It is often said that communication, or lack of, can throw a major wrench in a story plot- but sometimes it can be considered a blessing in disguise. If you were to compare the story plot of Jane Austens’ Pride and Prejudice against that of Graham Swifts’ Waterland, you would hardly find any similarity. However the effects that communication and miscommunication have on each of the characters create a parallel between the two novels.
Throughout Austens’ entire novel, miscommunication plays a key role in the relationships between characters. One of the most interesting miscommunications can be found between Jane and Mr. Darcy. Unfortunately, he mistakes Jane’s modesty for disinterest in his good friend Mr. Bingley. So, through failure to show her true feelings of love for this man she encourages his friend to act out, whisking him away to London and adding a good deal of tension to the plot.
Then, in a horrid act of communication, Caroline Bingley sends a letter to Jane explaining her brother will likely marry Mr. Darcys sister, “Georgiana Darcy…My brother admires her greatly already, he will have frequent opportunity now of seeing her on the most intimate footing, her relations all wish the connection as much as his own…Am I wrong, my dearest Jane, in indulging the hope of an event which will secure the happiness of so many?” Clearly, communication is not always in the best interest of the character. This news only caused great distress for Jane and so increased the dislike that Elizabeth felt for Mr. Darcy, upon her finding out that Mr. Bingleys leaving was all his own doing.
As is later discovered in the story, Elizabeth falls in love with a side of Mr. Darcy that she did not know existed. A side of him that she only discovered due to a minor miscommunication on her sisters part, that resulted in her inability to send an urgent letter to Elizabeth three days earlier, calling her back home. It was in these three days that she toured his lovely home, Pemberley Woods, learned stories of him from his housekeeper and was able to see him as a courteous, kind, and amiable gentleman. Only then, did she begin to fall in love with him. So, clearly these miscommunications can cause an equal amount of pleasure as they do pain.
Unfortunately they do cause a great deal of pain, as you can see in Swifts’ Waterland novel. From the very beginning it is clear that the story is built on miscommunication, which allows the author to create a rapidly-thickening plot. However, it is not only the main characters, but all characters that are affected. In an effort to communicate where babies come from, a panicked Henry Crick lies to his one son, “They come from love, Dick. They’re made with- love.” With this in mind, Dick learns that Mary is pregnant, and he believes that their love...