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|Marianne and Lucy - descriptions and their placement
Written by Anselm
(9/23/2009 9:45 a.m.)
During this GR, I'm finding myself being struck ever more forcefully not only by the phenomenal economy and suggestive power of Jane Austen's general descriptions of her characters, but also of the way she places them in the story. Do you, gentle reader, think there's anything to the following comparison between JA's treatment of Lucy and Marianne in this regard?
1. Each character's external and internal characteristics are described separately. Marianne's mind is delineated in Ch.1 and her body in Ch.10, while Lucy's body and actions are shown in Ch.21 and her mind in the next chapter.
I was prodded into thinking about description placement by a comment (can't remember where) regarding Elizabeth Bennet's description in P&P, which occurs far enough into the piece to be superfluous in the sense of imparting new information. Its function, like that of Lucy (if not Marianne, which has a very particular application) is to confirm in our minds what we already know from "experience". I'm not saying she does this as a matter of course, but might it not be instructive to look at all her descriptions of major characters in this novel to see just how far after their initial appearances "onstage" she places them?
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