Jane Austen's use of satire in her novels, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, break from the boundaries of sentimental writing. This left Austen open to a lifetime of criticism, only to be hailed after her time as one of the greatest writers of the English language. Much of Austen?s social commentary on Regency England was done through flat comical characters such as Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine, Mrs. Jennings, and others. All of which are amusingly oblivious to anything deeper than the rules and aspirations set by society. The dialogue of their interactions and the irony of their situations add humor as well as reinforce the idiocy presented by the very first line of Pride and Prejudice, "It is a truth universally
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Mr. Collins is only indirectly connected to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, but this small distinction is of monumental importance in his mind. Austen introduces Mr. Collins as a person who lets the appreciation of Lady Catherine fill his entire life, ?the respect which he felt for her high rank, and his veneration for her as his patroness mingling with a very good opinion of himself, of his authority as a clergyman, and his rights as a rector, made him altogether a mixture of pride obsequiousness, self-importance and humility? (Austen 79). His quickly started and quickly ended search for a wife was a product of his gratitude. Because of this connection to Lady Catherine, he expects Elizabeth?s acceptance of his proposal of marriage. Collins is astonished by the refusal. He emphasizes that his ?situation in life, connections with the family of de Bourgh, and relationship to (the Bennet?s) are circumstances highly in its favor, and (Elizabeth) should take it into farther consideration that in spite of manifold attractions, it is by no means certain that another offer of marriage may ever be made? (Austen 124). Austen is using Collin?s asserted and conceited view of himself to mock the idea that position or rank can or should fully describe a person.
At the top of society lies Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Her arrogant attitude pokes fun at those in her position. As Elizabeth defends Lady Catherine?s criticism of the Bennet sister?s upbringing, she ?suspect(s)