- Connections made between texts highlight the values and attitudes which have bypassed contextual boundaries.
- Individuals from texts in different contexts are still affected by concerns that bypass contextual boundaries.
- Authors in different context still share the motive of highlighting the flaws in their society.
- Issues in a particular context can evolve over time to make it relevant to a different context, but both concerns still root from the same concept.
- The context of a text dictates the concerns and values explored, as it reflects the authors' perception of their place in time.
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Texts Studied & Contexts
- Jane Austen's 1813 fiction novel Pride and Prejudice
- Georgian context
- Rank in society depends on wealth & family. Defining characteristic of a person that dictated whole life.
- Success for a woman was an advantageous marriage.
- Fay Weldon's 1984 non-fiction Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen
- Postmodern context
- Haughty literary hierarchy that dictated your worth in the literary world
- Success for a woman was making their own success as the third-wave feminist movement was taking place encouraging self-empowerment in women.
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Caricature of Mr. Collins
- Uses boastful tone "I have been so fortunate as to be distinguished by the patronage of the Right Honourable Lady Catherine de Bourgh" flaunting connections to upper class, Austen here emphasising the social climbing atmosphere
- "that the establishment [he] can offer would be any less than desirable" persuasive tone
- Cumulative listing "my situation in life, my connections with the family de Bourgh... my circumstances are highly in my favour."
- Mr. Collins allows Austen to satirise the significance of hierarchy in her time and how it was expected to overpower all over aspects of life.
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Caricature of Aunt Fay
- A product of the hierarchy like Mr. Collins
- "Capital L Literature" metaphor of the "City of Invention" to express distinctions between "high and low brow" literature.
- “Looming over everything, of course, the heart of the city, is the great castle of Shakespeare" Personification, top of the hierarchy, the king.
- "My dear child, my pretty little Alice... how can I hope to explain Literature to you with it's capital L?" Rhetorical question to make sure Alice knows her place in the literary world.
- Sweeping statement "well of course readers are envious of writers" continuing to highlight the differences in class between readers & writers.
- The caricature of Aunt Fay allows Weldon to satirise the hierarchy as Austen does and mock the arrogance of writers.
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Darcy & Elizabeth's success
- Rewarded as their relationship challenges the hierarchy, they overcome their "Pride & Prejudice" inflicted by class system, Austen rewarded them with a happy ending.
- "I shall never forget her appearance! She looked simply wild!" Miss Bingley exclaims, shocked when Elizabeth dirties her skirts in an effort to go see her sister.
- “Could you expect me to rejoice in your connections? To congratulate myself on the hope of relations, whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own?” Darcy questions Elizabeth in a rude tone, struggling with pride when telling his affections.
- "Lady Catherine seemed quite astonished... Elizabeth suspected herself to be the first creature who had ever dared trifle with so much dignified impertinence." Emotive language with dared & dignified impertinence, clearly displaying Elizabeth's feelings
- "Lizzy! How great and rich you will be" Charlotte Lucas exclaims making it clear that Lizzy has achieved success
- By making Darcy & Elizabeth successful, Austen is saying that the societal norms should not have to apply to be gratified with life.
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- Paints Alice as non-conformist at start, imagery "black and green hair"
- "I see... to my alarm that you plan to write a novel!" Aunt Fay's horrified exclamation as Alice is stepping out of her place on the lit. hierarchy.
- "Your age and apparent unacquaintance with the City of Invention" Aunt Fay uses the sustained metaphor to remind Alice of her place.
- "Sold more copies of The Wife's Revenge than I have all my novels put together" Aunt Fay makes the comparison between Alice's success by defying the hierarchy compared to Aunt Fay's limitations by complying.
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