Narrative Voice In Pride And Prejudice

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This extract is from the concluding chapter of Pride and Prejudice. This chapter has the tone of a leisurely ‘coda’ to the events that have led to the culmination of the novel. At this stage, following the marriages of Jane Bennet to Mr Bingley, and of Elizabeth to Mr Darcy, all has been revealed, and there is nothing left but for the narrative voice to sum up the story and tie up loose ends. The extract employs two different techniques to inform the reader of the details of the long-anticipated ‘happily ever after’ for the main characters of Elizabeth and Jane, and of the less-than-happy circumstances of their sister Lydia and her husband Wickham. The two techniques used are the omniscient narrative voice, and a letter. In this essay I shall discuss these techniques as well as the themes in the passages, and will also attempt to examine how these techniques are used to best effect in bringing the novel to a satisfactory conclusion. The narrative voice that has been present throughout Pride and Prejudice is an anonymous, omniscient or ‘all-knowing’ one which shifts between simply relating events as they occur, reflecting on such events and sometimes directly giving opinions of the characters. Austen’s narrative voice is as much an invented persona as the rest of the characters in Pride and Prejudice. Through this persona, the author is able to tell the story ‘behind the scenes’ and even directly influence the reader’s opinions of the characters. Thus this is very effective in conveying certain messages about the characters, more so than if the author had chosen to write in another narrative voice, such as in the first person. However, to sustain the tension in the story and to allow the reader to ‘experience’ Elizabeth Bennet’s journey towards self-discovery, the author

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