
The passage hints on the matrimonial attachments between Darcy and Miss de
Bough. This type of marriage is too ?business-like?, involving the possession of wealth
between two people from the came social positions. Marriage is seen to be a very
important issue during that era as women are pressure to leave her house and follow her
husband. In Pride and Prejudice, Austen makes it clear that a faithful, rational
relationship is desirable and Elizabeth and Darcy, though clearly an inversion of romantic
expectations meets this criteria. However, Charlotte-Collins relationship is also
unconventional but suffers some criticism. Mr and Mrs Bennet marriage is depicted as
one which could not provide a good model for their children. Mr Bennet has a
disinterested attitude towards his family gives reason to Lydia?s effrontery to elope. He is
also not wise in handling his money matters which makes him unable to pay Wickham?s
This passage displays many of the narrative techniques and themes Austen uses
in the novel as a whole, which shows her skill as an author.
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