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Essay: The significant of words in letters (Pride & Prejudice)

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
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  • Published: June 18, 2021*
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  • Tags: Jane Austen essays
  • The significant of words in letters (Pride & Prejudice)
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Writing is a beautiful thing, before technology it was one of the only modes of communication. Letters that have been used for hundreds of years, people were able to update others about their lives, confess love, and express emotion. In Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen letters were a common motif often used for significant information. These letters often contained truth and mystery. Each one was filled with so much discussion and meaning even though they were unspoken. Each letter, was able to transform the story and bring about feelings. Throughout this novel, letters were presented constantly and while each was unique some stood out while others didn’t. The most significant letters were the ones discussing the truth about Wickham (from Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth), the one discussing the truth behind Lydia’s marriage (from Mrs. Gardnier to Elizabeth), and the one from Jane to Elizabeth discussing Mr. Bingley and Caroline in London.

The letters contained many different meanings of the truth. When Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth and she rejected him it left him hurt which was due to the false conceptions of him. He was presented with what Elizabeth thought was the “truth” about how he treated Wickham and how he purposely “separated” Jane and Mr. Bingley. Later on, Elizabeth learned the truth in the following letter:

“I had detached Mr. Bingley from your sister. At the ball, while I had the honour of dancing with you, I was first made acquainted, by sir William Lucas’s, accidental information, that Bingley’s attentions to your sister had given rise to a general expectation of their marriage… Her look and manners were open, cheerful and engaging as ever, but without any symptom at periculiar regard, and I remained convinced from the evening’s scrutiny, that though she received his attentions with pleasure, she did not invite them by any participation of sentiment” (Austen 191-192).

This explains that yes, Mr. Darcy did separate Mr. Bingley from Jane, but only with pure intentions in mind. He was worried that Jane wasn’t serious about Mr. Bingley and didn’t want to see him get hurt. Essentially, this letter showed that Mr. Darcy was misjudged and that his intentions were pure. This letter also explained the truth behind Mr. Wickham as stated:

“Mr. Wickham is the son of a respectable man, who had for many years the management of al the Pemberley estates…. My father supported him at school, and afterwards at Cambridge; – most important assistance, as his own father, always poor from the extravagance of his wife, would have been unable to give him a gentlemen’s education… Wickham has created, a suspicion of their nature shall not prevent me from unfolding his real character. He had some intention of one thousand pounds. Rather wished than believed him to be sincere. I knew that Mr. Wickham ought not to be a clergyman. He later resigned all claim to assistance in the church, were it possible that he could ever be in a situation to receive it and accepted in return three thousand pounds” (chapter 35, pg 195).

In this letter it showed what Wickham’s true intentions were. He was money hungry and a liar. After learning the truth about Jane and Mr. Bangles situation and Mr. Wickham, Elizabeth felt guilty and shocked for blaming Mr. Darcy for no reason. This letter held so much meaning behind it because it showed just how much love he had for Elizabeth that he trusted and confided in her with the truth, knowing she could expose him.

When Lydia decided to run away with Mr. Wickham to get “married” she didn’t realize the consequences. If they weren’t married all the daughters of Mr. Bennet would be labeled “whores”. Thankfully, she did get married after Mr. Gardiner helped pay off the dept and give Lydia’s dowry. Or so they thought. When Lydia came to visit as a newlywed, she mentioned Mr. Darcy being at the wedding which raised suspicion to Elizabeth. She later found out in the letter Mrs. Gardiner gave her that “Mr. Darcy called, and was shut up with several hours. He came to tell Mr. Gardiner that he found Mr. Wickham and Lydia. He found Lydia absolutely resolved on remains where she was. She was sure they should be married some times or another. “Mr. Wickham’s debts are to be paid, amounting, believe, to considerably more than a thousand pounds, another thousand in addition to her own settled upon her, and his commission purchased” (chapter 52, pg. 307). After finding out the truth Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth was happy and shocked that Mr. Darcy would do that because, it not only saved Lydia’s reputation but also all the other sisters.

Another letter discussed in this story is the letter Jane sent to Elizabeth while she was in London. Jane felt hurt and out of place. “Caroline did not return my visit till yesterday; not a note, not a line, did I receive in the meantime. When she did not come, it was very evident that she had no pleasure in it; she made a slight, formal, apology for not calling before, said not a word of wishing to see me again.” (chapter 26 pg. 146). “if he had at all care about me, we must have met, long, long ago. He knows of my being in town, I am certain.” (chapter 26 pg. 146).

Not only did his sister evidently not want to meet her but Mr. Bingly didn’t go visit her which hurt her. This letter expressed hoe she felt making Elizabeth sad for her.

Letters are the main form of communication in pride in prejudice. They allow the characters to express feelings they can’t convey aloud, they have time to think. Writing letters allows them to think more intimately and personally. They hold truth and meaning. In pride and prejudice many letters were exchanged, some more thoughtful then others, but they all held a special meaning.

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