Characterizing Mrs. Bennet

Who is Mrs. Bennet? While Mrs. Bennet speaks to her husband we can see many of the same characterizations through what he says in response. As far as the Mrs. being a gossip, it is clear that Mr. Bennet has heard his fair share of it from her. When asked if he wants to know who is moving into Netherfield he replies that he knows that she wants to tell him, but that he does not particularly “want” to hear it. We also see that Mr. Bennet knows his wife is somewhat of a drama queen and he is constantly poking fun at her with his sarcasm, which she never seems to understand as such.
Yet another example of Mr. Bennet’s experience with his wife’s personality is his seemingly un-caring behavior towards his daughters getting married. Mrs. Bennet is convinced that Mr. Bingley could be her new son-in-law, Mr. Bennet points out that Bingley is not necessarily there to find a wife. Through all these ways we can see a bit of Mrs. Bennet’s personality through the words of another character in the book. We can get even more information through words not necessarily spoken in the book, but spoken to us through the voice of the narrator.
Even the simplest of comments can show a huge personality trait. The simplest way the narrator shows us that Mrs. Bennet loves to gossip and talk is when Mr. Bennet says he has no objection to hearing her story, the narrator points out that “That was invitation enough,” showing us that Mrs. Bennet is very eager to get her information out. Although we can gather much of Mrs. Bennet’s character through the entirety of the page, the narrator makes sure we have gathered what we need to about her by giving us a summary at the very end of the page.
The narrator tells us that “She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news. ” So, once again we gather that she loves “visiting and news,” or gossip, and that the business of her life is to get her daughters married. Mrs. Bennet is not hard to figure out with Jane Austen’s excellent characterization techniques.
With her great narration techniques we have the author there to tell us much of what we need to know. Even better is that much of the time we don’t even need the narrators help, through the speech in the book; whether it be Mrs. Bennet herself, or somebody speaking to her or about her. Through either the character itself, the characters around it, or the author herself, Jane Austen manages to use all three “characters” excellently to show us the personality of Mrs. Bennet, as well as the rest of her characters.

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