Narrative Techniques Used in Pride and Prejudice Essay

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Throughout this passage from Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen utilises various narrative techniques. These include dialogic qualities (showing) and the use of third person narrative including focalisation and free indirect speech (telling). Both showing and telling work on different levels to further the reader’s interpretation of different characters and give meaning to the novel as a whole. The use of dialogue allows the reader to engage in conversations between characters, thus adding drama to the novel and also giving an insight into the personalities of those speaking. In comparison, the use of telling permits the reader to observe the unspoken, private thoughts of characters and often allows for a deeper analysis of the novel.

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While Darcy alludes to the formalities of the time period being quite cordial towards Elizabeth, she is barely civil, and her wit and irony is visible as she reveals her feelings for Wickham while poking fun at Darcy. When describing Mr Wickham as being ‘unlucky’ to lose Darcy’s friendship, her satirical tone mocks Darcy’s preceding comments, however, subsequent reading of the novel show a deeper irony in Elizabeth’s misconceptions about both Wickham and Darcy. A further use of irony is visible when Elizabeth states ‘we (Elizabeth and Darcy) are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition’ this of course, especially within this passage is totally unfounded, as while Darcy may remain reserved, Elizabeth behaves quite contradictory.

The use of silence proves as important as dialogue between the two characters in the passage as it serves to reveal Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth which develop further as the novel unfolds. Although as a reader we remain sympathetic to Elizabeth’s feelings, Darcy’s good manners throughout the passage develop our compassion towards him. While all that Elizabeth says is ‘shown’ through dialogue, Darcy’s responses are via a combination of dialogue and 3rd person narrative; this, along with the use of silence, presents a sense of non-disclosure and we do not get establish Darcy’s real feelings until his letter to Elizabeth. It is clear