You are on page 1of 2

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

Historical context Pride and Prejudice was written in a period in history when England was at height of its power. The Industrial Revolution changed the British society and economy. The social milieu of Austens Regency England was particularly stratified, and class divisions were rooted in family connections and wealth. While social advancement for young men lay in the military, church, or law, the chief method of self-improvement for women was the acquisition of wealth. Women could only accomplish this goal through successful marriage, which explains the ubiquity of matrimony as a goal and topic of conversation in Austens writing. Though young women of Austens day had more freedom to choose their husbands than in the early eighteenth century, practical considerations continued to limit their options. In her work, Austen is often critical of the assumptions and prejudices of upper-class England. She distinguishes between internal merit (goodness of person) and external merit (rank and possessions). Though she frequently satirizes snobs, she also pokes fun at the poor breeding and misbehavior of those lower on the social scale. Nevertheless, Austen was in many ways a realist, and the England she depicts is one in which social mobility is limited and class-consciousness is strong. Though publishing anonymously prevented her from acquiring an authorial reputation, it also enabled her to preserve her privacy at a time when English society associated a females entrance into the public sphere with a reprehensible loss of femininity. Additionally, Austen may have sought anonymity because of the more general atmosphere of repression pervading her era. As the Napoleonic Wars (18001815) threatened the safety of monarchies throughout Europe, government censorship of literature proliferated.

Point of view Pride and Prejudice, similar to other Austen novels, is written in gentle or Horacian satire. The tone of the novel is light, satirical, and vivid or in Jane Austens words light and bright and sparkling. The novel is primarily told from Elizabeth Bennets point of view. The story is told in the third-person (limited omniscient - the story is told through Elizabeth) narrative. As a result, the mood of the novel lacks dramatic emotions. The atmosphere is intellectual and cold. The emotions in the novel are to be perceived beneath the surface of the story and are not to be expressed to the readers directly. The story is in chronological order and doesnt have any flashbacks or flash forwards. The main actions of the novel are the interactions between opinions, ideas, and attitudes, which weaves and advances the plot of the novel. The time sometimes skips ahead to more important periods and at other times, it seems because that part of the story is explained so detailed, as if time is standing still.By using narrative (free indirect speech) that adopts the tone and vocabulary of a particular character , Austen invites the reader to follow events from Elizabeth's viewpoint, sharing her prejudices and misapprehensions

From a literary and cultural point of view, Jane Austen clearly stands between the Age of Enlightment and Romanticism.