Pride And Prejudice Identity Essay

Decent Essays
In what ways is your appreciation of both texts enhanced by a comparative study of identity in Pride and Prejudice and Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen?

Identity is a multifaceted representation of one’s self as viewed by the individual and society and an exploration of identity in Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Weldon’s epistolary Letters to Alice (1984) furthers our appreciation of the texts. Both texts reflect as well as challenge societal conventions present in their Regency and post-modern contexts respectively; as they emphasize the significance of individuality and self reflection through literature in achieving success and moral development.

In Pride and Prejudice, Austen examines the attainment of true
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In Regency England, education for women was mostly limited to domestic activities and reading was an avenue for growth. Austen affirms this social more in Pride and Prejudice through Darcy’s didactic tone in, “she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.” However, she warns of reading superficially without moral reflection through Mr Bennet’s satirical censure of Mary in, “What say you, Mary?... Mary wished to say something very sensible but knew not how.” Elizabeth is initially consumed by prejudice against Darcy, emphasized by her emphatic statement, “I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” However, Darcy’s letters of explanation result in Elizabeth’s introspection and moral transformation, highlighted by the use of personal pronouns in, “How despicably have I acted!... I who have prided myself on my discernment.” Thus, the cumulative listing in, “she had been blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd” highlight Elizabeth’s self evaluation of her prejudices and resulting epiphany, which allow for self improvement and lead to her marriage with Darcy. Austen asserts that literature can provide an avenue for moral growth, if the individual is open to reflection and subsequent self
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