The Theory Of Mind And Free Indirect Discourse

2066 Words9 Pages
Actions may be influenced by many different things. Many times, Society and the opinions of others are greatly influential. Other times, internal motivations are the guiding force. This fight between external and internal motivation is explored by Jane Austen in her novel Persuasion. She uses theory of mind and free indirect discourse to argue that internal motivations are better guides than persuasion from society, family, or any other outside force.
In Persuasion, thoughts are greatly privileged over actions. As a result, readers are given insight into characters’ thoughts and actions. One way this is accomplished is through Theory of Mind. This concept, developed by Lisa Zunshine, is the ability to explain behavior through their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and desires. The society in Persuasion is based upon this principle. Everybody is concerned with what other people think. They infer a certain action as an indication of either a positive or negative emotion. They also predict the emotions that a character will have as a response to a certain action. One point in the novel for which this is true is when the Elliot family is concerned with their relationship with Lady Dalrymple. They worry that she will not approve of their guests. Sir Walter is described to use his theory of mind frequently. When Anne is trying to marry Captain Wentworth, he does not care that she loves him. Rather, he is concerned with Wentworth’s social status and wealth. He did not want to have his
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