This GCSE English Literature quiz challenges you on language in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Language in Pride and Prejudice often hints at meanings which are left unstated. The narrative does not expend much time on description, whether of physical appearances, or of landscape and other surroundings. Instead, narration is devoted to passing or inviting judgement on characters and situations. Dialogue is often comical, often unintentionally so on the part of the speaker, or playful. On many occasions language conceals more than it reveals. This makes reading the novel a challenge, but also very rewarding. Pay close attention to the narrator, who presents episodes in a highly-biased manner, inviting readers conspiratorially to form the same opinions she holds.
A reader understands a text through its language. This language is chosen with great care and used with precision by the author. Always pay close attention to individual words and phrases, considering the possible symbolic meanings and associations that lie beyond the obvious literal meanings. Authors create imagery, such as metaphor, simile and personification, and other literary effects, through the careful use of language. An author’s ability to use language skilfully determines the effective creation of setting, characterisation and dialogue.
Paying very close attention to the details conveyed through language will greatly increase your understanding of the text. Find time to linger over words and imagery, exploring language choice and possibilities rather than being content with the surface meaning. What possible meanings does the choice of specific words suggest? Does anything else come to mind as you read? Giving time and care to your analysis will be repaid through a more nuanced understanding.
Answer the questions below to develop your understanding of the way language choices affect the reader’s interpretation of Pride and Prejudice.