Analysis Of Chapter 11 Of "Pride And Prejudice"

1078 words - 4 pages

Chapter 11 of "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen opens with two lines from the third person, or omniscient narrator, who is focalizing through Elizabeth Bennett. Focalizing, meaning that it is the narrator's voice that speaks, but we see through the eyes of the characters, gives us the chance to understand the characters without direct dialogue. By telling us that Elizabeth was 'growing more angry but trying to compose herself' (Pride and Prejudice, p148) you start to understand that something important must have happened in order to have affected Elizabeth in such a profound way. You can also begin to empathise with Elizabeth, and justify her anger as Mr Darcy has asked her to marry him, although he has more or less said that she is not worthy of the question.

Dialogue then begins from Elizabeth to Mr Darcy. Dialogue is used to reveal the character of the speaker and it also adds drama to the story. Not only are the words spoken important, it is also significant how the words are said. We already know that Elizabeth is angry, and are therefore not surprised that she rejects his offer of marriage. In this paragraph, Elizabeth explains to Mr Darcy that the way in which he had proposed to her had spared her the concern she might have had in refusing him. Using the word might here makes Elizabeth seem flippant, that she wants to convey to Mr Darcy that she might have actually had concerns about him, had he not been so awful to her. It seems ironic that Elizabeth tells Mr Darcy that he could have behaved in a more gentleman-like manner, when her manner in judging him so harshly has not been very ladylike! Austin uses irony to define and expand upon social themes in Pride and Prejudice including the correct judgement of others. Irony is defined as 'the expression of a meaning contrary to the stated or ostensible one' (Approaching Prose Fiction, p31).

The narrator then uses the technique of telling, that is, she describes what Mr Darcy is feeling ' she saw him start at this, but he said nothing' (Pride and Prejudice, p148) while still focalizing through Elizabeth. By using this technique rather than dialogue, we have the advantage of it being precise and concise, as we can usually trust the narrator, being omniscient, to convey situations as they occur in reality.

Narration continues in the third person, telling us how astonished Mr Darcy is that Elizabeth has refused his proposal. From the words used, astonishment, mingled incredulity and mortification, we get the idea that Mr Darcy had absolutely no idea that Elizabeth would turn him down. We start to make judgements about Mr Darcy's attitude, and think him very egotistical, although it is expected as we have built up a perception of Mr Darcy's character throughout the book as someone who thinks highly of themselves.

Through dialogue again from Elizabeth she seems to be reminding Mr Darcy of the first acquaintance between them, 'she is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me,...

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