Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen is a well-written and respected novel. Throughout Pride and Prejudice Austen uses a range of different narrative techniques in order to interest and inform her audience. Austen takes on a different aspect in Chapter 35 in the form of letters. In this essay, I will attempt to show how Austen tells the story in Chapter 35 and the effect it has on the novel. Austen opens Chapter 35 with ‘free indirect style ‘, this is a form of narrative voice in which a character’s thoughts and feelings seem to be directly expressed, freely taking on views and often the language of that character. ‘Elizabeth awoke the next morning to the same thoughts and meditations which had at length closed her eyes ‘. This is an obvious example of free indirect style it takes on the thoughts and feelings of Elizabeth and allows the reader to emotionally engage with her.
Austen cleverly uses this technique to allow the reader to create an intimate and emotionally engaging relationship with Elizabeth. By using this narrative technique at the opening of the chapter allows the reader to connect to the character so throughout the chapter the reader can take on the thoughts and feelings of Elizabeth. ‘Free indirect style ‘ is a subtle take on ‘stream of consciousness ‘ and refers to the character in the third person. This style coincides with Austen’s previous choices of narrative techniques and moves the narration from a more detached voice to one that is more intimately connected to one character.
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In Chapter 35, letterform is predominantly used throughout; Austen uses this technique cleverly to move the plot of the novel along. The letter helps communicate important information in a short amount of time that would have taken a lot longer in narrative form. ‘Two offences of a very different nature, and by no means of equal magnitude, you last night laid to my charge.’ This is a turning point in the novel; it allows both the character and the reader to understand the motivation behind the character’s actions. By Austen using this aspect of the narrative, she has cleverly allowed the narrative to intensify quickly and allowed changes in characters’ views to one another to take place.
In the letterform, the narrative voice is taken on by Mr.Darcy. This allows the reader to find out more about his character and may give an opportunity for the reader’s opinion of him to change. By the use of a letter, it enables the author to reveal the character and personality of the writer, to the audience. It may be argued that this letter from Darcy to Elizabeth is an example of ‘stream of consciousness ‘, however in letter form, it takes on a chronological structure, with slight flashbacks to the past. ‘The part which I acted is now to be explained’. This supports the argument that a letter does not take on the style of ‘stream of consciousness ‘ but may take certain aspects of it. Darcy’s letter does allow the reader to imitate the qualities and thoughts in his head, but the use of grammar and structure suggests otherwise.
‘Is now to be explained ‘shows that the character has had to plan and think about the choice of diction and language to present in their letter. The language and diction used by Mr. Darcy throughout the letter are very formal and educated and takes on a Latinate manner. One main objection in Darcy’s letter to Miss Bennet is to inform her of his relationship with Mr.Wickham. Austen has cleverly interpreted this part of her plot into letter form to allow the information to be addressed in a character’s own experience. ‘But whatever may be the sentiments which Mr.Wickham has created’. This shows the reader that in previous encounters with Mr.Wickham he may have taken on the role of an unreliable narrator. This is where the narrator is perhaps self-deceiving or cannot be trusted to give an account of a version of events that has occurred. This is also a turning point in the novel because Elizabeth, along with the reader, has discovered Wickham to be an unreliable narrator, which may change her thoughts and feelings towards Mr.Darcy.
Elizabeth realizes how she has acted with Wickham and learns the truth. Austen has used this information to show the reader Darcy’s point of view on his relationship with Wickham and allows the reader to change their own opinions. The letter finishes with Mr. Darcy addressing Elizabeth directly in a manner which the reader has not previously seen. Austen uses this technique to allow the reader to connect with the character’s actions and thoughts. ‘I will only add, God bless you. FITZWILLIAM DARCY’. This again shows that Mr.Darcy writes in a very formal manner and gives an impression of a well-educated man. ‘God bless you ‘, this is an obvious example of Darcy’s admiration towards Elizabeth. Austen has cleverly used this choice of diction to give a clear example of strong feelings between two characters in her novel. This always allows the reader to understand Darcy’s character, it shows that he does have an affectionate side to him but he does not know how to express it.
Austen has used letter form to her advantage throughout this chapter and is the first direct address in her novel, with elements of different narrative techniques. Throughout Chapter 35 Austen has cleverly used a range of narrative techniques to allow a relationship to form between the reader and characters, and their opinions to change. Austen has successfully enabled the reader to understand the motivation behind the character’s action and allowed the narrative to intensify quickly. By taking on a letter from Austen has revealed the character’s traits and personalities and provided information in an engaging way. Chapter 35 is classed as a turning point in the plot and takes on a major role in the novel as a whole.