I have chosen for this study an analysis of three novels by Jane Austen. They are Northanger Abbey, Pride, Prejudice, and Persuasion far they contain interesting changes in their main characters as they learn to read written texts.
Austen devotes a chapter in Pride and Prejudice to Elizabeth Bennet's reading of Fitzwilliam Darcy's letter (34). This reading demonstrates, as leisurely as possible, the moral and intellectual awakening of Elizabeth vis-a-vis the most important written text in the novel. It is interesting to point out here that the epiphany, if we may borrow the term from James Joyce, is caused by a written text within a written text in the novel. We see a character reading a text, as the reader of the novel has been doing far many pages, with very important consequences. My aim here is to study Jane Austen's management of the reading processes of her characters and the light they shed on the reader's interpretative actıvıty. Austen seems to be inviting her reader into a similar activity to gain some insights from the novel and the reading process.
Characters in Austen's novels go through this inward journey in society by reading or interpreting that society and its individuals and we follow this reading process and try to interpret her characters' interpretations so that we can change as they do. Her characters go through a change that can be termed as becoming mature members of that society; their maturation processes also make them people who understand the problems of that society so that they can become more ethical human beings. Jane Austen seems to make a similar demand on us readers as well because we read her depiction of her characters' reading others.