Action vs. reflection?...
Thus we can summarise their two positions (and re-integrate them into our thinking about Pride and Prejudice) as follows:
Where does Austen fit in? To what extent can we see P&P as a dialogue between these two positions (Self as sum of experiences vs. Self as mediator and co-creator of experience)?
(1) On Tuesday, I asked you to think about the way the following terms and concepts interact in the novel:
Note that I'm particularly interested in the interplay among these ideas, i.e. what does "character" have to do with "portraiture" and "perspective"? Why are these relationships important to the novel?
(2) How does Pemberley--as a place and as an idea--function in the last third of the novel? Note very carefully just how Elizabeth's series of epiphanies work there. How do the above terms (character, potraiture, perspective) operate in the Pemberley scenes?
(3) Belatedly, for this should have been among the study questions for last time--what tensions drive the novel? What single major tension is introduced in the first three chapters of the novel, and serves to motivate its plot (which many of you have dismissed as trivial or frivolous)?
(4) Think very hard about the ending of the novel. Are you satisfied? Why or why not? Why does Austen end the novel this way (I am referring to the last three chapters, not just the last paragraph)? When you have considered the ending of the novel in broader terms, look at the concluding paragraph. Why do you supposed Austen chose to finish here? Finally, look back at the opening of the novel. Has your relationship to this opening sentence changed? Do you feel, now, that it is a suitable/unsuitable/informative/ironic/? introduction to the book?
(5) Now that you have read the whole thing, what is marriage in this novel? What is it for? What are the right reasons to marry? And what are the characteristics of a successful marriage? Why does Austen choose marriage as the theme of her novel, and how does it serve her as a platform from which to examine more global concerns? Note that a wide variety of different marriages are portrayed here. What is revealed, through Austen's treatment of this topic, about the characters, about the world of the novel, about Austen's world, and about you as Jane Austen's reader?
(6) Is this novel really a "chick book," and if so, why?
(I am not looking for the obviously sexist and dismissive answer, "because
only chicks care about this stuff." IF that's the case,
then why do you think it is the case? Is it simply that women
are willing to identify with male narrators/protagonists, but not vice
versa? Or is there more to it than that?)
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