Changes in context and form offer fresh perspectives on the values of texts. How does Weldon’s Letter to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen reveal her response to the values explored in Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice?
Fay Weldon’s non fiction text, Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen, uses Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, to create connections between the values of the modern world and that of Austen’s. Through a range of literary techniques, Weldon is able to compare the values of the 20th century to that of regency England in the 19th century. The values that Weldon draws upon include, marriage, the social hierarchy and the importance of reading and literature.
The importance of marriage is a concept that is universal in Austen’s time and Weldon’s contemporary society. The author’s ironic intrusion immediately at the start of Pride and Prejudice , “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”, displays the urgency for marriage in Austen’s time and foreshadows the theme for the rest of the novel. It is ironic as it is in fact the women in the novel who were the ones who were in search of husbands to secure them financially with happiness being a bonus. These societal values and expectations are made evident through Charlotte Lucas’ dialogue with Elizabeth Bennet when she says “I am not romantic, I ask only for a comfortable home and considering Mr. Collin’s character, connections and situation in life, I am convinced my chances with him is as fair as most can boast upon entering the marriage state.” The use of first person emphasises the perceptions of marriage as for wealth and connections rather than love. Marriage is considered to be a need and that happiness only occurs in special occasions, just as Charlotte Lucas says, “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.” The emotive language used allows the readers to understand that woman’s existence...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document