In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s usage of letters allows the reader
to fully comprehend the situation and certain feelings of the characters.
The Usage of Jane’s Letters in Pride and Prejudice
In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s usage of letters allows the
reader to fully comprehend the situation and certain feelings of the
characters. For example, the two letters sent by Jane Bennet to
Elizabeth Bennet in Chapter 46 allow the novel to arrive at a turning
point in many different aspects. The obvious purpose of the written
letters is to inform the reader of the events at hand regarding Lydia
Bennet and Mr. Wickham. However, these letters allow changes to take
place in other relationships as well.
Jane Bennet illustrates herself much in the letters that she
composes. She is constantly optimistic and trusts people immensely,
shown in the lines “But I am willing to hope the best, and that his
character has been misunderstood.” Jane is constantly considering the
feelings of other people and she conveys that she does not like to
impose on others. She states in the second letter, “Now as the first
shock is over, shall I own that I long for your return? I am not so
selfish, however, as to press for it, if inconvenient.” Even in her
opening statement in the first distressed letter Jane states, “I am
afraid of alarming you-be assured that we are all well.” These
statements easily show her compassion and consideration for others.
When describing the state of the rest of the family because of Lydia’s
actions, Jane precedes each of their names with the word “poor.” For
example, she writes “my poor mother is really ill and keeps to her
room,” and “Poor Kitty has anger for having concealed their
This shows that she is more concerned about the indirect effects of
Lydia’s undertakings rather than the occurrence itself.
In addition, Elizabeth Bennet conveys herself well by her reactions to
the letters. After reading the first letter, she “seized the other,
and opened it with the utmost impatience.” When she finished the
second letter, she cried out for her uncle and “darted from her seat
as she finished the letter.” While Jane Bennet reacts in a calmer
fashion, Elizabeth reacts in a more fervent method. Elizabeth had a
“pale face and impetuous manner” as she ran towards the door, only to
be stopped by Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth reacts immediately to the letters
and although she is with her new fiancé, she states that she must
leave him as she “has not an instant to lose.” She is extremely
concerned for her family as well as their reputations and is willing
to help in every way that she possibly can.
Mr. Darcy responds to the occurrences in a manner that shows he is
quite the gentleman. He asks Elizabeth to let him or the servant go
after her aunt and uncle rather than Elizabeth, because she was “not
well enough” and she cannot go herself. Mr. Darcy attempts everything
in order to help...