Verbal conflicts in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Burney’s The Wanderer
Both Pride and Prejudice and The Wanderer offer a revision of the traditional image of woman as the domestic peacemaker: not only do female characters take part in verbal conflicts, going against the traditional reserve expected from them, but they actively provoke verbal warfare, which becomes a means to achieve some degree of power. Studying the verbal conflicts with the modern tools of conversational patterns in interpersonal conflicts brings to the fore the tendency of those characters to resort to some strategies belonging to what has been defined as a masculine argumentation style. But the temptation to parrot men is discarded, not to come back to a more personal and emotional perspective, but to favour a third approach, a more indirect ironical or playful style which proves to be much more efficient in women’s quest for empowerment.
Published online: 24 March 2009