Laughter in Austen

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Sense of Humor “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” What we read is just the opposite; a single woman must be in want of a man with a good fortune. In this first line of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice we are at once introduced to language rich with satire. The comic tendencies displayed in the novel’…

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…to regulate her laughter somewhat: “She remembered that he had yet to learn to be laught at.” Of course, Elizabeth does not, thankfully, subdue her playfulness entirely, nor is it necessary that she should. She will continue to shock Darcy’s passive and obedient sister by the “lively, sportive, manner” in which she addresses Darcy, and she will distinguish herself from Jane in a letter to her aunt by writing “she only smiles, I laugh.”