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How would I analyze this quotation from Pride and Prejudice in Volume I, Chapter 8?...

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rozh | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 25, 2013 at 4:23 PM via web

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How would I analyze this quotation from Pride and Prejudice in Volume I, Chapter 8?

"Oh! certainly," cried his faithful assistant [Miss Bingley], "no one can be really esteemed accomplished, who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved."

"All this she must posses" added Darcy "and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading."

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted May 25, 2013 at 5:22 PM (Answer #1)

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Your first step in analysis is to make sure you know the meaning and usage of the words in the quotation. A couple of words that may be unfamiliar in their meaning and usage are "esteem" "accomplished" and "address."

"Esteem" has a noun form and a verb form. In this quotation, it is used as a verb in the past tense form "esteemed" to mean a way of evaluating someone:

esteem/-ed: (Old-Fashioned, Formal) to think of somebody/something in a particular way: She was esteemed the perfect novelist. (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

"Accomplished" is an adjective that expresses the meaning of having many successes in what one has undertaken to do:

accomplished: very good at a particular thing; having a lot of skills: an accomplished artist/actor/chef. She was an elegant and accomplished woman. (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary)
"Address" means the regular manner in which you say something directly to someone: your manner of address is your manner of attitude and speech:
address: (Formal) to say something directly to somebody (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

The next part of your analysis would be to determine the information being expressed through the syntax of the sentences. Miss Bingley is listing the achievements (knowledge) that a woman must attain to be thought of (esteemed) as successful (accomplished). Her list includes arts, languages, poise, deportment and style of speaking. Darcy agrees with Miss Bingley then adds "extensive reading" to the list. In Elizabeth's era extensive reading would be topicall similar to what we now would also call extensive reading: sciences, history, literature, Ancient Classic literature, cultural and civic events.
The final part of your analysis would be to determine the significance of this quoted passage to characterization, to plot development, to conflict, and/or to thematic meaning. As an example, the significance of this passage to conflict is that Miss Bingley seals Elizabeth's judgement of her as an insignificant and small-minded woman while Darcy sinks even lower in Elizabeth's opinion of his inner character and rises even higher in her opinion of his pervasive pride.


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