Pride and Prejudice

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Letter Three: A training in docility

1. Identify and distinguish between the “religious morality” and “real morality” Which was Jane Austen advocating for in Pride and Prejudice (consider her examples of church morality – Wickham and Collins)? * The religious morality is more what we think we should do, and the real morality relates more to the actual society at the time and is based on action rather than thought– i.e how we behave, love etc * Austen advocates for the real morality as her religious characters in her novel, ie Collins are highly condemned * Through the actions of Elizabeth we see how Austen advocates for real morality – acts upon her own values and beliefs rather than societies expectations

2. Given your understanding of the value present in Pride and Prejudice whom does Austen approve and condemn? * Austen values those who act on their own thoughtful judgment, who act out of their own conscience – Elizabeth, Mr Darcy, The Gardiners * Austen condemns those who act purely out of expectations of society or others – Mr Collins, Lady Catherine, Miss Bingley etc and Wickham tries to deceive society

3. In this letter Aunty Fay discusses and identifies the evolving nature of society, specifically as it concerns values. Identify some of her examples. Does she believe that this evolution is always for the better of society? * In Austen’s time up until recently wealthy mothers were not as involved in raising their children, their emotional needs were not considered. * In todays society the emotional needs of children and attachment to them is much more considered and stronger * “The mother (if only by proxy) to look after the childs physical needs, and the father to see that it got an education – that the child had emotional needs was not part of the general awareness.” * Housework in Austen’s time was highly important and valued, knowledge of the way things grow and prosper and best looked after was important, unlike now – therefore doesn’t believe that this evolution is always better for society * “There was a romance, a reverence and a dignity about housework then” p44

4. Aunty Fay writes that the writer must observe their society with a “Martian’s eye”. What is the significance of this metaphor? * This metaphor suggests that writers must observe as if a stranger in a strange land objectively, whilst knowing they are a part of it – looking with an open mind * The significance of this is that it allows the writer to gain even further ideas and insights into their own society and values as well as their own beliefs and thoughts that can then be turned into words on paper

5. When we read a novel whose values do we judge it by? Aunty Fay draws a comparison between the marriage of Charlotte Lucas in Pride and Prejudice and “rich land owners [that] import Asian girls as wives.” What was your original impression of Charlotte’s marriage, how might the connections you have made caused you to challenge your own observable truths? * Initially we judge novels by our own values, as well as the writers values in how they privilege or condemn certain characters or situations * My original impression of Charlotte’s marriage was negative where I condemned her for marrying out of convenience, where we judge upon Austen’s/Elizabeth’s perspectives and values – however upon making connections with Fay Weldon’s novel, and understanding the options for women at the time, my observable truths have been challenged to understand and sympathise with her decision

LETTER 4: Jacquie and Nicola
Purpose and synopsis: Aunty Fay was in Cairns when writing Letter 4. The letter discusses the role of women and the independence women in Austen’s time lacked. She also challenges the notion of the ‘authority of the author’ and that perhaps they do not always provide accurate perceptions of the truth. 1) In this letter Aunty Fay our trust and doubt in the authority. Why do we...
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