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|written quite through in a very close hand
Written by Stephanie
(5/5/2010 11:22 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, "Be not alarmed, Madam", penned by nan duval
I have to say, though, that I always think of the letter in pairing with the next chapter - that is, the REACTIONS to the letter. Author Austen is masterful in her arranging of these two chapters. She could have told us Elizabeth's responses to everything she wrote as we read it over her shoulder. This way, however, makes Elizabeth's and our own reactions clear, well-defined, and recognizably human.
I understand how her initial reactions MUST start with the explanation of Darcy's interference with Bingley. Darcy could not have moved us so had he started with Wickham's duplicity. Elizabeth must viscerally dislike everything he writes, basing her emotions on a knee-jerk protection of her beloved Jane, before being shocked her out of her indignation with Darcy's history of Wickham. Then when she is forced to give credence to the second explanation, she makes herself review the first again - and surprise! the tone of the written word can change how it appears depending on the attitude of the reader! (Just like text messages online today - how post-modern!)
She mentions the letter again and again in the pursuant chapters, but never in isolation: each time it is couched in her evolving view of it and its writer. We see Elizabeth's growth provoked and guided by her innate honesty and clarified views (once she has been begun on that road), all in automatic response to this one piece of communication.
Strong writing! Delightful!
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