Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen

Comparing Pride and Prejudice with Letters to Alice 12th Grade

The comparative study of texts and contexts demonstrates that composers write to reflect prevalent values and issues within their own society. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Fay Weldon’s Letters to Alice exhibit connections in terms of the contrasting attitudes towards marriage and the divergent role of the composers. Austen’s 19th century context provides a framework dictating the strict social norms and values of her time. Weldon, in a postmodernist 20th century context, comments on Austen’s text and communicates a different view on issues of her time. By exploring values and connections between texts, enhanced perspectives are presented which could not be understood in isolation.

Marriage was crucial for the social and financial security of women in the patriarchal society of Regency England. Within Austen’s Georgian context of P&P, the tension between rationalism of the Enlightenment period and Romantic literature influenced conflicting attitudes towards marriage. Charlotte’s practical view of marriage is highlighted by Austen’s authorial intrusion that “happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance”. Her passion is tempered by her pragmatism towards financial security, conveying the unsentimental reality...

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