- Sep 2017
My focus on Charlotte Lucas resonates with recent critical trends that depart from the assumption that the novel’s telos, particularly as revealed in the courtship plot, is the representation of personhood through characterological depth and interiority
One of the main purposes of the article. Moe sets out to oppose, or at least challenge, previous readings of the novel (and is thus her placement within a scholarly discourse), to reconsider how actions of "characterological depth and interiority" are formed within the courtship plot, and how it is impacted by cultural modernity. She does this through a reading of Charlotte Lucas.
Narratives have limited resources—formal development, narrative attention, and thematic social goods—that are unequally distributed between protagonists and minor characters. In the process of being “minored,” the many clarify the one; in Pride and Prejudice, minor characters “contribut[e] to the development of Elizabeth’s consciousness.”5 As Elizabeth’s close friend and, in many ways, catalyst for her development, Charlotte is both a minor character par excel-lence and a register of the costs of such a system of individuation
It is important to relate the concept of cultural modernity and Charlotte's choices to narrative, as that is the main point of the argument (though Moe's thesis is not clearly stated just yet). Also fascinating to label all the minor characters are developmental aspects to Elizabeth; this is quite dehumanizing, but is quite arguable. Austen, therefore, purposefully has Charlotte marry Collins as part of further promoting Elizabeth's vehement feelings about marriage.