Narrator and point of view


Omniscient narrator

Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice is constructed with a third-person omniscient narrator, as we often see in old novels. This is seen by the fact that the narrator is outside the plot and knows about the thoughts and feelings of all characters, which means we have multiple points of view in this story.

However, although we get to see different points of view, the narrator mostly follows the point of view of Elizabeth Bennet. Very often, throughout the novel, we know what Elizabeth is thinking and how she perceives different events. Here is one example:

Elizabeth took up some needlework and was sufficiently amused in attending to what passed between Darcy and his companion. The perpetual commendations of the lady either on his handwriting, or on the evenness of his lines, or on the length of his letter, with the perfect unconcern with which her praises were received, formed a curious dialogue, and was exactly in unison with her opinion of each. (p. 32)

As mentioned, an omniscient narrator can theoretically access the minds of all characters, which we see in this passage where we get to go inside Darcy head: 

Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticise. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. (p. 15)

The narrator also explains Charlotte’s attempt to pursue Mr Collins before Elizabeth knows about it (p. 86) and gives us snippets of the point of view of other characters, including that of Jane (p. 60) or Mr Bennet (p. 48).

The narrator’s omniscience is also suggested through certain descripti...

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