Word games in Austen’s and Dickens’ Writings comparison

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The novel “Emma” by Jane Austen is one of her final six novels. She wrote it while in Chawton and had it written in 1815. (McCrum). It narrates the perils of misconstrued romance when reflecting on the heroine Emma Woodstone’s life. The protagonist is a young woman who wields influence and enjoys interfering with the affairs of her neighbors. The storyline takes place in the fictitious town of Highbury and revolves around the relationships of three or four families in the village. The book is about the problems that well-mannered women face in Georgian-Regency England. Issues of marriage, gender, and social status are also discussed in the book as the woman’s delusion shared throughout the narrative. The book is not only popular due to the status that the society and publishing industry recognize in Austen but her prowess in her technique, which was revolutionary and extraordinary than the majority of the books during the 18th century (Mullan). Another book that was written in that era is “The Great Expectation” by Charles Dickens. Even though Dickens began writing the book in October 1860, its official publication was done in “All Year Around,” which was a publication that he owned. The book was released in nine monthly installments starting from December 1860 to 1861 August. It narrates the story of Pip who is an English orphan who manages to rise to being the wealthiest in the society thereby deserting his childhood pals and becoming humble by his superciliousness. Dickens also employs a good wordplay in the book (“Great Expectations | Charles Dickens Info”). In this paper, the use of formal games and linguistics in Austen’s writing “Emma” is compared to Dickens “The Great Expectation.”

In Emma, the author utilizes relatively many words in referring to women. For instance, her, she, miss and sister when it comes to describing family relationships unsurprising bearing in mind her subject matter (Austen Chapter 1, Para 2). Her choice of words shows her support for femininity especially during the era that women were being undermined. Nonetheless, when it comes to “The Great Expectation,” Dickens uses little of little of the feminine words in describing the female characters by mostly referring to their names. For instance, when Pip was asked by the man he met on the road about who he would like to stay with if he was alone and in need; he said “My Sister-Mrs. Joe Gargery-Joe Gargery’s wife”. Masculinity is supported mostly in this book with the word such as him and his dominating the book (Dickens Chapter 1, Para 5).

Austen also utilized intensifying words much more than Dickens in her writing, for instance, very, so, and much. The use of intensifiers in her writing is a significant trait in her book that at first might seem to resist quantification, which is an irony. Austen’s work portrays the incongruities that exist between essence and pretense, between the inadequate ego and the large idea. In most sentences that words such as very are used recurrently, the stated meaning is usually conceived with the real one with the exaggeration slyly calling for doubt. For instance, when Emma and her pal Mrs. Weston talks about Frank Churchill who Emma thinks that he must have been attracted to her: “Mrs. Weston was very ready to say how attentive and pleasant a companion he made himself — how much she saw to like in his disposition altogether. This was all very promising; however, for such an untoward fancy for having his hair cut, there was nothing to denote him unworthy of the distinguished honor which Emma’s imagination had given him; the honor, if not of being really in love with her, of being at least very near it, and saved only by her own indifference” (Austen Chapter 14, Para 6). At first, a new reader of the book will find it hard to understand that Emma does not know her feelings well or Frank is harboring a critical secret; nonetheless, the intensifiers welter develops a sense of too much insisting even though not all seems as it is depicted.

Both Austen and Dickens have a unique way of getting readers to read their books. At critical moments, they use free indirect style thereby making their reading to become much more of a dramatized thoughts. For instance, In Emma, “There is health, not merely in her bloom, but in her air, her head, her glance” (Austen Chapter 5, Para 7). And In Great Expectation, “People are put in the Hulks because they murder, and because they rob, and forge, and do all sorts of bad” (Dickens Chapter 2, Para 19)

Despite their different techniques, both the authors use idiosyncratic punctuation, which refers to dashes and exclamation marks system. It allows for dramatized thought process for the reader to understand the characters well. Even though the two books are written in third persons, readers can still judge both Emma and Pip even as they share their thoughts and actions. For instance, Emma is an individual who deserves our sympathy since she can acknowledge and accept her mistakes. We can also hear her trying to persuade herself against her selfishness such as “This would soon have led to something better, of course,” (Austen Chapter 9, Para 17). The same applies to Dickens book especially when Pip mistook the young man he was supposed to meet with another person, “I thought, feeling my heart shoot as I identified him. I dare say I should have felt a pain in my liver” (Dickens Chapter 3, Para 4).

Austen also shows in her book her heavy use of words such as could and must, which indicates permission, likelihood, and obligation. The words “Could” in Emma are combined with “not” and are used with phrases or sentences that are related to talking, thinking, or perceiving. Thus, showing the challenges that Austen’s characters undergo in facing things are they truly are or when making decisions. For instance, when Mr. Elton response to Emma “I have not the smallest doubt that, could he see his little effusion honored as I see it” ( Austen Chapter 9, Para 40). On the other hand, Dickens fails to utilize the “Could” and “must “phrases repeatedly thereby showing how he offers her characters a chance in making decisions thus giving them options to speak of their minds.

Conclusion

Emma is one of the books that laid a foundation for all other books that are even published in the 21st century. The book uses unique techniques in the choice of words and phrases that continue to be the inspiration to the modern readers and writers. Dickens book “The Great Expectation” that was published 50 years after “Emma” also portrays good techniques that are almost similar to Austen’s work. That shows how Austen could have inspired Dickens in writing his book, which was well received. The two books share the use of idiosyncratic punctuation even though Austen differs from it in the use of intensifying words such as very or much. They also differ in the usage of words such as could and must, and use of repeated words in describing women (her, she, hers, and miss) while Dickens uses masculine words (he, his, and him).

Works Cited

“Great Expectations | Charles Dickens Info.” Charlesdickensinfo.Com, 2017, https://www.charlesdickensinfo.com/novels/great-expectations/.

Mullan, John. “How Jane Austen’S Emma Changed The Face Of Fiction.” The Guardian, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/dec/05/jane-austen-emma-changed-face-fiction.

Austen, Jane. “EMMA.” 2010, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/158/158-h/158-h.htm.

Dickens, Charles. “GREAT EXPECTATIONS.” 1867, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1400/1400-h/1400-h.htm.

McCrum, Robert. “The 100 Best Novels: No 7 – Emma By Jane Austen (1816).” The Guardian, 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/04/100-best-novels-jane-austen-emma.

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