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Analyse The Use Of Narrative Voice And Dialogue, In The Passage From Pride & Prejudice By Jane Austen, Volume Iii, Chapter 17.

1097 words - 4 pages

This episode is only two chapters from the end of the story; Mr Darcy is asking Mr Bennet for his daughter’s hand in marriage. At this stage the reader will be harbouring very different emotions towards the characters than they would have done only a few chapters earlier. The extended and convoluted growth of Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship has finally come to fruition and this must result in a feeling of satisfaction and excitement from the reader. The narrator, who first introduced himself with the universal truth that ‘a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’, has just confirmed that truth within the telling of the story. The placement of this passage within the novel as a whole is extremely relevant when discussing the narrative voice and dialogue used within it; are Austen’s narrative practices comparative to those used throughout the book, or are there some differences to be identified?The narrator of Pride and Prejudice is omniscient and in the third person, meaning that it can see directly into the characters’ players’ thoughts and interpret them as it will. However the narrator’s reliability is often called into question and sometimes it appears to be teasing the reader as much as the women within the book tease the men around them. In the opening paragraph of this passage Austen uses free indirect speech to help convey Elizabeth’s anxiety over what is about to happen, and also to make the reader feel a certain level of tension and excitement themselves.‘She did not fear her father’s opposition, but he was going to be made unhappy, and that it should be through her means, that she, his favourite child, should be distressing him by her choice, should be filling him with fears and regrets..’ (p288)The narrator is telling us how Elizabeth is feeling, but the tone and pace of the words seem to infuse them with Elizabeth’s own emotions and feelings. This technique encourages the reader to feel sympathy for Elizabeth and also sweeps them up in the tension of the moment. The repetition and stressing of the personal pronoun, ‘she’ and ‘her’, creates an intense atmosphere of worry and anxiety as Elizabeth seems to be already placing blame upon herself for her father’s future distress.When Elizabeth goes to speak with Mr Bennet, Austen uses the different narrative techniques of ‘showing’ and ‘telling’ to convey the conversation. Most of Mr Bennet’s speech is directly portrayed to the reader, ‘’Lizzy,’ said he, ‘what are you doing?’’, while large portions of Elizabeth’s responses are not relayed at all, the narrator just summarises what she is saying ‘and she assured him with some confusion, of her attachment to Mr Darcy’. This is a strange narrative device, as for most of the novel it has been Elizabeth, the main focalizer of the narrator and our heroine,...

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