The Importance of a Reliable Character
As a novelist, Jane Austen must guide the implied reader's views in order for the complete impact of her plots to be perceived. Austen accomplishes this through many rhetorical techniques; however, she is most successful when using a reliable character's viewpoint. Several times Austen relies on a proven, sensible character to control the implied reader's opinions and reactions. With this control, Austen is able to successfully relay the novel's importance and themes.
Whoever Austen chooses to be the dependable character also determines the amount of distance that will exist between the heroine and the implied reader. Sometimes the credited character is also the pivotal character. In these instances, such as with Elinor, Austen's heroine from Sense and Sensibility, the distance is very minimal. Elinor is proven to be sensible, noble, strong, good-hearted, and loyal; therefore, the implied reader admires her respectable qualities. Because Elinor is very sensible, a variety of personalities can relate to her character.
When the distanced is closed between the reader and the heroine, the reader experiences the same emotions that the heroine expresses. When Elinor learns of Edward Ferras and Lucy Steele's engagement, the implied reader is also "mortified, shocked, and confounded" along with Elinor (Sense and Sensibility 124). Anne, from Austen's Persuasion, is an other heroine that also serves as the credited character. The implied reader is able to relate to Anne's anxiety when she is present in the same room as Captain Wentworth for the first time in eight years. When such a close relationship is formed between the heroine and the implied reader, the intensity of each sense is only amplified.
Because little distance is created between the implied reader and these heroines, the reader will rely on their opinions and adopt their views. For example, the...