What is the narrative style of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice?  

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is clear that the narrative style of this classic is distinctive to Austen. She writes using the omniscient point of view, which means that she as a narrator takes a God-like perspective, and can see the actions and thoughts and motives of all characters and presents to us a carefully selected amount of detail. One example of this is the way that the narrator chooses not to reveal Wickham's true nature to us and information regarding his background. The narrator focuses on Lizzie and her response to him, and the way that she is taken in by first impressions.

The narration also includes lots of examples of direct characterisation. In this respect, it is not exactly subtle. We are told very clearly what characters are like and, therefore, we can obviously see the author's sympathies and pet hates. For example, note the description that we are given of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet at the end of Chapter One that leaves little to the imagination:

Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.

Note the way that the author makes clear her own views on the various characters. We are left with no confusion regarding her feelings towards Mrs. Bennet, for example! Thus the style of narration is one that is omniscient and which the author herself clearly tells us her feelings about characters and situations.

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