The present paper aims at making clear how George Eliot owes a debt in style to
Jane Austen in her character portrayal. Taking up Austen’s Emma and Eliot’s Daniel
Deronda, we consider the qualities of prose style that are characteristic of the respective
writers as seen in these novels. A comparative analysis of their discourses has brought
to light a marked tendency on both sides to use negative expressions and the subjunctive.
These common traits are surmised to meet an artistic challenge of creating ambiguity
in the characters’psychological situations. Eliot, while inheriting Austen’s stylized
English, utilizes scientific phraseology to give voice to the human drama in late
nineteenth century England. Thus she adds physiological dimensions to what Austen has
established. We attempt to prove this point on the basis of discourse analysis.