Connections enrich understanding in the pairs of texts set for study. To what extent is this made evident in the texts you have studied? (Pride and Prejudice and Letters to Alice)
Through exploring the connections between Jane Austen’s canonical Pride and Prejudice and Fay Weldon’s Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen readers gain a better understanding of the ways the values explored in the former are reshaped to contextually fit the latter. Although Austen and Weldon voice their perceptions and criticisms of society in different ways, they both explore women’s position and the expectations of women in society, whilst also exploring women’s journey towards independence and self-development through a common use of letters and the exploration of the value of literature.
Both Austen and Weldon make perceptions and criticisms of their societies although both authors omit the political and economical events of their times “surely from choice rather than ignorance”. Furthermore, Weldon is able to criticise Austen’s society more harshly than Austen could as she is “looking at a society from the outside in, not the inside out.” Weldon also critiques her own society as can be seen through the repetition of ‘too’ in “you are, I suspect… too secure in your opinions to care much about what goes on in your society”. It is here we see the irony of Weldon’s didactic criticism of Alice’s generation; she accuses Alice’s generation of being unaware of the conditions of her society even though she herself makes little reference to these conditions. This examination of the ways in which both authors criticise their societies results in an enriched understanding of each author’s individual societal context.
One main category under which perceptions of the author’s societies are made is through both an implicit and explicit exploration of women’s position and their inequality and dependence on men within their societies. Weldon’s explanation of women’s...
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