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Written by Katy B
(4/29/2007 7:19 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I work in a school, and we are always, penned by BrendaB
But it's interesting, because JA is rather economical with these details of objects - she doesn't describe objects with great detail, so those of us removed from her world in time and place may have some difficulty with visualizing. She relied, I think, on an audience with familiarity with the things she was writing about. Also, perhaps it IS enough to know that Bingley wore a blue coat and rode a black horse, because that is the significant part - typical of adolescents, they fixate on superficial details regarding what people wear, what they drive (or ride!) or how they act. And JA is writing this part from the point of view of teenaged girls who are observing Bingley from a window.
On the other hand, JA's economy of style did not fixate on descriptions of places and things, in general, but much more on characterization. When Jane and Elizabeth are talking about Bingley after the assembly, (again a typical activity of young girls, to discuss at length every detail of an event) I noticed how an observation made by Lizzy soon turned into a narrative fill-in with details about the characters' background that most likely Lizzy and Jane didn't know, but JA has the narrator tell us at this point, because it fits into the theme being discussed by the characters:
Elizabeth listened in silence, but was not convinced; their behaviour at the assembly had not been calculated to please in general; and with more quickness of observation and less pliancy of temper than her sister, and with a judgment too unassailed by any attention to herself, she was very little disposed to approve them.
Mr. Bingley inherited property to the amount of nearly an hundred thousand pounds from his father, who had intended to purchase an estate, but did not live to do it.... (The narrator's voice then continues here, filling us in about Mr. Bingley's circumstances, important to understanding his position in society).
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