Explain What New Insights And Understanding You Have Gained About The Effects Of Context And Questions Of Value Through Your Comparative Study

939 words - 4 pages

Fay Weldon’s Letters to Alice on First reading Jane Austen, encourages an enhanced understanding of the values and contemporary issues of Jane Austen’s cultural context through the didactic literary form of an epistolary novel. This textual form it inspires modern readers to appreciate the difficulty of some of the characters and the values evident in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Through the addition of important information about Austen’s context: Regnancy England. Weldon’s discussion about values such as marriage, social class and the role and expectations of women within society changes a readers perspective of the themes and morals therefore changing their perceptions of events and ...view middle of the document...

Mrs Bennet says, “You [Mr Bennet] have no compassion for my poor nerves!” Mr Bennet then replies, “You mistake me, my dear. I have the utmost respect for your nerves. They've been my constant companion these twenty years.” Clearly Mr Bennet is mocking Mrs Bennet as evident through Austen’s use of the very sarcastic tone, and Austen paints this picture of Mrs Bennet for us so we devalue her opinion. Weldon also assists the responder by including contextual information to encourage the responder to see Mrs Bennet’s desperation to ensure all her daughter’s married in a more general manner. Weldon informs the responder that “Only 30% of women married…So to marry was a great prize” and women “only lived well by their husband’s favour.” This enables the responder to see the greater social and financial meaning behind marrying without love in Regency England, as the threat of facing life unsupported financially lead to being forever known as an “old maid”. On a second reading of Pride and Prejudice with Weldon’s comments in mind Mrs. Bennet’s desire to see one of her “daughters happily settled at Netherfield, and all the others equally well married” appear more realistic and reasonable to the responder. The transformation of the responder’s view of the theme of marriage and the value assigned to it within Pride and Prejudice is due to Weldon successfully unpacking the context.

Weldon’s exploration of the way Austen perceived class within the time assists the responders understanding of the theme of social status and how it are expressed and criticised in Pride and Prejudice this is explored through the Better Novel Theory where Weldon puts Literature into perspective to reshape our understanding of texts. In Austen’s novel, the divisions between classes and order created through...

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