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Importance of Letters in “Pride and Prejudice” Critical Essay

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Updated: Jun 22nd, 2021


This essay focuses on the importance of letters in “Pride and Prejudice,” the most well-known novel by Jane Austen. The analysis aims to demonstrate their role, function, and significance as the literary technique used to reveal the main characters’ personalities.

Jane Austen, the seventh daughter of a priest, wrote the novel Pride and Prejudice in 1893. Although her education level was low, she taught her own how to write numerous literary pieces. Her first novel was Sense and Sensibility that she released in 1811 (Copeland and Juliet 1). The second novel called Pride and Prejudice was set during rough times of England, but the author chose to dwell on a fantasy about a blissful England where women sit and gossip.

Use of Letters in “Pride and Prejudice”

Austin uses letters as one of the main literary devices in the novel. The characters constantly correspond with each other. The list of letters in Pride and Prejudice includes numerous messages by Elizabeth Bennett, Mr. Collins, Jane, Lydia, and – last but not least – the thrilling Mr.Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth. Mr. Collins repeatedly wrote to Mr. Bennett to reveal the personalities of people in society to the reader (Devine 10). Furthermore, the letters of Darcy and Elizabeth act as windows through which the writer can peep into her characters, thus exposing their flaws or strengths. The letters in “Pride and Prejudice also lay bare gaps in the education and social standing of her different personalities, and they confront such traits.

More about Pride and Prejudice

The topic, therefore, shows the critical significance of Austen’s letters as used by her characters Elizabeth and Darcy. The author intends to depict class, age, and personality of her characters as perceived by other characters. The text also presents a new voice in which readers can listen to feelings of the characters; therefore, revealing their internal self. This aims at understanding the use of letters from a different perspective as opposed to only friendly letters (Devine 14).

The essay aims at discussing several issues on letters in Pride and Prejudice (Copeland and Juliet 192). First, we must comprehend why the author chose the literary technique of using letters to enhance the communication of the characters. Therefore, the essay aims to look at the significance of responses of the characters involved. Also, the symbolism employed by the author is necessary for the reader to puzzle out the hidden lesson behind the letters.

The use of letters in several chapters enables other characters to learn about their counterparts. Austen, Jane (1893) says, “When they were gone, Elizabeth…chose… the examination of all… letters Jane had written to her…” (p.294). Here, Elizabeth is enraged that Mr. Darcy is still mistreating her sister.

She learns this by reading all Jane’s letters that depict a lot of unhappiness. Austen, Jane (1893) continues to reveal the exposure of Jane’s troubles as Elizabeth scrutinizes her letters. Jane is permitting her to know that she is not well where she is residing. The writer wants the reader to feel the misery and pain of Elizabeth and her sister (Austen 294).

The significance of the responses of characters is necessary for exposing the personalities of the characters. Austen, Jane (1893) writes, “The day passed much as the day before… (and) Mr. Darcy was writing, and Miss Bingley…watching the progress of his letter…” (p.72). The author illustrates an element of humor in Mr. Darcy as the woman sits by to admire him.

Further Research

Austen, Jane (1893) proceeds to write about how Elizabeth approaches (Austen 72). Darcy writing and flatters him how his wife will be impressed by getting that letter. Here, Austen reveals how some characters take to ridiculing their colleagues, therefore, exposing the follies of people with similar traits as her characters.

The lessons we can grasp from the author’s letters include the gift to perceive the feelings, anxieties, and hopes of others in life. Austen, Jane (1893) writes, “Miss Bingley’s letter arrived, and…the… the first sentence conveyed the assurance… of being settled in London…” (p.208).

The author displays an aspect of joy that people feel when they attain fantastic news, such as excellent results in exams. Austen, Jane (1893) depicts the hopelessness of Jane when she reads a letter from her gone friends. Readers experience the desperation of the woman losing her close friends. Thus, letters in the book manage to represent humanity in different situations of life (Austen 208).

In summary, Jane Austen, in her book Pride and Prejudice, specifies the roles of letters by examination of issues of class, age, and decorous behavior among the letter writers (Devine 10). The reader observes aspects of love, hatred, and humor in characters such as Elizabeth when she reacts to her sister’s letters. We also see the author ridiculing Darcy on how his wife will love the message he is writing. This displays the premium of letter writing in Austen’s society and, therefore, an enlightened society.

More on the Topic

Besides, the letters in Pride and Prejudice offer readers a chance to analyze the society on issues of class and education. The writer wants her readers to take the responsibility of observing the flaws of the characters through the words in their letters and reforming where possible (Copeland and Juliet 192). The letters also act as a voice of the characters’ expectations and joys. Lastly, the use of letters in the book is a unique literary style that provides readers with reflections.


The importance of letters in “Pride and Prejudice” includes the burning necessity to reveal the different phases of the characters. This involves their joys and sadness when they receive and read their letters (Devine 10). In many of the letters, including Mr.Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth, Austen portrays a societal difference between the characters, as well as the difference in their education and recognition in the society.

They are the same people who write, receive, and read their letters audibly to friends. The author intends to draw the reader to a world of class, age, and education differences so that the reader can reflect and learn lessons (Copeland and Juliet 232). In conclusion, Austen wants us to see letter writing as another form of literary technique that can be effective in communicating intimate feelings.

Works Cited

Austen, Jane. . New York, NY: Bantam Dell, 1893. Print.

Copeland, Edward, and McMaster, Juliet. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Print.

Devine, Jodi. Epistolary revelations. Michigan, MI: ProQuest publishers, 2007. Print.

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