Jane Austen (1775-1817) is one of the most famous British authors from the Victorian age. Austen's books combine an ironic and funny language with a captivating love story and interesting characters. This is why people today, almost two hundred years after her death, still are fascinated by her novels. Her work has been adapted into a number of different films and TV-series, and one of the most popular of these is the TV-series based on the novel "Pride and Prejudice" which has led a number of women fall in love with Mr Darcy. In this text I am going to look at an extract from chapter 19 of "Pride and Prejudice" called "Mr Collins' proposal", and see how this extract shows Jane Austen's writing style, use of humour/irony and typical themes of her novels. Jane Austen makes use of an elegant language, containing a lot of wit and free indirect discourse. We can find an example of this in Mr Collins' proposal to Elisabeth, where he explains his motivation to marry her, and how he would act as a husband. .
"To fortune I am perfectly indifferent, and shall make no demand of that nature on your father, since I am well aware that it could not be complied with; and that one thousand pounds in the 4 per cents , is all that you may be entitled to.".
With this quote we can see how Austen presents Mr. Collins as a man who is good at presenting his arguments and use a formal language. At the same time he seems quite ridiculous to the reader, because there is a discrepancy in what he is actually saying; despite of being a man who claims he is perfectly indifferent to fortune, he use Elisabeth's economic situation as a reason for her to marry him. Even though this is funny for the reader, Elisabeth herself does not find the situation very amusing. She is embarrassed of the whole situation, and maybe also a bit offended that he indirectly states that she is dependent upon him not to become poor.