Full disclosure on all characters, please.
July 8, 2006 9:19 PM Subscribe
Why does Jane Austen make her readers fill-in-the-blanks?
posted by phoenixc to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I’ve decided to re-visit my favourite Jane Austen titles, beginning with Pride and Prejudice. I’m now in the middle of Emma and have noticed in this second-time around that whenever Ms. Austen refers to a character in the military, she seems to leave certain details to the reader’s imagination.
For example, in P&P, when she describes the army group stationed in town, she writes, “The officers of the ---------shire were in general a very creditable, gentlemanlike set…” Further into the story, in reference to Wickham’s new marching orders, “His regiment is there; for I suppose you have heard of his leaving the --------shire.”
And in Emma, when she first mentions Jane Fairfax’s circumstances as an orphan, she writes: “The marriage of Lieut. Fairfax, of the --------regiment of infantry….”
Ms. Austen has no qualms about letting the reader know the details and whereabouts of her non-military characters—in P&P, they reside in Derbyshire and Hertfordshire—so why isn’t the reader given the same disclosure when it comes to her characters in the military?