Letters To Alice Essay

636 Words3 Pages
The central values of education, reading and social stratification in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice are reshaped in Fay Weldon’s Letters to Alice through form, contextualisation and imitation. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, written in 1797 for the benefit of her family, but later published in 1813, is a social satire, mocking many of the social values of the time. Austen does this through her omniscient third person narrator, a new style at the time, and intrudes into the scene with sarcastic jests at the characters who conform to the views Austen wishes to criticize. Fay Weldon’s Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen, written in 1984, reshapes these values in a didactic epistolary metafiction, affected by the zeitgeist of feminism…show more content…
Darcy reveals this to us; “An accomplished woman must add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.” This shows how not only does Austen disagree with education and accomplishments, but that further, she believes reading to be “more substantial”, as it increases the self-reflection and independent thinking that Elizabeth is admired for. Weldon also values reading in a similar way, but differentiates between “Low-brow” novels, telling Alice that they “do not suggest that he or she shall reflect, let alone change... they are unimportant.” Weldon takes a particularly aggressive stance against works of “romance, sci-fi and fantasy”, which is uncharacteristic of her times, when postmodernism reigned. She furthers this division in her description of the “City of Invention” where she mocks the social stratification of Austen’s time, in an extended metaphor on the value of Literature. Weldon separates the books into districts, creating a metafictional meritocracy of Literature, in reflection of her context and society, and also joining in the satirization of the aristocracy that prevailed in 18th century
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