Narrative Voice and Dialogue in "Pride and Prejudice", volume III, chapter ix by Jane Austen.

Essay by LanisseUniversity, Bachelor'sB, May 2006

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In a continuous essay of not more than 1000 words, analyse this passage, discussing the ways in which narrative voice and dialogue are used (From Pride and Prejudice, volume III, chapter ix by Jane Austen).

Throughout "Pride and Prejudice", Jane Austen uses a limited omniscient (third person) point of view, focalized through the character of Elizabeth Bennett. The novel is written with a tone of genteel informality that clearly echoes Elizabeth's intelligent wit and deliciously ironic take on the mores the day, and never more so than in the opening sentence; "It is a truth universally acknowledged... etc.". We are never made particularly aware of the presence of the narrator, as s/he remains remote from the action, however, this use of third person narration allows the reader access to both external and internal events; often within the same passage.

The extract under analysis begins with a short monologue; in which Lydia, in a typically immature, gossipy tone, imparts to her sisters the events of her stay with the Gardiners in London.

Lydia's speech could almost be described as "stream of consciousness as it flutters from thought to thought with only a few pauses. This dramatic use of direct speech is a device commonly used to provoke a response from the reader, and certainly succeeds in this case. The passage leaves us with a strong feeling of irritation at Lydia's absolute lack of shame.

Austen imbues Lydia's words with all the selfishness of spoiled youth. Lydia's character is shown through her actions, words and deeds until the reader is left in no doubt of the unreliability of her character. In fact, Lydia's general attitude and character is so well expressed in this dialogue that the author need make no use of any other narrative form; i.e. telling.

Lydia's unreliability is at...