Composers are connected in their desire to express their personal values within a changing world
The comparative study of Fay Weldon’s non fiction text Letters to Alice and Jane Austen’s comedy of manners narrative Pride and Prejudice reveal connections between the authors in their desire to express their personal values and beliefs through the vehicle of their fictional characters. Exploration of connections such as the value of literature and the lives of women in different societies presented in the texts heighten our understanding of the composer’s contexts and the values they wish to convey through their writing. The shared aspects of the form of both texts such as the use of letters and the fictitious framework of Weldon’s Letters To Alice provides a connection through which the readers can appreciate the values Austen and Weldon seek to express.
Austen’s comedy of manners explores her patriarchal, provincial 19th century English world which is satirically commented on by Weldon as she expresses her own independent success, displaying the changing nature of society and the empowerment of women through her character Aunt Fay, a second wave feminist and a successful and independent writer.
Moreover the character of Aunt Fay highlights the stark contrast between the modern world in which marriage becomes a focus of love and happiness as opposed to the 19th century necessity for financial security which left women at the mercy of men. ‘I am not romantic…I ask only a comfortable home... I am convinced that my chance of happiness is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state’. Charlotte’s direct speech epitomizes the marriage of Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins, a marriage of necessity for pragmatic Charlotte who reflects the general feeling of young women and her desire for a financially secure, appropriate marriage, a trait which is condemned by Austen through Elizabeth’s disapproval and her branding of the marriage as ‘unequal’....
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