Narrative Techniques Used in Pride and Prejudice

Topics: Narrator, Narrative, Jane Austen Pages: 3 (1151 words) Published: March 16, 2010
Throughout this passage from Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen utilises various narrative techniques. These include dialogic qualities (showing) and the use of third person narrative including focalisation and free indirect speech (telling). Both showing and telling work on different levels to further the reader’s interpretation of different characters and give meaning to the novel as a whole. The use of dialogue allows the reader to engage in conversations between characters, thus adding drama to the novel and also giving an insight into the personalities of those speaking. In comparison, the use of telling permits the reader to observe the unspoken, private thoughts of characters and often allows for a deeper analysis of the novel.

The passage begins with the story being told by the omniscient narrator, who describes the events from a third person perspective. However, as the events are concentrated around the actions of Elizabeth it can be said that she is being used as the focalizer; it is not only her actions which are being narrated but her feelings too. Austen’s technique of using focalization allows the reader to build up a relationship with Elizabeth so that we can better relate to, and sympathise with her feelings. As the reader sees much of Pride and Prejudice through Elizabeth’s eyes, it is with her that one of the strongest relationships is formed.

The narrator’s choice of language in the first paragraph confirms Elizabeth’s feelings towards both Wickham and Darcy. Describing it as a ‘refreshment’ to speak about Wickham illustrates her agreeable feelings for him, whereas, her ill feelings towards Darcy are highlighted when she is ‘left to fret over her own want of presence of mind’ when she accepts his invitation to dance. As a reader, we are unsure, at this point in the novel, the extent to which we are to believe Wickham’s words about Darcy, but, as much of the plot surrounding Wickham’s admissions has been focalized from Elizabeth’s point of...
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