Book Comparison Essay

619 words - 2 pages

Two pre-novel genres that connect Frances Burney’s book, “Evelina” and Eliza Haywood’s, “Love in Excess” are letter exchanges and conduct books. These two genres affect the novels completely different. For “Evelina”, letter writing becomes a way of story telling and plot summary, but for “Love in Excess”, it becomes a ways for the characters to reveal hidden feelings and secret plans. Both books entail conflict that results in misconduct revealing to the reader how a lady should behave.
These two books use their genres differently. In Burney’s book “Evelina”, the entire story is a series of letter exchanges. Most of the book consists of letters written from Evelina to her guardian, Reverend Mr. Villars, regarding the events of her stay in London. Burney adapted Evelina’s letters to tell all the events of her day. I think that this technique is impractical because in the letters she details conversations and elaborately describes her days. If Evelina had really been writing these letters, it would have taken hours. Although the use of letters is effective, it is highly fictitious.
Through her letters, Evelina reveals herself as a misfit. This character flaw creates a comical effect, and like a conduct book, it establishes examples for a young women’s expected behavior during this time period. In the beginning of her stay in London, England, Evelina is invited to a private ball where the beginning of many of her mistakes takes place. A “beau” (later revealed as Mr. Lovell) asks her to dance and Evelina laughs in his face because of his “foppish” clothes, and she denies his request (32). Then the charming Lord Orville asks her to dance and she accepts. After Lovell witness this, he is insulted and approaches Evelina, he says, “May I know what accident I must attribute not having the honor of your hand? […] for surely, -I must take the liberty to observe- pardon me, Madam,- it ought to...

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