What examples of each type of sensory language can be found in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice?   

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One good example of sensual language dealing with Feeling that Jane Austen uses can be seen when Elizabeth goes to tour Pemberley with her aunt and uncle Gardiner. As their carriage turns into the drive through Pemberley Woods past the lodge house, Austen describes that Elizabeth's "spirits were in a high flutter," meaning she felt very anticipatory and nervous (Ch. 1, Vol. 3). An example of Taste sensory language can also be seen in this chapter. While strolling through the woods after visiting the house, Austen remarks that "Mr. Gardiner, though seldom able to indulge the taste [of fish], was very fond of fishing." This line tells us that Mr. Gardiner does not like to eat fish, but he still enjoys the sport.

This is also a good chapter to find an excellent example of Sight sensory language. Austen makes a point of describing Pemberley House with far more detail then she uses to describe either Netherfield or Longbourn. She describes it as "situated on the opposite side of a vally, into which roads, with some abruptness, wound." She further states that "It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills."

A good place to find a reference for Sound sensory language can be found at the moment of the ball at Netherfield. At the ball, we witness Mary sing for the company, and Austen uses many details to describe just how horrible Mary's voice actually was:

By many significant looks and silent entreaties, did she [Elizabeth] endeavour to prevent such a proof of complaisance, -- but in vain; Mary would not understand them; such an opportunity of exhibiting was delightful to her, and she began her song. Elizabeth's eyes were fixed on her with most painful sensations; and she watched her progress through the several stanzas with an impatience which was very ill rewarded at their close; for Mary, on receiving amongst the thanks of the table, the hint of a hope that she might be prevailed on to favour them again, after the pause of half a minute began another. Mary's powers were by no means fitted for such a display; her voice was weak, and her manner affected. -- Elizabeth was in agonies. (Ch. 18, Vol. 1)

Austen seems to have chosen not to employ any Smell sensory language, even though Elizabeth's frequent strolls through Rosing's Park and her visit to Pemberley Park would be obvious places to refer to smells.

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Pride and Prejudice

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