Jane Austen's use of Symbolism
Posted by Mark on February 12, 1998 at 17:28:47:
One of the things that has always attracted me to Jane Austen is the fact that she tells a great story. She doesn't get all caught up trying to put hidden meanings into everything. She just writes believable plots, believable dialog, and believable characters.
But I have a question that I have been contemplating for sometime. How much symbolism do you think Jane Austen deliberately uses.
In Jane Eyre, you have the lighting struck tree symbolizing Jane and Rochester's impending separation. That is an obvious use of symbolism by Ms. Bronte. There was no good reason to include that detail, except for the symbolism involved.
But how much deliberate symbolism does Aunt Jane use? I read somewhere that it was symbolic in Pride and Prejudice that after the first proposal, Elizabeth could not bring herself to walk inside of Rosings' Park. She stayed in the lane. Mr. Darcy handed her the letter through the gate. He remained inside, and she remained outside. Did Miss Austen deliberately do this, do you think? I personally feel she didn't.
Are there any deliberate uses of symbolism in any of her works? I can't think of any. It has always seemed to me that any symbolism that occurs arises simply from the story and is not placed there deliberately. In the aforementioned example, Elizabeth is upset. She does what she always does when she is upset -- She goes for a walk. She instinctively heads for her favorite walk, only to remember that Mr. Darcy knows she likes to haunt it. The last person she wishes to see at this point is Mr. Fritzwilliam Darcy! So she wonders about outside of the park. How else is she going to walk and avoid Darcy at the same time? What do you think?
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