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|JA & AD--short character sketches
Written by Christiana
(1/12/2004 11:04 p.m.)
One of the elements of JA's style that I think Davies captures very well is her ability to give a brief portrait of a character--or frequently, several characters--in a short space of time. For example, there is this paragraph in Chapter 11:
When tea was over, Mr. Hurst reminded his sister-in-law of the card-table--but in vain. She had obtained private intelligence that Mr. Darcy did not wish for cards; and Mr. Hurst soon found even his open petition rejected. She assured him that no one intended to play, and the silence of the whole party on the subject, seemed to justify her. Mr. Hurst had therefore nothing to do, but to stretch himself on the sophas and go to sleep. Darcy took up a book; Miss Bingley did the same; and Mrs. Hurst, principally occupied in playing with her bracelets and rings, joined now and then in her brother's conversation with Miss Bennet.
In these few sentences, we get glimpses into several of the characters' personalities: Mr. Hurst's limited interests, his wife's vanity, Miss Bingley's continued attempts to appeal to Darcy, etc. By describing their actions, JA shows us who they are.
Likewise, in the opening scenes of P&P2, we get a short glimpse into life at the Bennet household: Kitty and Lydia arguing, Mrs. Bennet complaining about her nerves (and taking Lydia's part), Mary at her studies. Mr. Bennet and Lizzy share a short exasperated glance and smile, a moment that sets the tone for their relationship. Right from the start, Davies establishes our principal players and their relationship, telling us a lot about them in a relatively short space of time.
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