Is it possible to do a post-colonial reading of Pride and Prejudice?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Realistically, Pride and Prejudice is the novel of Austen's least susceptible to post-colonial analysis. To apply a post-colonial reading to it is more an exercise in critical ingenuity than a major contribution to our understanding of the novel. The main entry points into the novel for the post-colonial critic are the episodes involving the military. It is possible to analyze Lydia's complicity with her own abduction by Wickham as parallel to the complicity of women in countries colonized by the British in having relationships with their opressors in the British military. Another line of analysis would be to look at Austen's metaphorical descriptions of balls as battles and argue that Britain's external colonialism and militarization affected its internal gender relations by reframing class and gender within the ideological structure of strategic and militarized oppression.