Is Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice a syuzhet and fabula?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Fabula and syuzhet are narratology terms developed by Russian Formalists to describe "narrative construction" ("Fabula and Syuzhet"). Since all stories are narratives, all stories will contain both fabula and syuzhet.

Fabula refers to the order of events in a story. Since all stories are made up of events, all stories contain fabula ("Terms Used by Narratology and Film Theory"). The difference, however, is that some stories are told in linear fashion, while some are told through flashbacks, and even other stories jump around in time throughout. In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, all events are told in a linear chronological order, making the story's fabula chronological.

Syuzhet, on the other hand, refers to the way in which the events of the story are relayed ("Terms Used by Narratology"). For the most part, Pride and Prejudice is told through a third-person limited narrator, limited because the narration primarily focuses on the thoughts, feelings, and perspectives of Elizabeth ("Point of View and Narrative Voice"). However, there are moments in which the narration is interrupted by letters, and these letters make up part of the story's syuzhet.

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