Jane Austen's Timeless Characters.
Jane Austen's genius was to create characters who seem to have a life beyond the page. Although we know that they are 'conscious constructs', the products of imagination and careful crafting, to the reader they can seem life-like and timeless in their thoughts and feelings.
Having a thorough knowledge of their roles and functions is the first step. The ability to track their development is another. We now need to focus on a detailed analysis of the characters' roles; if and how they develop, and to evaluate how the writer uses language, form, or structure as literary devices.
We also need to evaluate the effect on the reader - the context of the original nineteenth-century audience, and how we may view them from our own times. Being aware of your own personal response to a character helps to show your engagement with the text.
Note how your own thoughts and feelings change through the novel, and how the author has constructed her novel to influence your responses in different ways.
Words may just be inky marks on a page, but if they affect your feelings and ideas then that impact is worth exploring! In this way, we can identify different literary devices and evaluate their effects.
In this activity, we will zoom in to evaluate how Austen presents the development of her key characters, Elizabeth and Darcy, and how she compares and contrasts them with the other couples she presents.
You should always refer to your own copy of the book when working through the activities. The quotations are for reference only.