Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Essay Example
Jane Austen, the author of one of the most unforgettable English classics “Pride and Prejudice”, is quite unique in the way she describes her characters. This way of character description has been frenetically explored by critics. There is a beautiful blend of the voice of the narrator and the thoughts of the characters which can be found in the novel “Pride and Prejudice.” Characters are described through the narrative technique. This essay aims to “illustrate how the narrative style of character description used by Austen to give her readers an idea about psychological depth of Mr. Darcy’s character is not quite objective.”
It is suggested that the voice of the narrator is quite polemical in the novel under analysis in this essay. This bitter or critical tone added to the fact that some of her characters come across as recluses helps to emphasize the voice for each character. For example, Mr. Darcy is almost a social recluse and he is introduced as such. Added to this is the narrator’s polemical voice which serves to reveal Mr. Darcy as “the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world” (Austen 13). Through this narrative style of character description, we come to understand that Mr. Darcy is quite haughty, brash, and conceited. He has a particular dislike for low connections and prefers to connect with people of high social standing. His haughtiness damages his relationship with Elizabeth. This psychology of Mr. Darcy’s character which tells readers what kind of a person he is pronounced by free indirect speech. This technique was promoted by Austen through her works and forms the bedrock of the novel under analysis also. This technique presents to readers a blend of the narrator’s voice and the characters’ dialogues. It helps to understand the essence of characters.
The depths of a character’s psychology are mostly narrated with the help of his/her interaction with other characters. This is a distinctive narrative style used by Austen. This is a unique blend which is sometimes reliable, but mostly unreliable. This is because mostly readers are led by the narrator to think of Mr. Darcy as harshly as others think of him. So, this narrative technique used by Austen keeps the readers from getting an objective picture of Mr. Darcy’s psychology. This novel by Austen has much dialogue because there are many dialogue exchanged between characters. There is also narrative description. All of this helps to give each of her characters a distinctive voice which clearly makes every character unique. Elizabeth’s point of view and her thoughts are often narrated by the narrator more than Mr. Darcy’s which helps to give her character a sympathetic hue and her male counterpart’s character a distant and wry aura. For example, he is described as “a most disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing” (Austen 17).
We often get to see Mr. Darcy from Elizabeth’s eyes because she is so well liked by the narrator. This is why the narrator lures her readers into trusting Elizabeth’s judgments about Mr. Darcy to take him for how Elizabeth sees him. This is the narrative trick which deceives the readers because Mr. Darcy is exclusively described through Elizabeth’s feelings and thoughts. This is why the narrator’s voice cannot be considered objective because it does not objectively describe Mr. Darcy. Rather, we get to taste Elizabeth’s take on Mr. Darcy’s psychology. For example, when introducing Mr. Darcy, the narrator says that he was well-liked for half the evening till his manner gave him away. This introduction is given at the time when Elizabeth is also present in the same social gathering, so we get to psychologically understand Mr. Darcy as understood by Elizabeth. It is narrated that “he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased” (Austen 13). Mr. Darcy is actually only socially awkward and shy, but his character is not described by the narrator objectively. Rather, the narrator or Austen describes Mr. Darcy’s character by narrating other people’s thoughts and feelings. So, the psychological depth of his character is revealed through interaction with others.
Concluding, the above discussion proves that the narrative style of describing characters used by Austen is biased and misleading. Though Mr. Darcy is actually only shy and brutally honest, these two qualities are perceived by others in his company as haughtiness and indifference. This is what the readers are led to believe also by the narrator because the character is revealed not as it is in a straightforward manner, rather through his interaction with others.
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Plain Label Books, 2008. Print.