PRIDE AND PREJUDICE & THE ENGLISH LANDSCAPE - THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PICTURESQUE TO THE NOVEL
Vuong, Jennifer Michele
<italic>PRIDE AND PREJUDICE</italic> & THE ENGLISH LANDSCAPE –THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PICTURESQUE TO THE NOVELJennifer Michele Vuong, B.A.MALS Mentor: Michael J. Collins, Ph.D.ABSTRACTThe pastoral landscape - Jane Austen's choice of setting in her novel Pride and Prejudice - serves to define characterization and examine social perceptions in late 18th/early 19th Century England. In order to explain Austen's use of setting to achieve her goals, this thesis first examines the influence of Austen's upbringing on her writing; in particular, the influence of her family and friends upon her characters, and the impact of her relationships on the development of the characters in her novels. Next, the beginnings of the Picturesque Movement, and its founder, William Gilpin, will be discussed to demonstrate that the social changes in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries in England allowed the lower gentry and affluent tradesmen to explore the English countryside. Austen's exploration and admiration for Gilpin's teachings encouraged her to incorporate the same principals into her fictional works. Specifically, Austen integrated her love for the pastoral into the characteristics of her heroines. Of all of her heroines, Elizabeth Bennet, the protagonist of Pride and Prejudice, is the character Austen most closely identifies with, and she shares the same love for the English landscape as Austen. Austen's metaphorical use of pastoral scenes to describe a subject's character and identity will be examined. Then Austen's use of the pastoral to restore feelings of tranquility, peace, and freedom in her heroine, Elizabeth, will be discussed. In addition to her use of the pastoral as a method to develop characterization, Austen also uses it to demonstrate a change in the social perception of her characters. Finally, this thesis will conclude with an examination of the significant role that the selection of landscape plays in an adaptation of the novel into film. Two screen adaptations of Pride and Prejudice will be examined to illustrate the identity, character development, and the changes in social perception that Austen artistically provides in the details of her writing.
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