Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Favourite Scientist(Essay)


Who is my favourite scientists and why?
Alfred Nobel, 1833–1896
by
Heidi Steyn,
Grade 7, Laerskool Skuilkrans, Pretoria
[Note: the original typed essay was illustrated.]
No longer known as “King of Dynamite”…
On 21 October 1833 Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born in Stockholm, Sweden. He became
interested in science, especially chemistry, at a very young age. When he was eight, his
family moved to St Petersburg in Russia. His father was and engineer who had a factory
where powder-charged explosive mines were made. These were used during the Crimean
War. His mother was a descendent of Olof Rudbeck who discovered the lymphatic
system in 1651. Alfred had two older brothers, Robert and Ludvig, and a younger
brother, Emil.
As Alfred was not a healthy child he could not attend school, college or university — he
did all his studies on his own with the help of private tutors.
As a young man he enjoyed traveling and he became fluent in five languages. He was
interested in literature and in his spare time he wrote novels, plays and poetry. One of his
poems was published.
In 1863 the family returned to Sweden and Alfred worked in his father’s factory in
Heleneborg in Stockholm, He became fascinated with nitroglycerin — a highly volatile
material that he tried to stabilize. In other words, he tried to prevent it from evaporating
quickly. After years of experimenting he discovered that mixing a fine powder named
kieselguhr with nitroglycerin gave the desired effect. He called the explosive material he
had invented “dynamite”. In 1864 a terrible accident happened: five people including
Alfred’s younger brother Emil, then aged 20, were killed during an experiment with
dynamite. The shock was too much for Alfred’s father and he died of a stroke soon
afterwards.
Alfred himself was motivated by this accident to try to develop a less dangerous type of
dynamite. Instead of attempting to light the unstable liquid nitroglycerin directly, he used
a metal or wooden cap filled with ordinary black gunpowder. By using a slow-burning
fuse leading to the cap, the person who lit the fuse was given enough time to run away
before the explosion.
In 1867 Alfred patented dynamite and set up factories around the world. Soon dynamite
was manufactured in Sweden, Germany, Norway and America. The invention quickly
proved its usefulness in building and construction. The Alpine Tunnel that was blasted
using dynamite was a good example of Alfred’s invention. Rivers could be cleared and
channels cut. Underwater rocks in a river in New York could be removed so that it was
safer for ships. Soon Alfred Nobel was famous. But unfortunately not only construction
and mining companies, but also the military, ordered large quantities of explosives. Page 2

Nobel established laboratories in Stockholm, Hamburg, Paris, Bofors and San Remo for
research. The original form of dynamite was gradually replaced by gelatin dynamite,
which was safer to handle.
Alfred Nobel’s research also provided valuable information on the development of
artificial rubber, leather, silk, precious stones and synthetic materials. Eventually he had
355 patents registered! Sales of dynamite and income from his many other businesses all
over the world made him one of the wealthiest men in Europe.
Nobel was a pacifist and thought the discovery of dynamite would lead to peace. He
argued: “My dynamite will sooner lead to peace than a thousand world conventions. As
soon as men will find that in one instant whole armies can be utterly destroyed, they
surely will abide by golden peace.”
It did not work out the way he thought!
One day Alfred had a terrible shock when he opened his morning newspaper. The
newspaper in his home town received the news that he had died, and published his
obituary. In the obituary he was called the “King of Dynamite” and he was blamed for
the death and mutilation of thousands of people. He was described as the person who had
made horrors of warfare possible.
It was very bad for Alfred to realize how other saw his contribution to mankind. He did
not want to be remembered in such a way. He wanted to be remembered as a many of
science and of peace. “For my part,” he said three years before his death, “I wish all guns
with their belongings and everything could be sent to hell, which is the proper place for
their exhibition and use.”
In 1895 Nobel drew up his will and left most of his estate of $9 million in trust to
establish prizes for individuals whose contributions inspired the world: the well-known
Nobel Prizes. Alfred said: “If only a few out of a hundred such ideas ever bear fruit, I’ll
consider I have gained a rich result.”
A year later he died at the age of 63 of a heart attack in his home in San Remo, Italy, on
10 December 1896.
Today the Nobel prizes are still the most honoured prizes in the world. But the most
sought-after Nobel prize is the Nobel Peace Prize.
Well-known recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize were Mother Theresa and Martin Luther
King.
Alfred Nobel is my favourite scientist, because he is an example of what I think a
scientist should be: responsible and trying to contribute in a positive way to mankind as a
whole and to peace on earth. Especially today, with all sorts of new scientific research
and discoveries being made daily, I am sometimes scared of what the effects can be, for
example biological or nuclear war. The effects of genetic manipulation and cloning can
also be disastrous. Mad people might have thousands of replicas of themselves cloned, or
monsters may be created by genetic manipulation.
It is good that Alfred Nobel’s awards remind and inspire all scientists to contribute to the
benefit of humanity.
South Africa was very proud when former presidents Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk
shared the Nobel Prize for Peace. Other South Africans who recently received Nobel
prizes are J.M. Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer, who received Nobel prizes for Literature. IPage 3

am glad that the South African government is presently also working towards a gun-free
society.
Alfred Nobel is no longer known as “King of Dynamite” — he is remembered as
“Captain of Peace”!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

pride and predudice

Biography of Jane Austen (1775-1817)






Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 at Steventon, Hampshire, England. She was the seventh child of the rector of the parish, and lived with her loving family, which included one sister and six brothers, until they moved to Bath, a setting she utilized to advantage in many of her novels, when her father retired in 1801. Her father, Reverend George Austen (1731–1805), was from Kent and attended the Tunbridge School before studying at Oxford and going on to make a living as a rector at Steventon. Her mother, Cassandra Leigh Austen (1739–1827), was the daughter of a patrician family. Upon her father’s death in 1805, Austen moved with Cassandra and her mother to live with her brother Frank, and afterwards moved in 1809 to a cottage at Chawton, where her wealthy brother Edward had an estate.

Like many women of the era, Austen had almost no formal education, but she was an avid reader and a highly-regarded critical thinker. Although Austen’s family was neither noble nor wealthy, Rev. Austen had a particular interest in education, even for his daughters. In 1783, she received instruction from a relative in Oxford, and then went to study in Southampton. She also attended the Reading Ladies Boarding School in the Abbey gatehouse in Reading, Berkshire for one year (1785-1786). From her teen years on, she wrote comic pieces for an audience, and parodies of famous eighteenth-century novels in the manner of her novel Northanger Abbey, a satire of Ann Radcliffe’s famous Gothic novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho. In addition, the youngsters in the Austen family often staged theatrical productions perhaps similar to the production described in Mansfield Park.

Unlike many famous writers, who lived lives filled with adventure and travel, Austen lived an extremely quiet, uneventful life. She never married, but did accept an offer of marriage once from Harris Bigg-Wither, a "big and awkward" man six years her junior. However, for some unknown reason she changed her mind and rescinded her promise the day following her acceptance. In this era, unmarried women were not highly regarded: women of high social rank were not permitted to work, and thus remained dependent upon their families for financial support. For Austen, turning down a marriage proposal was an important decision indeed, because marriage would have freed her from the embarrassing situation of being a "dependent." More than anyone, Austen was close to her older sister Cassandra, who was her lifelong companion. The rest of her siblings were brothers. Frank and Charles went to sea and eventually became admirals. Most of Austen’s novels contain admirable characters who go to sea and do very well. For example, Fanny Price’s brother William in Mansfield Park begins his career as a midshipman and is eventually promoted to Lieutenant thanks to Henry Crawford, who arranges an interview with his uncle, the Admiral. William is one of the finest, most morally upright characters in the novel.

Plagued by ill-health, Austen lived much of her life in seclusion. (It is thought that she may have suffered from Addison's disease.) She died in Winchester on July 8, 1817 and was buried at the city’s famous cathedral.

In all, Jane Austen published four novels anonymously during her lifetime: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815). Two novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously, in 1817. Her novels focus on courtship and marriage, and remain well-known for Austen’s satiric depictions of English society and the manners of the era. Her insights into the lives of women during the late eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century Regency period, in addition to her highly regarded ability to handle form, satire, and irony have made her perhaps the most noted and influential novelist of her time. Incredibly, however, she achieved little renown during her lifetime. In short, Jane Austen was an English novelist whose work is considered to be a strong influence on the Western canon of English literature. Austen’s portrait, a colored sketch by her sister Cassandra, is available for viewing in National Portrait Gallery in London.

About Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice, published in 1813, is Jane's Austen's earliest work, and in some senses also one of her most mature works. Austen began writing the novel in 1796 at the age of twenty-one, under the title First Impressions. The original version of the novel was probably in the form of an exchange of letters. Austen's father had offered he manuscript for publication in 1797, but the publishing company refused to even consider it. Shortly after completing First Impressions, Austen began writing Sense and Sensibility, which was not published until 1811. She also wrote some minor works during that time, which were later expanded into full novels. Between 1810 and 1812 Pride and Prejudice was rewritten for publication. While the original ideas of the novel come from a girl of 21, the final version has the literary and thematic maturity of a thirty-five year old woman who has spent years painstakingly drafting and revising, as is the pattern with all of Austen's works. Pride and Prejudice is usually considered to be the most popular of Austen's novels.






Character List

Elizabeth Bennet: The protagonist of the novel and the second oldest of five sisters, Elizabeth is lively, quick-witted, sharp-tongued, bold and intelligent. Elizabeth is good-looking, and is especially distinguished by her fine eyes. The importance of her eyes may be symbolic of her abilities of perception. She has pride in her abilities to perceive the truth of situations and of people's characters. However, her perceptive abilities fail her frequently because she is influenced by vanity and judges people rashly. By the end of the novel she overcomes her prejudice through her dealings with Darcy. Elizabeth is concerned with propriety, good-manners, and virtue, but is not impressed by mere wealth or titles.

Mr. Darcy: An extremely wealthy aristocrat, Darcy is proud, haughty and extremely conscious of class differences at the beginning of the novel. He does, however, have a strong sense of honor and virtue. Elizabeth's rebukes after his first proposal to her help him to recognize his faults of pride and social prejudice. It is, in fact, precisely because Elizabeth is not so awed by his high social status as to be afraid to criticize his character that he is attracted to her. The self-knowledge acquired from Elizabeth's rebukes and the desire to win Elizabeth's love spur him to change and judge people more by their character than by their social class.

Jane Bennet: Jane is the oldest in the family. Beautiful, good-tempered, sweet, amiable, humble and selfless, Jane is universally well-liked. She refuses to judge anyone badly, always making excuses for people when Elizabeth brings their faults to her attention. Her tendency to give people the benefit of the doubt leads her to be hurt by insincere friends such as Caroline Bingley, although in the end her judgments seem to be more accurate than Elizabeth's overall and to do her much less harm. Jane is a static character‹as she is basically a model of virtue from the beginning, there is no room for her to develop in the novel.

Charles Bingley: Mr. Bingley, much like Jane, is an amiable and good-tempered person. He is not overly concerned with class differences, and Jane's poor family connections are not a serious deterrent to his attachment to her. Bingley is very modest and easily swayed by the advice of his friends, as seen in his decision not to propose to Jane as a result of Darcy's belief that Jane is not really attached to him. Also like Jane, Bingley lacks serious character faults and is thus static throughout the novel. His character and his love for Jane remain constant; the only thing that changes is the advice of Darcy, which leads him not to propose to Jane in the beginning of the novel but to propose to her in the end.

Mr. Wickham: An officer in the regiment stationed at Meryton, Wickham is quickly judged to be a perfectly good and amiable man because of his friendliness and the ease of his manners. He initially shows a preference for Elizabeth, and she is pleased by his attentions and inclined to believe his story about Darcy. Yet while Wickham has the appearance of goodness and virtue, this appearance is deceptive. His true nature begins to show itself through his attachment to Miss King for purely mercenary purposes and then through Darcy's exposition of his past and through his elopement with Lydia, deceiving her to believe that he intends to marry her.

Mrs. Bennet: Mrs. Bennet is a foolish and frivolous woman. She lacks all sense of propriety and virtue and has no concern for the moral or intellectual education of her daughters. From the beginning of the novel her sole obsession is to marry off her daughters. She is perfectly happy with Lydia's marriage, and never once censures her daughter for her shameful conduct or for the worry she has caused her family. Her impropriety is a constant source of mortification for the Elizabeth, and the inane nature of her conversation makes her society so difficult to bear that even Jane and Bingley decide to move out of the neighborhood a year after they are married.

Mr. Bennet: An intelligent man with good sense, Mr. Bennet made the mistake of marrying a foolish woman. He takes refuge in his books and seems to want nothing more than to be bothered as little as possible by his family. His indolence leads to the neglect of the education of daughters. Even when Elizabeth warns him not to allow Lydia to go to Brighton because of the moral danger of the situation, he does not listen to her because he does not want to be bothered with Lydia's complaints.

Lydia Bennet: The youngest of the Bennet sisters, Lydia is foolish and flirtatious, given up to indolence and the gratification of every whim. She is the favorite of Mrs. Bennet, because the two have such similar characters. Lydia is constantly obsessed with the officers in the regiment, and sees no purpose to life beyond entertainment and diversion. She lacks any sense of virtue, propriety or good-judgment, as seen in her elopement with Wickham and her complete lack of remorse afterward.

Catherine (Kitty) Bennet: Kitty seems to have little personality of her own, but simply to act as a shadow to Lydia, following Lydia's lead in whatever she does. The end of the novel provides hope that Lydia's character will improve by being removed from the society of Lydia and her mother and being taken care of primarily by Jane and Elizabeth.

Mary Bennet: The third oldest of the Bennet sisters, Mary is strangely solemn and pedantic. She dislikes going out into society, and to prefers to spend her time studying. In conversation, Mary is constantly moralizing or trying to make profound observations about human nature and life in general.

Mr. Collins: A clergyman and an extremely comical character because of his mix of obsequiousness and pride, Mr. Collins is fond of making long and silly speeches and stating formalities which have absolutely no meaning in themselves. For Mr. Collins, speech is not a means to communicate truth but a means to say what he thinks the people around him want to hear or what will make the people around him think well of him. He is in line to inherit Longbourn once Mr. Bennet dies, and wants to marry one of the Miss Bennets to lessen the burden of the entailment. When Elizabeth refuses him, he considers his duty discharged and transfers his affections to Charlotte Lucas.

Charlotte Lucas: Charlotte acts as a foil to Elizabeth by embodying the opposite view of marriage. Charlotte makes no attempt to find a husband whom she loves and esteems, but simply gives in to the necessity of acquiring financial security through marriage. She deals as well with Mr. Collins as is possible, but Elizabeth doubts their long-term happiness.

Sir William Lucas: A pleasant but not overly deep or intellectual man, he is a friend of the Bennet family. He is civil but his conversation is basically limited to empty observations and descriptions of his presentation and knighthood. Elizabeth accompanies him and his younger daughter Maria to visit Charlotte.

Maria Lucas: Charlotte's younger sister, she is as empty-headed as her father. Her only role in the novel is to travel with Elizabeth and Sir William to visit Charlotte.

Mrs. Gardiner: An intelligent, caring and sensible woman, Mrs. Gardiner acts a mother to Elizabeth and Jane, filling in for the inadequacy of Mrs. Bennet. She brings Jane to London with her in order to help cheer her up when she is heartbroken because of Bingley's failure to return to Netherfield, and she advises Elizabeth to avoid encouraging Wickham's affections. She attempts to help Lydia see why her elopement with Wickham was wrong, but Lydia is completely inattentive.

Mr. Gardiner: Mr. Gardiner is a merchant, and is an upright and intelligent man. The fact that he earns his money by working puts him in a lower social class than those who simply live off the interest of their land. Like his wife, Mr. Gardiner is one of those people whom Austen portrays as a natural aristocrat, and whom Darcy comes to like after overcoming his class prejudice.

Caroline Bingley: Miss Bingley is a superficial and selfish. She has all of Darcy's class prejudice but none of his honor and virtue. Throughout the novel she panders to Darcy in an attempt to win his affections, but to no avail. She pretends to be a genuine friend to Jane but is extremely rude to her when she comes to London. She also tries to prevent the marriage of Jane and Bingley and to prevent Darcy's attachment to Elizabeth by constantly ridiculing the poor manners of Elizabeth's mother and younger sisters.

Mrs. Hurst: Bingley's other sister, Mrs. Hurst's character basically matches that of her sister Caroline. She seems to have no real affection or esteem for her husband.

Mr. Hurst: An indolent man, he does almost nothing but eat and entertain himself by playing cards. He never says an intelligent word in the entire novel, and seems to be concerned only with the quality of the food.

Georgiana Darcy: Georgiana is Darcy's sister and is ten years his junior. She is quiet and shy but amiable and good-natured. She has great reverence and affection for her brother. She and Elizabeth get along well and become good friends after Elizabeth's marriage to Darcy. Bingley's sisters had hoped that Bingley would marry Georgiana, thus uniting the fortunes of the two families.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh: Lady Catherine is extremely wealthy and likes to let others know of their inferiority to her. She loves to give people advice about how to conduct their lives down to the minutest details, loves to hear flattery from others and hates to be contradicted. Extremely conscious of class differences, she attempts to prevent Darcy from marrying Elizabeth but actually unwittingly gives him the courage to propose a second time.

Miss de Bourgh: Miss de Bourgh is a frail, weak and sickly child who is extremely pampered by Lady Catherine. She speaks little in the novel but seems to be generally good-natured. Lady Catherine had wanted Darcy to marry Miss de Bourgh.

Colonel Fitzwilliam: A cousin of Mr. Darcy and a pleasant and amiable gentleman, he is a companion to Elizabeth during her stay with the Collinses. Colonel Fitzwilliam tells Elizabeth that he must marry someone with a large fortune because he is the second son, the first case in the novel where a man's marriage choices are constrained by financial need.

Mrs. Phillips: Mrs. Phillips is Mrs. Bennet's sister, and shares her sister's foolishness and frivolity. She lives in Meryton, and the Bennet sisters, particularly Lydia and Kitty, often visit her in order to socialize with the officers.

Mrs. Forster: The wife of Colonel Forster, who is the head of the regiment stationed at Meryton, she becomes friends with Lydia and invites her to spend the summer with them in Brighton. She is clearly not very responsible in her supervision of Lydia, and seems to have a rather frivolous character.

Colonel Forster: A good-natured and basically responsible man, Colonel Forster tries to do all that he possibly can to help the Bennets recover Lydia after her elopement with Wickham. While the elopement is not his fault, Lydia was under his care and he did not seem to be observing her conduct very closely.

Miss Younge: Miss Younge was Georgiana Darcy's governess at one point and conspired with Wickham to get Georgiana to elope with him. Clearly lacking in all moral sense, she is mentioned in the novel again when Darcy bribes her to tell him the whereabouts of Wickham and Lydia.






Major Themes

Pride: As said in the words of Mary at the beginning of the novel, "human nature is particularly prone to [pride]" (Volume I, Chapter 5). In the novel, pride prevents the characters from seeing the truth of a situation and from achieving happiness in life. Pride is one of the main barriers that creates an obstacle to Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage. Darcy's pride in his position in society leads him initially to scorn anyone outside of his own social circle. Elizabeth's vanity clouds her judgment, making her prone to think ill of Darcy and to think well of Wickham. In the end, Elizabeth's rebukes of Darcy help him to realize his fault and to change accordingly, as demonstrated in his genuinely friendly treatment of the Gardiners, whom he previously would have scorned because of their low social class. Darcy's letter shows Elizabeth that her judgments were wrong and she realizes that they were based on vanity, not on reason.

Prejudice: Pride and prejudice are intimately related in the novel. As critic A. Walton Litz comments, "in Pride and Prejudice one cannot equate Darcy with Pride, or Elizabeth with Prejudice; Darcy's pride of place is founded on social prejudice, while Elizabeth's initial prejudice against him is rooted in pride of her own quick perceptions." Darcy, having been brought up in such a way that he began to scorn all those outside his own social circle, must overcome his prejudice in order to see that Elizabeth would be a good wife for him and to win Elizabeth's heart. The overcoming of his prejudice is demonstrated when he treats the Gardiners with great civility. The Gardiners are a much lower class than Darcy, because Mr. Darcy is a lawyer and must practice a trade to earn a living, rather than living off of the interest of an estate as gentlemen do. From the beginning of the novel Elizabeth prides herself on her keen ability for perception. Yet this supposed ability is often lacking, as in Elizabeth's judgments of Darcy and Wickham.

Family: Austen portrays the family as primarily responsible for the intellectual and moral education of children. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's failure to provide this education for their daughters leads to the utter shamelessness, foolishness, frivolity, and immorality of Lydia. Elizabeth and Jane have managed to develop virtue and strong characters in spite of the negligence of their parents, perhaps through the help of their studies and the good influence of Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, who are the only relatives in the novel that take a serious concern in the girls' well-being and provide sound guidance. Elizabeth and Jane are constantly forced to put up with the foolishness and poor judgment of their mother and the sarcastic indifference of their father. Even when Elizabeth advises her father not to allow Lydia to go to Brighton, he ignores the advice because he thinks it would too difficult to deal with Lydia's complaining. The result is the scandal of Lydia's elopement with Wickham.

Women and Marriage: Austen is critical of the gender injustices present in 19th century English society. The novel demonstrates how money such as Charlotte need to marry men they are not in love with simply in order to gain financial security. The entailment of the Longbourn estate is an extreme hardship on the Bennet family, and is quite obviously unjust. The entailment of Mr. Bennet's estate leaves his daughters in a poor financial situation which both requires them to marry and makes it more difficult to marry well. Clearly, Austen believes that woman are at least as intelligent and capable as men, and considers their inferior status in society to be unjust. She herself went against convention by remaining single and earning a living through her novels. In her personal letters Austen advises friends only to marry for love. Through the plot of the novel it is clear that Austen wants to show how Elizabeth is able to be happy by refusing to marry for financial purposes and only marrying a man whom she truly loves and esteems.

Class: Considerations of class are omnipresent in the novel. The novel does not put forth an egalitarian ideology or call for the leveling of all social classes, yet it does criticize an over-emphasis on class. Darcy's inordinate pride is based on his extreme class-consciousness. Yet eventually he sees that factors other than wealth determine who truly belongs in the aristocracy. While those such as Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst, who are born into the aristocracy, are idle, mean-spirited and annoying, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are not members of the aristocracy in terms of wealth or birth but are natural aristocrats by virtue of their intelligence, good-breeding and virtue. The comic formality of Mr. Collins and his obsequious relationship with Lady Catherine serve as a satire class consciousness and social formalities. In the end, the verdict on class differences is moderate. As critic Samuel Kliger notes, "It the conclusion of the novel makes it clear that Elizabeth accepts class relationships as valid, it becomes equally clear that Darcy, through Elizabeth's genius for treating all people with respect for their natural dignity, is reminded that institutions are not an end in themselves but are intended to serve the end of human happiness."

Individual and Society: The novel portrays a world in which society takes an interest in the private virtue of its members. When Lydia elopes with Wickham, therefore, it is scandal to the whole society and an injury to entire Bennet family. Darcy considers his failure to expose the wickedness of Wickham's character to be a breach of his social duty because if Wickham's true character had been known others would not have been so easily deceived by him. While Austen is critical of society's ability to judge properly, as demonstrated especially in their judgments of Wickham and Darcy, she does believe that society has a crucial role in promoting virtue. Austen has a profound sense that individuals are social beings and that their happiness is found through relationships with others. According to critic Richard Simpson, Austen has a "thorough consciousness that man is a social being, and that apart from society there is not even the individual."

Virtue: Austen's novels unite Aristotelian and Christian conceptions of virtue. She sees human life as purposeful and believes that human beings must guide their appetites and desires through their use of reason. Elizabeth's folly in her misjudgments of Darcy and Wickham is that her vanity has prevented her from reasoning objectively. Lydia seems almost completely devoid of virtue because she has never trained herself to discipline her passions or formed her judgment such that she is capable of making sound moral decisions. Human happiness is found by living a life in accordance with human dignity, which is a life in accordance with virtue. Self-knowledge has a central place in the acquisition of virtue, as it is a prerequisite for moral improvement. Darcy and Elizabeth are only freed of their pride and prejudice when their dealings with one another help them to see their faults and spur them to improve.






Short Summary


Pride and Prejudice is set primarily in the county of Hertfordshire, about 50 miles outside of London. The novel opens at with a conversation at Longbourn, the Bennet's estate, about the arrival of Mr. Bingley, "a single man of large fortune," to Netherfield Park, a nearby estate. Mrs. Bennet, whose obsession is to find husbands for her daughters, sees Mr. Bingley as a potential suitor. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five children: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia.

The Bennets' first acquaintance with Mr. Bingley and his companions is at the Meryton Ball. Mr. Bingley takes a liking to Jane and is judged by the townspeople to be perfectly amiable and agreeable. Mr. Bingley's friend Mr. Darcy, however, snubs Elizabeth and is considered to be proud and disagreeable because of his reserve and his refusal to dance. Bingley's sisters are judged to be amiable by Jane but Elizabeth finds them to be arrogant.

After further interactions, it becomes evident that Jane and Bingley have a preference for one another, although Bingley's partiality is more obvious than Jane's because she is universally cheerful and amiable. Charlotte Lucas, a close friend of Elizabeth with more pragmatic views on marriage, recommends that Jane make her regard for Bingley more obvious. At the same time, Mr. Darcy begins to admire Elizabeth, captivated by her fine eyes and lively wit.

When Jane is invited for dinner at Netherfield, Mrs. Bennet refuses to provide her with a carriage, hoping that because it is supposed to rain Jane will be forced to spend the night. However, because Jane gets caught in the rain, she falls ill and is forced to stay at Netherfield until she recovers. Upon hearing that Jane is ill, Elizabeth walks to Netherfield in order to go nurse her sister. Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst (Bingley's sisters) are scandalized that Elizabeth walked so far alone in the mud. Seeing that Jane would like Elizabeth to stay with her, Bingley's sisters invite Elizabeth to remain at Netherfield until Jane recovers.

During her stay at Netherfield, Elizabeth increasingly gains the admiration of Mr. Darcy. She is blind to his partiality, however, and continues to think him a most proud and haughty man because of the judgment she made of him when he snubbed her at the ball. Miss Bingley, who is obviously trying to gain the admiration of Mr. Darcy, is extremely jealous of Elizabeth and tries to prevent Mr. Darcy from admiring her by making rude references to the poor manners of Elizabeth's mother and younger sisters and to her lower class relatives. When Mrs. Bennet and her younger daughters come to visit Jane, Elizabeth is mortified by their foolishness and complete lack of manners. Bingley's admiration for Jane continues unabated and is evident in his genuine solicitude for her recovery. After Jane recovers, she returns home with Elizabeth.

A militia regiment is stationed at the nearby town of Meryton, where Mrs. Bennet's sister Mrs. Phillips lives. Mrs. Phillips is just as foolish as Mrs. Bennet. Lydia and Kitty love to go to Meryton to visit with their aunt and socialize with the militia's officers.

Mr. Collins, a cousin of Mr. Bennet who is in line to inherit Longbourn because the estate has been entailed away from the female line, writes a letter stating his intention to visit. When he arrives, he makes it clear that he hopes to find a suitable wife among the Miss Bennets. Mr. Collins is a clergyman, and his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh (who is also Darcy's aunt), has suggested that he find a wife, and he hopes to lessen the hardship of the entailment by marrying one of Mr. Bennet's daughters. Mr. Collins is a silly man who speaks in long, pompous speeches and always has an air of solemn formality.

When the Miss Bennets and Mr. Collins go for a walk to Meryton, they are introduced to an officer in the regiment named Mr. Wickham. They also run into Mr. Darcy, and when Darcy and Wickham meet both seem to be extremely uncomfortable. Mr. Wickham immediately shows a partiality for Elizabeth and they speak at length. Wickham tells Elizabeth that the reason for the mutual embarrassment when he and Darcy met is that Darcy's father had promised that Wickham, his godson, should be given a good living after his death, but that Darcy had failed to fulfill his father's dying wishes and had left Wickham to support himself. Elizabeth, already predisposed to think badly of Darcy, does not question Wickham's account. When Elizabeth tells Jane Wickham's story Jane refuses think badly of either Wickham or Darcy and assumes there must be some misunderstanding.

As promised, Bingley hosts a ball at Netherfield. He and Jane stay together the whole evening, and their mutual attachment becomes increasingly obvious. Mrs. Bennet speaks of their marriage as imminent over dinner, within earshot of Mr. Bingley's friend Mr. Darcy. Darcy asks Elizabeth to dance with her and she inadvertently accepts. She does not enjoy it and cannot understand why he asked her. Mr. Collins pays particularly close attention to Elizabeth at the ball, and even reserves the first two dances with her.

The next day Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth. She refuses him, and after a while Mr. Collins comes to understand that her refusal is sincere, not just a trick of female coquetry. Mrs. Bennet is extremely angry at Elizabeth for not accepting, but Mr. Bennet is glad. Mr. Collins shifts his attentions to Elizabeth's friend Charlotte Lucas. He proposes to Charlotte and she accepts. Elizabeth is disappointed in her friend for agreeing to marry such a silly man simply to obtain financial security.

Bingley goes to London for business and shortly after he leaves his sisters and Darcy go to London as well. He had planned to return quickly to Netherfield, but Caroline Bingley writes to Jane and tells her that Bingley will almost definitely not return for about six months. Caroline also tells Jane that the family hopes Bingley will marry Darcy's younger sister Georgiana and unite the fortunes of the two families. Jane is heartbroken, thinking that Bingley must not really be attached to her. Elizabeth thinks that Darcy and Bingley's sisters somehow managed to convince Bingley to stay in London rather than returning to Netherfield to propose to Jane.

Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, Elizabeth's aunt and uncle, come to Longbourn to visit. They invite Jane to come and spend some time with them in London, hoping that the time away will help to cheer her up. Elizabeth also hopes that Jane will run into Bingley while in London. Mrs. Gardiner, after observing Elizabeth and Wickham together, warns Elizabeth against the imprudence of a marriage to Wickham because of his poor financial situation, and advises Elizabeth not to encourage his attentions so much.

While in London Jane is treated very rudely by Caroline Bingley and comes to realize that she is not a sincere friend. She assumes that Mr. Bingley knows she is in London, and decides that he must no longer be partial to her since she does not hear from him at all.

Wickham suddenly transfers his attentions from Elizabeth to Miss King, who has recently acquired 10,000 pounds from an inheritance.

Along with Sir William Lucas and Maria Lucas (Charlotte's father and younger sister) Elizabeth goes to visit Charlotte (now Mrs. Collins) at her new home in Kent. On their way they stop to see the Gardiners. Upon hearing of Wickham's change of affections, Mrs. Gardiner is critical, but Elizabeth defends him.

While staying with the Collinses, Elizabeth and the others are often invited to dine at Rosings, the large estate of Mr. Collins' patroness Lady Catherine. Lady Catherine is completely arrogant and domineering. After Elizabeth has been at the Parsonage for a fortnight, Mr. Darcy and his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam visit Rosings. Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam get along very well. Darcy also seems to be paying a lot of attention to Elizabeth, and often visits her and Charlotte at the Parsonage along with Colonel Fitzwilliam. He also purposely meets her very frequently on her usual walking route through the park.

While walking one day with Elizabeth, Colonel Fitzwilliam tells Elizabeth how Darcy recently saved a close friend from an imprudent marriage. Elizabeth concludes from this comment that it must have been Darcy's advice which convinced Bingley not to propose to Jane. She becomes so angry and upset that she gets a terrible headache and decides not to go to Rosings for dinner. While she is alone at the Parsonage, Darcy pays a visit. He tells her that in spite of all his efforts to avoid it because of her low family connections, he has fallen in love with her and wants to marry her. Elizabeth is shocked. She rudely refuses and rebukes him for the ungentlemanlike manner in which he proposed, as well as for preventing the marriage of Bingley and Jane and for ill-treating Wickham. Darcy is shocked because he had assumed she would accept.

The next day Darcy finds Elizabeth and hands her a letter then quickly leaves. The letter contains an explanation of his reasons for advising Bingley not to marry Jane and for his actions toward Wickham. He had prevented Bingley from proposing to Jane because it did not seem to him that Jane was truly attached to Bingley. Wickham was Darcy's father's god-son. Before his death, Darcy's father had asked Darcy to provide Wickham with a living if Wickham were to decide to enter the clergy. Wickham, however, did not want to enter the clergy. He asked Darcy for 3,000 pounds, purportedly for law school, and agreed not to ask for any more. Darcy gave Wickham the money and he squandered it all on dissolute living, then came back and told Darcy he would like to enter the clergy if he could have the living promised to him. Darcy refused. Later, with the help of her governess Miss Younge, Wickham got Darcy's younger sister Georgiana to fall in love with him and agree to an elopement, in order to revenge himself on Mr. Darcy and get Miss Darcy's fortune. Fortunately, Darcy found out and intervened at the last minute.

After reading these explanations in the letter Elizabeth's first reaction is disbelief, but after reflecting upon and slowly rereading the letter, she begins to see that Darcy is telling the truth and that she was only inclined to believe Wickham's story because he had flattered her with his attentions, while she was inclined to think ill of Darcy because he had wounded her pride on their first meeting.

Soon afterwards, Elizabeth returns home from her stay with the Collinses and Jane returns home from her stay with the Gardiners. When they return their mother and sisters are upset because the regiment stationed in Meryton will soon be leaving, depriving them of most of their amusement. Lydia receives an offer from Mrs. Forster, Colonel Forster's wife, to accompany her to Brighton, where the regiment will be going. Elizabeth advises her father not to allow Lydia to go, thinking that such a trip could lead to serious misconduct on Lydia's part because of the flirtatiousness and frivolity of her character and her complete lack of a sense of propriety. However, Mr. Bennet does not heed Elizabeth's advice.

Elizabeth goes on vacation with the Gardiners. Their first stop is in the area of Pemberley, Mr. Darcy's estate. The Gardiners want to take a tour, and having found out that Mr. Darcy is away, Elizabeth agrees. During their tour of the estate the housekeeper tells them about how kind and good-natured Darcy is. Elizabeth is impressed by this praise, and also thinks of how amazing it would be to be the mistress of such an estate. During their tour of the gardens Elizabeth and the Gardiners run into Mr. Darcy, who has returned early from his trip. Darcy is extremely cordial to both Elizabeth and the Gardiners and tells Elizabeth that he wants her to meet his sister Georgiana as soon as she arrives.

Darcy and Georgiana pay a visit to Elizabeth and the Gardiners at their inn on the very morning of Georgiana's arrival. Bingley comes to visit as well. It is clear that he still has a regard for Jane. Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth return their civilities by calling at Pemberley to visit Georgiana. Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst are there as well, and they thinly conceal their displeasure at seeing Elizabeth.

One morning Elizabeth receives a letter from Jane announcing that Lydia has eloped with Wickham, and that they fear Wickham does not actually intend to marry her. Jane asks Elizabeth to return home immediately. Darcy comes to the door just after Elizabeth has received the news. She explains to him what has happened. He feels partially to blame for not having exposed Wickham's character publicly.

Elizabeth and the Gardiners depart for Longbourn immediately. Mrs. Bennet is in hysterics and the entire burden of keeping the household together in this moment of crisis has fallen on Jane's shoulders. They find out from Colonel Forster that Wickham has over 1,000 pounds of gambling debts and nearly that much owed to merchants. The next day Mr. Gardiner goes to join Mr. Bennet in London to help him search for Lydia. After many days of fruitless searches Mr. Bennet returns home and leaves the search in Mr. Gardiner's hands.

Soon a letter arrives from Mr. Gardiner explaining that Lydia and Wickham have been found and that Wickham will marry Lydia if Mr. Bennet provides her with her equal share of his wealth. Knowing that, with his debts, Wickham would never have agreed to marry Lydia for so little money, Mr. Bennet thinks that Mr. Gardiner must have paid off Wickham's debts for him.

After their marriage Lydia and Wickham come to visit Longbourn. Lydia is completely shameless and not the least bit remorseful for her conduct. Mrs. Bennet is very happy to have one of her daughters married.

Elizabeth hears from Lydia that Darcy was present at the wedding. She writes to her aunt to ask her why he was there. She responds explaining that it was Darcy who had found Lydia and Wickham and who had negotiated with Wickham to get him to marry her. Mrs. Gardiner thinks that Darcy did this out of love for Elizabeth.

Bingley and Mr. Darcy return to Netherfield Park. They call at Longbourn frequently. After several days Bingley proposes to Jane. She accepts and all are very happy.

In the meantime Darcy has gone on a short business trip to London. While he is gone Lady Catherine comes to Longbourn and asks to speak with Elizabeth. Lady Catherine tells Elizabeth that she has heard Darcy is going to propose to her and attempts to forbid Elizabeth to accept the proposal. Elizabeth refuses to make any promises. Lady Catherine leaves in a huff.

Darcy returns from his business trip. While he and Elizabeth are walking he tells her that his affection for her is the same as when he last proposed, and asks her if her disposition toward him has changed. She says that it has, and that she would be happy to accept his proposal. They speak about how they have been changed since the last proposal. Darcy realized he had been wrong to act so proudly and place so much emphasis on class differences. Elizabeth realized that she had been wrong to judge Darcy prematurely and to allow her judgment to be affected by her vanity.

Both couples marry. Elizabeth and Darcy go to live in Pemberley. Jane and Bingley, after living in Netherfield for a year, decide to move to an estate near Pemberley. Kitty begins to spend most of her time with her two sisters, and her education and character begin to improve. Mary remains at home keeping her mother company. Mr. Bennet is very happy that his two oldest daughters have married so happily. Mrs. Bennet is glad that her daughters have married so prosperously.







Summary and Analysis of Volume I, Chapters 1-6


Volume I, Chapter 1 Summary:

The novel begins with a conversation at Longbourn, the Bennet household, regarding the impending arrival of Mr. Bingley, "a single man of large fortune" to Netherfield Park, a nearby estate. Mrs. Bennet sees Mr. Bingley as a potential suitor for her daughters, and attempts to persuade Mr. Bingley to visit him. There are five daughters in the Bennet family. Mr. Bennet seems to prefer Elizabeth, the second oldest, because of her intelligence, while Mrs. Bennet seems fonder of the oldest, Jane, because of her beauty, and the middle child, Lydia, because of her good humor.

Volume I, Chapter 2 Summary:

Without telling his family, Mr. Bennet pays a visit to Mr. Bingley. He surprises his family by slipping the news unexpectedly into a conversation, but disappoints them by eluding their barrage of questions about Bingley's character.

Volume I, Chapters 1-2 Analysis:

The opening chapters of the novel introduce the reader to the principal characters and set forth a skeleton of the plot. The main themes of the novel and the stylistic devices through which they will be conveyed are also evident from the outset.

The first line of the novel--"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife"--is among the most famous first lines in literature. It not only calls the reader's attention to the central place that marriage will have in the plot of the story, but also introduces the reader immediately to Austen's use of irony. While the focus of the line is on "a single man . . . in want of a wife," the real emphasis in the noveland in the society of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuriesis the need for young women to find a husband in possession of a good fortune. The purely economic, utilitarian motive for marriage will come under attack in the novel, as will, implicitly, the societal constraints which leave many women with little choice but to marry for the sake of economic survival.

Our first glimpse of the Bennett family is enough to provide us with a fairly accurate sketch of their characters. Mrs. Bennett is chatty, frivolous and obsessed with marrying off her daughters, while Mr. Bennett is rather detached and ironic, not overly involved with the cares of the family. Jane is beautiful, amiable and good-natured, and always assumes that others are as good-natured as she. Elizabeth, good-looking but not as beautiful as her sister, has a sharp wit and prides herself on her keen perception of others' characters.

From the very first pages of the novel Austen's tendency to favor dialogue over narration is clearly manifested. Critics have acclaimed Austen's ability to bring characters to life by having them reveal themselves to the reader through their actions and dialogue, rather than through detailed narrative descriptions. Critic George Henry Lewes, a contemporary of Austen, lauds her because "instead of description, the common and easy resource of novelists, she has the rare and difficult art of dramatic presentation instead of telling us what her characters are, and what they feel, she presents the people, and they reveal themselves."

Volume I, Chapter 3 Summary:

The ladies of the household meet Mr. Bingley and his friend from London, Mr. Darcy, at a ball at Meryton. Mr. Darcy is quickly judged as "the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world" because of his reserve and unwillingness to dance with anyone outside of his own party. When both Darcy and Elizabeth are sitting out a dance and Bingley attempts to persuade him to dance with her, Elizabeth overhears Darcy's reply "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me." Mr. Bingley, on the other hand, is judged to be entirely amiable. He danced first with Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth's friend, but the only person with whom he danced twice was Jane. Upon returning home, Mrs. Bennet attempts to explain the event of the ball in detail to Mr. Bennet, but he is indifferent and even annoyed.

Volume I, Chapter 4 Summary:

When they are alone, Jane confides to Elizabeth that she admires Mr. Bingley. Elizabeth approves of him, although she points out that Jane never sees faults in others. While Elizabeth is critical of the snobbish behavior of Bingley's sisters, Jane insists that they are pleasing in conversation.

Bingley has a long-standing friendship with Darcy, in spite of their opposite personalities. Bingley is easy-going and open, while Darcy is haughty and reserved. While Bingley found the company at the Meryton ball to be quite amiable, Darcy saw no one with whom he wished to associate, and even though he assents to Jane's beauty, he complains that she smiles too much.

Bingley's sisters also tell him that they like Jane, and he feels "authorised by such commendation" to think what he likes of her.

Volume I, Chapters 3-4 Analysis:

The Meryton ball introduces the reader to the two main couples in the novel, and also foreshadows the differences in how their relationships will develop. Jane and Bingley are attracted to each from the outset, and their simple, amiable, easy-going natures prevent internal difficulties from hindering their attachment. The fact that Bingley seems to wait for his sisters' approval before feeling "authorised" to like Jane demonstrates how easily influenced he is by others' opinions and foreshadows external difficulties in the development of his relationship with Jane. Elizabeth and Darcy, however, hardly have the most favorable first impressions of one another. Elizabeth's quickness to judge Darcy and her pride in the accuracy of her perceptions will prevent from seeing the good side of his character until extraordinary events make her realize her mistake. Because of his pride and extreme class-consciousness, Darcy refuses even to consider Elizabeth as a dancing partner. The original title of the novel was, in fact, First Impressions. Indeed, the characters' first impressions of each other serve to mark the course of their future relationships.

The ball reinforces what we have already begun to see about the characters of Jane and Elizabeth. Thus while Jane assures Elizabeth that Bingley's sisters are pleasant once they have been engaged in conversation, Elizabeth, judges them to be haughty and dislikes them immediately.

Volume I, Chapter 5 Summary:

Sir William Lucas and his family live near Longbourn, and Sir William's eldest daughter Charlotte is a close friend of Elizabeth. The day after the ball Charlotte and Lady Lucas go visit the Miss Bennetts to talk over the ball. They speak about general admiration for Jane's beauty and Bingley's attraction to her, and then go on to criticize Darcy's pride and his treatment of Elizabeth. Mary makes a remark about universality of pride in human nature and its differentiation from vanity.

Volume I, Chapter 6 Summary:

Bingley's sisters, while not desirous of become better acquainted with Mrs. Bennett and the younger Bennet sisters, begin to become better acquainted with Jane and Elizabeth. Jane is pleased by their attention, but Elizabeth is still critical of them. The mutual regard of Jane and Bingley for one another is evident to Elizabeth, though Jane's composure and "uniform cheerfulness of manner" prevent her regard for him from becoming obvious.

Charlotte remarks that it may not be such a good thing that Jane's affection is guarded, because it may cause discouragement in Bingley. Charlotte believes that a woman should show more affection than she feels in order to make a man form an attachment to her, and thinks that "happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance."

Mr. Darcy begins to take an interest in Elizabeth, attracted by her dark eyes and the "easy playfulness" of her manners. Before conversing directly with her, he listens on a conversation between Elizabeth and Sir William Lucas. Elizabeth refuses to dance with Darcy, in spite of the entreaties of Sir William. Darcy mentions his admiration for Elizabeth to Miss Bingley, who is vainly attempting to attract his admiration to herself. Miss Bingley responds by satirically criticizing Bennett family.

Volume I, Chapters 5-6 Analysis:

Charlotte's comments to Elizabeth about Jane's manner of dealing with Bingley reveal that Charlotte has a much more pragmatic view of marriage than Elizabeth, and foreshadow her future decision to marry for purely economic purposes. Charlotte is critical of Jane's reserve in showing her regard for Bingley, and thinks that once she is secure of his affection there will be plenty of "leisure for falling in love as much as she chuses." Elizabeth, on the other hand, disagrees with Charlotte, commenting that her advice is good "where nothing is in question but the desire of being well married," but stating that she and Jane believe marriage should be based on love. Charlotte has a somewhat cynical view of marriage. She asserts that "happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance," and that "it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life." Elizabeth simply laughs at Charlotte's comments, telling her "You know you would never act in this way yourself." Yet subsequent events prove Elizabeth's judgment to be in error.

Elizabeth's blindness to Darcy's regard for her is caused by the harsh judgment of him which she formed at the ball: "to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable no where, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with." Her refusal to dance with him is a way of avenging her pride, injured from his refusal to dance with her at the ball.

Miss Bingley's jealousy of Elizabeth also begins to come to the fore. She attempts to win Darcy's favor by commenting on how "insupportable" it is to spend time with "such society," but he surprises her by saying that he is quite happy, "meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow." On finding out that Elizabeth is the object of his admiration, she begins to speak about what it would be like to have Mrs. Bennett as a mother-in-law, indirectly drawing his attention to the differences in class between his family and Elizabeth's. The barriers of class difference, however, are not nearly so powerful a hindrance to the relationship of Elizabeth and Darcy as are the internal barriers of their own pride and prejudice.
Summary and Analysis of Volume I, Chapters 7-14


Volume I, Chapter 7 Summary:

Lydia and Catherine, the two youngest in the family, often go to visit their aunt, Mrs. Phillips, in Meryton, where a militia regiment has recently arrived. Mr. Bennet complains of his daughters' foolishness, but Mrs. Bennet does not consider their obsession with the officers to be a cause for concern.

Jane receives an invitation to have dinner with Bingley's sisters. Rather than allowing her to use the carriage to go to Netherfield, Mrs. Bingley tells Jane to go on horseback, hoping that it will rain and that Jane will have to spend the night at Netherfield. Jane does not like the scheme, but has no choice but to accept it.

The plan works all too well, however‹not only is Jane forced to spend the night at Netherfield, but she falls ill as a result of getting soaked in the rain, and has to stay at Netherfield until her recovery. Elizabeth goes to Netherfield to visit Jane, and because there are no horses available she walks. The Bingley sisters are scandalized that Elizabeth walked such a distance in the mud. Jane's condition having intensified, Elizabeth attends to her with great solicitude. Because Jane does not want Elizabeth to leave, Miss Bingley invites her to stay at Netherfield.

Volume I, Chapter 7 Analysis:

Chapter 7 gives the reader a closer look at the youngest sisters in the Bennet family, Catherine and Lydia. Because of their "vacant" minds, the two sisters love to go to the nearby town of Meryton, where the presence of a militia regiment provides a great deal of amusement. While they were there they visited aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips. Mr. Bennet criticizes the silliness of Lydia and Catherine, but is characteristically detached from the situation and makes no attempt to stop them from going to Meryton or even to warn them about the possible dangers of their obsession with the militia officers. Mrs. Bennet does not even criticize the girls, and considers it completely acceptable for the girls to act so frivolously "Œyou must not expect such girls to have the sense of their father and mother.'" Ironically, what Mrs. Bennet's attitude proves is that girls lack of sense is precisely the result of her own foolishness and of Mr. Bennet's indifference. Austen views the family as the fundamental unit of society, within which children educated in virtue. The failure of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet to take their parental duties seriously will result in family disgrace. Their nonchalance with regard to Lydia and Catherine's involvement with the military regiment forebodes future trouble.

An analysis of the significance of Jane's stay at Netherfield will be presented as a whole after Chapter 12.

Volume I, Chapter 8 Summary:

When Elizabeth leaves the dinner table to continue attending to Jane, the Bingley sisters harshly criticize her pride and stubborn independence for having walked to Netherfield alone, but Mr. Bingley and Darcy admire Elizabeth's devotion to Jane. The Bingley sisters also deride the low family connections of Jane and Elizabeth. Bingley does not seem to care about their low connections, although Darcy considers it an impediment to their marrying well.

In the evening after Jane has fallen asleep, Elizabeth joins the others in the drawing room, and they have a conversation about what it means for a woman to be accomplished. Darcy and Miss Bennett provide such unrealistic criteria that Elizabeth claims she has never seen such a woman in her life.

Volume I, Chapter 9 Summary:

Elizabeth asks that her mother be summoned to come and see Elizabeth. Mrs. Bennet is happy because she sees that Jane is not in danger but that she is ill enough to continue her stay at Netherfield. Elizabeth is thoroughly embarrassed by her mother's conduct in the conversation, and particularly by her extreme rudeness to Darcy. Mrs. Bennet returns home and Elizabeth continues to attend to Jane.

Volume I, Chapter 10 Summary:

That evening in the drawing room Darcy writes a letter to his sister while Miss Bennet observes him and continually makes comments in admiration of his letter-writing style. The group gets into a discussion about Bingley's characters, which leads to Elizabeth's praise of someone who yields to the persuasion of friends.

As the Bennet sisters sing and play the piano, Elizabeth notices how frequently Mr. Darcy looks at her, butunable imagine that he might admire hershe assumes he is staring at her because of his disapproval of her. Darcy asks her to dance a reel, but Elizabeth assumes that there is some sarcasm in this invitation, and satirically declines the offer. Miss Bingley notices, and begins to taunt Darcy by speaking about the possibility of marrying into the Bennet family and emphasizing the inferiority of her connections.

Volume I, Chapter 11 Summary:

After dinner Jane is feeling well enough to join the others in the drawing room, and Elizabeth is delighted by the attention which Bingley shows to her. Miss Bingley continues in her vain attempts to please Darcy, and even feigns a love for reading, picking up the second volume of the book which he is reading. She then begins to walk around the room, attempting to catch Darcy's admiration. She fails, but as soon as she invites Elizabeth to walk with her Mr. Darcy looks up and stops reading. They begin to converse about Darcy's character, and Darcy admits that he has a tendency to be resentful.

Volume I, Chapter 12 Summary:

Jane having recovered from her illness, she and Elizabeth resolve to go home the next morning. Her mother is unwilling to send the carriage so soon, wanting to extend Jane's stay as long as possible, but Elizabeth and Jane are resolved to go and they ask for the Bingleys to lend them their carriage. Elizabeth and Jane are glad to be returning home, and all except Bingley are happy to see them go. Darcy is glad to be removed from the danger of Elizabeth's company, and Miss Bingley is glad to be rid of her competition.

Volume I, Chapters 8-12 Analysis:

Elizabeth and Jane's stay at Netherfield acts a vehicle by which the issue of class difference is brought to the fore. Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst make constant reference to the low connections of Jane and Elizabeth whenever the two are not in the room. They speak about the fact that one of Bennet's relations is an attorney. While from today's point of view it seems difficult to see why this fact should be an object of derision, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when Austen was writing, working for a living rather than living off the income of capital or land was judged to be socially inferior. While the issue of class is usually brought up by Miss Bingley who is extremely envious of Darcy's obvious admiration for Elizabeth, the Bingley sisters also bring up the class issue with relation to Jane, expressing their sorrow that her low connections will limit her marriage possibilities.

Darcy believes that "were it not for the inferiority of [Elizabeth's] connections, he should be in some danger." This very belief, however, reveals that he is already in more "danger" than he would like to admit. While Bingley seems to have little concern for class issues, paradoxically it is he and not Darcy who allows class considerations overall his affections. Yet Bingley's actions are not so incomprehensible considering the information which Austen about Bingley's character. Darcy, Elizabeth and Bingley have a conversation about Bingley's character in which Darcy criticizes the ease with which he succumbs to the influence of his family and friends, and Elizabeth defends Bingley, saying the yielding to the persuasion of a friend is meritorious. Ironically, further along in the story Darcy is the one who will be persuading Bingley, and Elizabeth will be quite angry at him for having done so.

While Mrs. Bennet had hoped that Jane's forced stay at Netherfield would further the attachment of Jane and Bingley, she would have never guessed at the second attachment which would begin to form‹that between Elizabeth and Darcy. In spite of Elizabeth's obvious coldness toward him and Miss Bingley's constant ridicule about the inferiority of Elizabeth's connections, Darcy finds himself increasingly attracted to Elizabeth, particularly her beautiful dark eyes. Yet as beautiful as her eyes are, their darkness also represents Elizabeth's main weakness‹the clouding of her perception by pride and prejudice. Elizabeth prides herself on her ability to judge the others' characters and to uncover the motives behind their actions. Yet her prejudgment of Darcy blinds her to his admiration of her. When Darcy asks Elizabeth if she is inclined to dance a reel, she assumes that he only asked her in order to ridicule her for her unrefined taste. She does not know what to make of his respectful treatment of her. Toward the end of the Bennet sisters' stay at Netherfield, Miss Bennet, Darcy and Elizabeh have a conversation about Darcy's character. Elizabeth concludes that Darcy's defect is "a propensity to hate everybody," while Darcy perceptively replies that hers is "Œwilfully to misunderstand them.'"

Volume I, Chapter 13 Summary:

At breakfast the following day Mr. Bennet announces that Mr. Collins, a cousin of his whom he has never met, will be coming to visit. Because of the laws of inheritance at the time and because Mr. Bennet has no sons, Mr. Collins is in line to inherit Longbourn. Mrs. Bennet hates Mr. Collins because of this, but Elizabeth and Jane try to explain the nature of the laws of entailment.

To inform them of his visit, Mr. Collins writes a letter to Mr. Bennet. In the letter Mr. Collins explains that he has recently been ordained and is under the patronage of Lady Catherine De Bourgh.

Mr. Collins arrives in the afternoon as expected. He is 25 years old, tall and heavyset, with a grave air and formal manners. When he is conversing with the women of the household before dinner, he mentions that he is well aware of the hardship involved in the entailment of the estate and that he wants to make amends for this hardship. He has come "prepared to admire" the young ladies of the household. Mr. Collins also expresses his admiration for the house itself and for the quality of the dinner.

Volume I, Chapter 14 Summary:

After dinner Mr. Bennet invites Mr. Collins to speak about his patroness Lady Catherine. Mr. Collins describes Lady Catherine with great solemnity and effusive praise, remarking on her great affability and condescension to him in spite of her high rank. He also describes Lady Catherine's daughter, Miss de Bourgh, as quite charming but rather sickly. He tries to ingratiate himself with Lady Catherine by thinking up pretty and flattering phrases to tell her about Miss de Bourgh while trying to make his praise seem spontaneous. Mr. Bennet is convinced that Mr. Collins is absurd.

After tea Mr. Bennet invites Mr. Collins to read aloud to the ladies. Mr. Collins declares that he never reads novels and instead begins to read with a book of sermons with "monotonous solemnity." After a few pages Lydia interrupts the reading by asking her mother a question about her uncle Philips. Mr. Collins is offended but takes the hint and stops reading after briefly reprimanding the frivolity of Lydia. He then proposes playing a game of backgammon.

Volume I, Chapters 13-14 Analysis:

These two chapters serve to introduce the reader to the character of Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins is a supercilious man with exaggerated and overly formal manners and a strange combination of self-importance and obsequiousness. Mr. Collins is in line to inherit Longbourn. Mrs. Bennet sees this as a great injustice for which Mr. Collins is responsible, but Jane and Elizabeth are resigned to the fact that they have no control over the inheritance laws and that Mr. Collins is not at fault for being in line to inherit their father's property. Thinking that by marrying one of Mr. Bennet's daughters he will be able to make amends for taking their property, Mr. Collins is visiting Longbourn with the express purpose of finding a wife, a purpose which he only alludes to in these chapters but which becomes clearer later on.

Mrs. Bennet's gut reaction and sense of injustice with regard to the entailment of the estate serves to call attention to the injustice of English inheritance laws. Elizabeth and Jane, more moderate in their reaction, are inclined to accept the practice of entailment as simply part of the way their society works. While of course they do not like the fact that they will not be able to inherit their father's estate, their education has led them more or less to accept the conventional inheritance laws. Mrs. Bennet, on the other hand, through her unstudied and unguarded reaction, brings attention to the natural injustice of the law. The entailment of the estate will be a great hardship for the young women. Without the sort of independent income which could be derived from an estate, they will need to marry well in order to secure their livelihood. Further, their marriage prospects are considerably lower because of their small inheritance.

Austen uses this situation in the novel to call attention to the difficulties which women faced in early 19th-century England. Austen's critical attitude toward the limitations which society placed upon women is emphasized in her choice of a character such as Mr. Collins to be the one who will inherit the Bennet's estate. Far from being a close relation to the family, Mr. Collins is a cousin whom they have never even met. The fact that Mr. Bennet's property should pass to him instead of to his own daughters is absolutely ridiculous. Further, Mr. Collins silly and pompous personality lead the reader to dislike him and therefore to object even more intensely to the fact that he will inherit Longbourn.

Also indirectly introduced in these chapters are Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her daughter. In between the lines of Mr. Collins praise for Lady Catherine's great "condescension" and generosity the reader gets the sense that that Lady Catherine is an extremely rich woman who is arrogant and self-satisfied because of her wealth and social position. Little is said about Miss de Bourgh, Lady Catherine's daughter, except that she is sickly and weak. These characters will play an important part in the second half of the novel.
Summary and Analysis of Volume I, Chapters 15-23


Volume I, Chapter 15 Summary:

Mr. Collins' upbringing by an "illiterate and miserly father" along with his unexpected good fortune in finding a patroness like Lady Catherine has led to his lack of good sense and his strange combination of obsequiousness and self-conceit. Now that he is settled he wants to "make amends" for inheriting the Longbourn estate by marrying one of the young ladies in the Bennet household. After meeting them, he was first attracted to Jane because of her beauty, but after hearing from Mrs. Bennet that Jane may soon be engaged, he switches his affections to Elizabeth.

Mr. Collins joins the ladies for a walk to Meryton. Upon reaching Meryton they meet Mr. Denny, an officer with whom Lydia and Kitty are acquainted, and he introduces them to a new member of the regiment, Mr. Wickham. Mr. Wickham is handsome and charming. While they are all conversing, Bingley and Darcy notice them as they are riding by and stop to greet them. As soon as Darcy notices Mr. Wickham, he turns white, and Mr. Wickham turns red. Bingley and Darcy continue on their way.

Mr. Denny and Mr. Wickham take leave of the young ladies once they arrive at Mr. Philip's house. Jane introduces Mr. Collins to Mrs. Phillips. Mrs. Philips plans to invite Mr. Wickham to dinner tomorrow and invites the Longourn ladies and Mr. Collins to join them.

Volume I, Chapter 16 Summary:

At the beginning of the event at the Phillips' house the next day, Mr. Collins speaks to Mrs. Philips about Lady Catherine and her mansion Rosings, and Mrs. Philips is favorably impressed.

Elizabeth forms a very favorable impression of Mr. Wickham, and converses with him at length during the evening. Elizabeth is curious to find out about the obvious animosity which exists between him and Darcy. Wickham brings up the subject by inquiring how long Darcy has been in the area. Elizabeth expressed her dislike of Darcy to Wickham, and Wickham mentions that he and Darcy have been intimately acquainted since childhood. After feigning to avoid the subject, Wickham divulges to Elizabeth that Darcy's father was his godfather and had promised to provide an ample living for him, but after his death Darcy had circumvented his father's promise and had given the living to someone else because of his dislike for Wickham. Elizabeth is outraged and suggests that Darcy ought to be publicly dishonored for his actions, but Wickham refuses to do so ought of respect for Darcy's father. Wickham attributes Darcy's dislike of him to jealousy. Elizabeth and Wickham also speak of Darcy's pride, which Wickham believes is the source of all his generosity in the use of his money and excellent care for his sister. Wickham alludes to a previously close but now very cold relationship with Darcy's sister.

Wickham also mentions to Elizabeth that Lady Catherine de Bourgh is Mr. Darcy's aunt, and that Mr. Darcy is expected to marry Miss de Bourgh in order to unite the fortunes of the two families.

Volume I, Chapter 17 Summary:

When, the next day, Elizabeth relates to Jane the substance of her conversation with Wickham, Jane refuses to think ill of either Wickham or Darcy, and assumes that they must in some way be mutually deceived.

Mr. Bingley and his sisters come to Netherfield to announce a ball. When Elizabeth asks Mr. Collins whether or not he plans to attend, he state that he does and asks her for the first two dances. While she had wanted to reserve those dances for Wickham, she gracefully accepts his offer. Elizabeth begins to realize that she has become Mr. Collins choice for a future wife, but she ignores his hints in that direction hoping that he will not ask her.

Volume I, Chapters 15-17 Analysis:

Pride and prejudice come to the fore once again in these scenes which introduce the reader to the character of Mr. Wickham. Elizabeth, always confident of her ability to judge the characters of others, quickly forms a favorable opinion of Mr. Wickham. This opinion is most definitely not hindered by the attentions which he pays to her. Yet while Elizabeth trusts Wickham and does not think that his account of Darcy could be in any way dishonest‹especially since it corroborates with her own opinion‹the attentive reader has reasons to suspect otherwise. Elizabeth is naturally curious as to why Wickham and Darcy reacted so strangely when they met one another on the street, and hopes that her conversation with Wickham will provide some clues. Wickhams very cautiously begins to ask Elizabeth about Darcy, and after hearing how much she dislikes him, he decides little by little to tell the story of his previous relationship with Darcy and Darcy's father. All the while, he pretends to be avoiding the subject and pretends that, out of respect for Darcy's father, he does not want to say anything negative about Darcy or to publicize what has happened. Yet the fact that Wickham so quickly divulges all the details of the story to Elizabeth after having just met her gives reason to doubt the sincerity of his supposed reluctance to defame Darcy's character. Elizabeth, however, sees no inconsistency in Wickham's behavior, and readily believes everything that he tells her, having judged him to be extremely amiable and trustworthy.

Once again we see how Elizabeth's prejudgments of Darcy lead to a complete lack of objectivity. Of course, these prejudgments themselves are a result of wounded pride. Her hasty positive judgment of Wickham also seems to be closely connected with his ingratiation of her pride by choosing to converse with her over all the other ladies present.

Austen attempts to make the reader suspicious of Wickham's character, as his avowed desire to refrain from injuring Darcy's character seems difficult to reconcile with the ease with which he contradicts that desire in his conversation with a Elizabeth. Wickham's account introduces a crucial tension in the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth which will only be resolved as their pride and prejudice are dispelled at the end of the novel.

Volume I, Chapter 18 Summary:

At the Netherfield Ball Elizabeth is disappointed because of Wickham's absence, which she assumes is all Mr. Darcy's doing. After relating her disappointment to her friend Charlotte Lucas, she suffers through her two dances with Mr. Collins. Mr. Darcy asks her for a dance and Elizabeth is so taken by surprise that she accepts. During the dance with Mr. Darcy Elizabeth makes a bit of sarcastic conversation, poking fun at his character. She alludes to her new acquaintance with Wickham and to the fact that she thinks he has not behaved well toward him. They change the subject after a brief interruption from Sir William Lucas, but then she goes back to it by asking him about his previous admission that he has a tendency toward resentment, explaining that she is unable to figure out his character because she has received such contradictory accounts. After the dance they part in silence but Darcy forgives her questioning and blames Wickham.

Miss Bingley, having heard from Jane that Wickham has talked with Elizabeth about Darcy, tries to warn her not to trust Wickham and assures her that Darcy has done nothing wrong to Wickham but that Wickham has treated Darcy shamefully. Elizabeth reacts rudely and considers Mr. Bingley to be blinded to the truth. Jane also tells Elizabeth that Mr. Bingley believes Darcy's behavior is above reproach and that Wickham is not reputed to be of good character, but Elizabeth dismisses Bingley's opinion because he received all his information from Darcy.

Mr. Collins finds out the Darcy is Lady Catherine's nephew and decides to introduce himself, in spite of Elizabeth's warnings that it would be inappropriate to do so because of Mr. Darcy's superior social status. Darcy is surprised at Mr. Collins but replies to him with civility and then walks away.

Jane seems to be having a wonderful time with Mr. Bingley, and Elizabeth enjoys herself in thinking of her sister's happiness. Mrs. Bennet is also happy to see how well Jane and Mr. Bingley are getting along, and during dinner speaks unceasingly and loudly about the imminence of their engagement in close proximity to Mr. Darcy, much to Elizabeth's great embarrassment.

After dinner Mary accepts an invitation to play and sing at the piano, and is insensible to Elizabeth's hints that she ought to decline. After Mary's second piece Elizabeth gets her father to tell Mary to stop playing. Mr. Collins then makes a speech about the importance of music which nonetheless should not take precedence to more important parish duties. Elizabeth feels completely embarrassed by her family's conduct during the evening.

At the end of the ball Mrs. Bennet invites Bingley to dinner at Longbourn and he promises to come as soon as he returns form a short trip to London.

Volume I, Chapter 18 Analysis:

Elizabeth's prejudice is highlighted even further in this chapter. In spite of the fact that Mr. Darcy is quite cordial to her and even invites her to dance, she is barely civil to him and even brings up the topic of Wickham, letting him understand in barely veiled language that she believes Darcy has acted unjustly. Even after being given further reason to doubt Wickham's sincerity from the accounts of Miss Bingley and Mr. Bingley, Elizabeth refuses to reconsider her opinion. Mr. Darcy, on the other hand, seems to be increasingly enamoured with Elizabeth, and is willing even to excuse her insolence with regard to Wickham, blaming it on him for having deceived her rather than on her for her rash judgment. It is ironic that Elizabeth criticizes Miss Bingley for her prejudice against Wickham when in fact Miss Bingley is correct and Elizabeth is the one who is prejudiced toward Wickham and against Mr. Darcy.

The social interactions at the ball provide the reader with a picture of the formalities of early 19th century English society and the extreme importance which rank and wealth played in social relations. Elizabeth is extremely aware of these social conventions, and is continually being embarrassed by her family's lack of propriety. Mr. Collins' introduction of himself to Mr. Darcy as well as his long and pompous speeches combined with her mother's indiscreet conversation about hopes for a marriage between Elizabeth and Bingley and Mary's poor performance skills serve to completely mortify her.

Volume I, Chapter 19 Summary:

The next day Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth, in a long speech explaining that he considers it appropriate for him to marry and that he wants to marry one of the Miss Bennets in order lessen the difficulty of the entailment of the estate. Elizabeth refuses him in no uncertain terms, but Mr. Collins refuses to believe that her refusal could be sincere, considering it a formality of female coquetry to always refuse a proposal the first time. Elizabeth repeats and strengthens her refusal, but as he still cannot believe her to be sincere, she simply leaves.

Volume I, Chapter 20 Summary:

When Mrs. Bennet hears that Elizabeth has refused to marry Mr. Collins, she entreats Mr. Bennet to force Elizabeth to change her mind. Mr. Bennet agrees to speak with Elizabeth, but actually tells her that he would never hear of her marrying such a man as Mr. Collins. Mrs. Bennet does not give up however, and continually attempts to persuade Elizabeth to accept the proposal. In the midst of all this confusion, Charlotte Lucas comes to visit. Eventually Mr. Collins accepts Elizabeth's refusal.

Volume I, Chapters 19-20 Analysis:

Mr. Collins' proposal and his reaction to Elizabeth's refusal solidify Austen's portrait of this absurd character. The proposal itself is delivered in such a way that it seems more appropriate for a business deal than for a declaration of love. Mr. Collins explains to Elizabeth that he had come to Longbourn with the purpose of finding of a wife both on account of Lady Catherine's advice and on account of a desire to make amends for the difficulties involved in the entailment of the Longbourn estate. Only after he explains these cold considerations does he mention that he has a high regard for Elizabeth.

Mr. Collins' comic inability to believe that Elizabeth could possibly be sincere in her repeated refusals of his proposal demonstrate how little respect he has for Elizabeth and how completely conceited he is. He is not the least discouraged by Elizabeth's clear refusal, and simply shrugs it off as some sort of female coquetry. Words, for Mr. Collins, are not expressions of genuine thoughts and feelings but a means of filling certain formalities of social propriety. Thus even when Elizabeth speaks sincerely to him in no uncertain terms about her feelings he assumes that her words, like his, are merely the fulfillment of some strange female tradition which requires that a woman refuse a proposal the first time it is made. Since none of his own words express genuine thoughts or feelings, he assumes that no one else's words do either. Further, his conceit prevents him from seeing any reason why Elizabeth would not want to marry him. Mr. Collins is an example of someone who sees marriage more as a partnership for social and financial advantage than as a relationship to express the love and affection of two people for each other.

The fact that Charlotte Lucas is so kind as to engage Mr. Collins in conversation and thus relieve the Bennets of the task, just as she did at the night of the ball, is presented by Elizabeth as an act of kindness on Charlotte's part. However, considering Charlotte's previously expressed views on her willingness to marry merely for financial reasons, Charlotte's friendliness toward Mr. Collins foreshadows that another marriage is soon to come.

Volume I, Chapter 21 Summary:

Mr. Collins reacts by treating Elizabeth coldly for the rest of the day and shifting his attentions to Charlotte Lucas.

The girls all walk to Meryton after breakfast. Elizabeth speaks with Wickham and he accompanies them back to Longbourn, paying particular attention to Elizabeth.

When they return Jane receives a letter from Caroline Bingley stating that they have all left Netherfield for town and have no intention of returning. She states that Mr. Bingley will most probably not return for at least another six months. The letter also speaks of the family's expectation that Mr. Bingley will marry Georgiana Darcy, implying that they do not want him to marry Jane. Elizabeth attempts to comfort Jane by reassuring her that Mr. Bingley really is attached to her and that in spite of his sisters' efforts to prevent him from marrying Jane he will most assuredly return to Netherfield.

Volume I, Chapter 21 Analysis:

By informing the reader of Bingley's departure only through the letter of Caroline Bingley, Austen leaves many details up to the speculation of the reader. The description of Jane and Bingley at the Netherfield Ball leaves little room for doubt as to their mutual regard. It seems clear, therefore, that without outside persuasion he would not simply leave Netherfield with no intention of returning in the near future. According to the letter, Mr. Bingley himself had only planned to be away from Netherfield for a few days to attend to someone business. It seems that Caroline and her sister, and perhaps Mr. Darcy as well, plan to follow him and to persuade him not to return at all. This scheme seems particularly likely considering that Mr. Darcy had overheard Mrs. Bennet's jubilant conversation at dinner regarding what she considered to be the imminent engagement of Jane and Bingley. Knowing how much Mr. Darcy is concerned with social status, it is not unlikely that he would try to persuade Mr. Bingley not to propose to Jane.

Volume I, Chapter 22 Summary:

Charlotte Lucas continues to engage Mr. Collins in conversation for the rest of the day. Early the next morning Mr. Collins goes to Lucas Lodge to propose to Charlotte. Charlotte accepts and Sir William and Lady Lucas approve of the match.

Mr. Collins left the next day without informing the Bennets of his engagement. His promise to return soon was met by assurances on the part of Mr. Bennet that they would not be offended if the fulfillment of his duties prevented his speedy return.

Later in the day Miss Lucas tells Elizabeth about her engagement. Elizabeth is shocked but tries to be kind in her reaction. She is however, very unhappy about Charlotte's decision because she thinks that the match is completely unsuitable.

Volume I, Chapter 23 Summary:

Later in the day Sir William Lucas came to announce the engagement, to the great surprise of the rest of the family. Mrs. Bennet is incredulous and after being convinced that the news was true is extremely angry at Elizabeth for having turned down the proposal.

Elizabeth and Charlotte do not discuss the subject of the marriage between themselves, and their friendship gradually diminishes.

Jane and Elizabeth are concerned because they have not heard anything at all from Mr. Bingley.

Mr. Collins returns again to Longbourn in order to make preparations for his marriage. The Bennets are not too happy to see him but they are glad that he spends most of his time at Lucas Lodge.

Volume I, Chapters 22-23 Analysis:

The account of Charlotte's engagement to Mr. Lucas provides the reader with one of the two competing views of marriage which recur throughout the book. Charlotte has a conventional and pragmatic view of marriage. She is resigned to the fact that as a woman without an independent income she will need to marry in order to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, and has no particular hopes of actually finding a husband whom she loves. This view is best expressed in the narrator's comment about Charlotte "Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want."

Austen thus uses Charlotte and her pragmatic view of marriage as a contrast to Elizabeth's resolve to marry on the basis of love. Charlotte acts as the prototype of a typical upper class young woman in Austen's time, while Elizabeth is the exception. She is willing to sacrifice the assurance of being comfortably married in the hopes of obtaining greater happiness by marrying someone whom she actually loves. The irony is that in the end Elizabeth ends up not only with a marriage based on mutual affection but also with one that is even more financially advantageous than Charlotte's.
Summary and Analysis of Volume II, Chapters 1-10


Volume II, Chapter 1 Summary:

Jane receives another letter from Miss Bingley confirming that they will definitely not return before the end of the winter, and boasting about the whole family's increasing intimacy with Miss Darcy and the hopes of an engagement between her and Mr. Bingley. When Elizabeth and Jane are finally able to speak alone, Jane confides her disappointment to Elizabeth. In spite of Elizabeth's arguments, Jane refuses to believe that the Miss Bingleys and Mr. Darcy are responsible for persuading Mr. Bingley not to propose to Jane.

Mrs. Bennet only aggravates the situation by speaking of Bingley so often, and Mr. Bennet only responds sarcastically.

Some comfort is provided to the household by Mr. Wickham's society. Soon the whole town knows Wickham's story about Darcy and is happy to believe it and judge Darcy to be completely in the wrong.

Volume II, Chapter 1 Analysis:

This chapter highlights the differences in character between Jane and Elizabeth. Even in a matter which touches her so closely, Jane refuses to make judgments about others or to think ill of them. In spite of so much evidence to the contrary, she believes that the Miss Bingleys would never purposely try to dissuade Mr. Bingley from marrying her if he really were partial to her. She therefore concludes that his attachment to her must have simply been a product of her imagination. Jane points out to Elizabeth that her tendency to judge people so harshly may be a detriment to her happiness, an observation which proves to be true.

Austen also brings to light once again the complete ineptitude of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet as parents. Faced with a daughter who is suffering from a broken heart, Mrs. Bennet does nothing but aggravate the matter by constantly reminding her of it. Mr. Bennet, aloof as usual, simply comments to Elizabeth "Your sister is crossed in love I find. I congratulate her. Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love a little now and then." This sarcastic and unconcerned attitude regarding Jane's sufferings is much less than would be expected of a good father.

Volume II, Chapter 2 Summary:

Mr. Collins leaves Longbourn with his usual solemnity.

Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, Mrs. Bennet's brother and his wife, come to Longbourn to visit. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are both sensible, intelligent and refined. Elizabeth and Jane are very fond of them. Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth speak about Jane and Bingley. Mrs. Gardiner offers to bring Jane back to London with her in order to cheer her with the change of scene. Elizabeth hopes that while in London Jane will run into Bingley.

During the course of the visit Mrs. Gardiner observes Elizabeth with Wickham and notices her preference for him. Mrs. Gardiner enjoys speaking with Wickham about mutual acquaintances and about Mr. Darcy and his father.

Volume II, Chapter 2 Analysis:

Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner provide a sharp contrast to Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. When they visit Longbourn, they seem to fulfill all the parental functions which Mr. and Mrs. Bennet fail to perform. While Mrs. Bennet only makes Jane's suffering worse by constantly speaking of Bingley, Mrs. Gardiner is very sensitive to Jane's feelings and takes positive action to help her by inviting her to go and stay with them in London. Further, Mrs. Gardiner observes Elizabeth's conduct with Mr. Wickham and gives her sound and prudent advice regarding their relationship. Mrs. Bennet, on the other hand, is still cross with Elizabeth for having refused to marry Mr. Collins, and never offers her or any of the other Miss Bennets decent advice about their relationships. Mr. Bennet's sarcastic indifference is also in constrast with Mr. Gardiner's quiet solicitude for Jane's well-being and his desire to have her stay with them in London in order to get a change of scene.

Volume II, Chapter 3 Summary:

Mrs. Gardiner speaks with Elizabeth about the imprudence of becoming attached to Wickham because of his poor financial state. Elizabeth makes no promises that she will not become attached to him, but does promise to try to prevent the attachment as much as possible.

Mr. Collins returns to Hertfordshire for his wedding. Charlotte Lucas makes Elizabeth promise to visit her at Hunsford

Jane writes to Elizabeth telling about her stay in London. Caroline Bingley is extremely inattentive to her, pretending first that she is unaware of Jane's presence in London, and then waiting a fortnight to make a promised visit, which itself is rudely short.

In a letter to Mrs. Gardiner Elizabeth relates that Mr. Wickham's affections for her have subsided and have been transferred to another young lady, Miss King, who recently acquired 10,000 pounds. Elizabeth concludes that she must not have been in love with him, because her feelings are still cordial toward him.

Volume II, Chapter 4 Summary:

After a couple of dull winter months in Hertfordshire, Elizabeth is looking forward to going with Sir William Lucas and his second daughter to visit Charlotte. She parts very amiably with Wickham, reinforced in her belief that he is a "model of the amiable and the pleasing." The travelers stop for a night in London to see the Gardiners. Elizabeth is pleased to see that Jane is looking well. Mrs. Gardiner informs her, however, that Jane does undergo periods of dejection occasionally. Mrs. Gardiner is critical of Wickham so quickly shifting his attentions to Miss King, but Elizabeth defends him. Elizabeth is pleasantly surprised to be invited to accompany the Gardiners on a tour of the country during the summer.

Volume II, Chapters 3-4 Analysis:

Austen conveys much of the plot in these chapters through letters, enabling her to keep the reader informed of what both Elizabeth and Jane are doing, even though they are in different places. All of Jane's experiences in London are conveyed through her letter to Elizabeth. Jane finally admits that Elizabeth was right about the insincerity of Caroline Bingley's friendship, although, as usual, she makes excuses for her inattention saying that she must only be acting so rudely for the sake of her brother.

Mr. Wickham's quick transferral of his affections to Miss King after she has acquired 10,000 pounds provides important insight into his true character. While Elizabeth had clearly been his favorite, Wickham must have realized that her social position gave him little chance of being able to marry her. Of course, this knowledge did not prevent him from forming an attachment to her in the first place. Because he paid no attention at all to Miss King before she inherited the money, his motives for beginning to show a preference for her must be purely mercenary. Elizabeth does not seem to find fault with him for his actions, however, even Mrs. Gardiner points out the purely mercenary reasons for his actions. Having been sufficiently flattered by his preference for her and having formed a positive judgment of him, it seems that even in the face of such strong evidence she is unwilling to rethink her positive judgment of him. It is ironic that while Elizabeth is unable to make excuses for her good friend Charlotte for her choice to marry based on financial concerns, she sees no problem in Wickham's feigning attraction to a woman simply because her sizeable inheritance.

Volume II, Chapter 5 Summary:

The next day Elizabeth, Sir William and his daughter Maria set out for Hunsford to visit Charlotte. Upon arriving Mr. Collins welcomes him to the house with his usual verbose formality. Charlotte‹now Mrs. Collins‹seems to endure Mr. Collins' silliness very well, and to take pleasure in managing the house. On reflection, Elizabeth concludes that Charlotte is handling things well.

Elizabeth's reflections are interrupted by shouts from Maria telling her to look outside because Miss de Bourgh is there in her carriage. Elizabeth is happy that Miss de Bourgh looks sickly and cross, thinking that she'll make a perfect wife for Mr. Darcy. After the carriage drives away Mr. Collins congratulates them because they have all been invited to dine at Rosings the next day.

Volume II, Chapter 6 Summary:

The day of the dinner at Rosings is spent mostly in listening to Mr. Collins, who is trying to prepare his guests for the grandeur they are about to encounter. While Maria and Sir William are extremely nervous about meeting Lady Catherine, Elizabeth sees nothing to be intimidated about, being unimpressed by "the mere stateliness of money and rank."

Lady Catherine is "a tall, large woman, with strongly-marked features," and her manner of receiving her visitors is one which does not fail to remind them of their inferior rank. Miss de Bourgh is extremely thin and small. Mrs. Jenkinson, who lives with them, has an unremarkable appearance and spends most of her time fussing over Miss de Bourgh.

At dinner nothing much is said other than continuous compliments about the food from Mr. Collins, which are echoed by Sir William. After dinner Lady Catherine speaks about her opinion on every subject which comes to mind and offers advice to Charlotte about even the smallest details of household management. She then barrages Elizabeth with impertinent questions about her and her family. Elizabeth answers with composure but without fear of giving her own opinion. For the rest of the evening they play cards.

Volume II, Chapters 5-6 Analysis:

Through her descriptions of the interactions at the dinner and particularly through the dialogue between Elizabeth and Lady Catherine, Austen paints a vivid portrait of Lady Catherine as an extremely arrogant, egotistical and dictatorial woman. For the entire evening, Lady Catherine does nothing but remind her guests of their inferior rank. And it seems that the only conversation which she tolerates from others is praise of herself or agreement with her opinions. During the dinner she is quite pleased with the exaggerated and continuous praise of Mr. Collins and Sir William. After dinner she speaks about her "opinion on every subject in so decisive a manner as proved that she was not used to have her judgment controverted." Her means of giving advice is nothing short of despotic, and her impertinent questioning of Elizabeth reveals an utter lack of respect for the Bennet family.

In the course of the conversation between Lady Catherine and Elizabeth, the reader also learns more about the neglectfulness of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in fulfilling their duties as parents. Although Lady Catherine is quite rude in her manner of criticism, it is true that Mrs. Bennet took no care to see that her daughters received a good education. She would probably have been unable to supervise her daughters' education considering that she herself is lacking in it, yet she did not even place enough value on her daughters' education to hire a governess for them. While Mr. Bennet is hardly a foolish man and sees the value of education, he also did nothing to help in the education of his daughters. While this lack of support from their parents seems to have been overcome by the diligence and self-motivation of Jane and Elizabeth, it seems doubtful that the younger three sisters will fare as well.

Volume II, Chapter 7 Summary:

Sir William Lucas stays only for a week at Hunsford, but Elizabeth stays for quite some time longer. She passes the time pleasantly, conversing with Charlotte and taking long walks through the gardens. They all dine regularly at Rosings about twice a week, and all dinners follow the model of the first.

After having stayed a fortnight at Hunsford Elizabeth hears that Mr. Darcy is planning to visit Rosings. She looks forward to his coming because he will provide a new face at the dinner parties and because she wants to see how he acts with Miss de Bourgh, whom he is expected to marry. When Mr. Darcy arrives with his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam, the two gentlemen immediately call at Hunsford. Elizabeth asks Darcy whether or not he has seen Jane in the past few months, in order to see if he betrays any knowledge about what happened between Jane and the Bingleys. He looks a bit confused but simply answers that he has not seen her.

Volume II, Chapter 8 Summary:

It is about a week before Elizabeth and Mr. and Mrs. Collins are invited again to Rosings, since Lady Catherine is no longer in need of company. During the evening Colonel Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth have a very enjoyable conversation. Lady Catherine seems annoyed that she is not a part of the conversation, and interrupts them in order to join in. Mr. Darcy looks a bit ashamed at his aunt's impertinence and ill-breeding in treating Elizabeth as an inferior.

At Colonel Fitzwilliam's request, Elizabeth begins to play the piano. As she playing Darcy walks away from Lady Catherine in order to go up to the piano and watch her. They have a very lively conversation, teasing each other playfully about their characters. Soon Lady Catherine interrupts demanding to know what they are talking of, and Elizabeth immediately resumes playing. Lady Catherine offers generous criticisms and advice about Elizabeth's playing. Elizabeth tries to observe how Mr. Darcy reacts to Miss de Bourgh, and she finds in him no sign of affection for her.

Volume II, Chapter 9 Summary:

The next morning, when only Elizabeth is at home, Mr. Darcy comes to visit alone. He had thought that the other ladies were also at home. They converse for a while about several subjects, including his quick departure from Netherfield last November, and Charlotte's marriage to Mr. Collins. When Elizabeth tells Darcy that, contrary to his opinions, Charlotte is not exactly close to her family since they lack the income to travel frequently, he tells Elizabeth emphatically that she must not have such strong local attachments. Elizabeth is surprised and he quickly cools his tone of voice and changes the subject to a general conversation about the countryside. Charlotte and Marie return from their walk Mr. Darcy stays for a few minutes and then leaves. Charlotte tells Elizabeth that Mr. Darcy must be in love with her, but Elizabeth convinces her that such is not the case.

Colonel Fitzwalliams calls on the ladies frequently because he enjoys their company. Elizabeth can tell that he admires her. He reminds her of Wickham. Neither Elizabeth nor Charlotte are able to figure out why Mr. Darcy calls on them so often. Charlotte keeps suggesting that Mr. Darcy must be partial to her, but Elizabeth simply laughs at the idea.

Volume II, Chapter 10 Summary:

Elizabeth often unexpectedly meets Mr. Darcy during her walks in the Park, in spite of the fact that she has told him where she usually walks in hopes of deterring him from taking the same path. When they meet he not only stops to say hello but also walks all the way back to the house with her. During one conversation he asks questions which seem to imply that in the future when she comes to Kent she will be staying at Rosings. Elizabeth thinks that he may be alluding to the prospect of her marriage to Colonel Fitzwilliam.

On another walk Elizabeth runs into Colonel Fitzwilliam. He speaks to her about the fact that because he is a younger son he cannot ignore financial concerns in his choice of whom to marry. Elizabeth thinks that this statement may be made for her sake. They also speak of Miss Darcy, and then of Bingley. Colonel Fitzwilliam tells Elizabeth that Darcy recently saved a good friendprobably Bingleyfrom an imprudent marriage.

When she is alone and reflecting on the conversation, Elizabeth is sure that it was due to Darcy's influence that Bingley did not propose to Jane. Her reflections distress her so much that she begins to have a headache, and her headache combined with her desire to avoid seeing Mr. Darcy lead her to stay at home even though they have been invited to Rosings that evening.

Volume II, Chapters 7-10 Analysis:

In these chapters Austen masterfully employs dramatic irony, making it increasingly clear to the reader that Darcy is falling in love with Elizabeth, in spite of the fact that all narration takes place from Elizabeth's point of view and that Elizabeth has no suspicions whatsoever‹on the contrary!‹that Darcy is in love with her. While the signs of Darcy's regard for her are obvious, Elizabeth's prejudice completely blind her from seeing it. She is puzzled by his frequent visits to the Parsonage, but only laughs at Charlotte's suggestions that he must be visiting because he admires her, since it doesn't seem that he particularly enjoys socializing. When they are conversing alone together at the Parsonage and he seems to become very intense in suggesting that Elizabeth should not consider the distance between Kent and Hertferdshire too far, she has no inkling whatsoever that he might be thinking of how she would react to the need to move to Kent after her marriage. She is equally mystified by the fact that even though she has told Darcy where her usually walking path is, she still often meets him there. The obvious conclusion that he is meeting her on purpose of course never crosses her mind. Even after the conversation in which Mr. Darcy alludes to the idea of her staying at Rosings the next time she visits Kent, she does not think that it could have anything to do with a possibility of her becoming his wife. Instead, she explains his comments to herself by assuming that he must be referring to Colonel Fitzwilliam's regard for her.

Colonel Fitzwilliam clearly does admire Elizabeth, and she is fond of him as well. His conversation with her in the Park, however, makes it clear that he cannot marry her because she is not wealthy enough. Colonel Fitzwilliam is the second son, meaning that he will not receive his father's estate as an inheritance. He is too used to living comfortably to marry a woman with a low income, and therefore must be limited in his choices. Through the character of Colonel Fitzwilliam Austen again brings the reader's attention back to the theme of marrying for money versus marrying for love. Everything in Austen's society seems to favor marrying for money or at least social connections, yet her novel is a strong critique of these attitudes. Further, Austen highlights the inequality between men and women in freedom to choose whom they want to marry. Colonel Fitzwilliam complains that his choices are limited by his financial needs. Yet for women in early nineteenth-century England, there was little choice at all. They simply had to hope that a man who is reasonably amiable and attractive with a decent amount of wealth would fall in love with them. For a woman, choosiness meant running the risk of being a poor old maid.
Summary and Analysis of Volume II, Chapters 11-19


Volume II, Chapter 11 Summary:

While Elizabeth is at home alone, the door bell rings and she thinks that it might be Colonel Fitzwilliam. To her surprise, however, it is Mr. Darcy. After he inquires about her health, he paces around the room for a few minutes and then makes a declaration of love for her. While he speaks eloquently about his admiration for her, he also clearly expresses the inferiority of her connections and the family obstacles which prevented him from proposing sooner. Elizabeth turns down his proposal rather harshly, and he is both surprised and resentful.

Elizabeth explains her reasons for turning him down. These reasons are, first, the arrogant manner of his proposal; second, his actions to separate Bingley and Jane; and third, his actions toward Wickham. Darcy replies angrily that her calculation of his faults is indeed heavy, but that she might have overlooked them if he had not been honest about the fact that her family connections had made him try to avoid becoming attached to her. She simply states that his manner of proposal had no influence on her other than to "spare me the concern of refusing you, had you acted in a more gentlemanlike manner." After she finishes speaking he quickly leaves the room.

Elizabeth collapses and cries from weakness as a result of what has passed. She is flattered that he should have proposed to her, but any softness which she feels toward him because of his affection is quickly dissipated as soon as she thinks of his "abominable pride" and all that he has done to Jane and to Wickham.

Volume II, Chapter 11 Analysis:

Darcy's proposal to Elizabeth, for which the reader is so well-prepared but which comes as a complete shock to Elizabeth, is the first major climax of the novel. Hints of Darcy's regard for Elizabeth have become stronger and stronger since the time when Elizabeth stayed at Netherfield Park to nurse Jane, such that the reader has been left in suspense in the preceding chapters, wondering when the fateful moment of the proposal will finally arrive.

The proposal scene itself is a prime example of Austen's abilities to bring her characters to life and reveal their personalities through dialogue. Elizabeth's lively, straightforward, daring character and her disregard for considerations of rank show through clearly in her reaction to Darcy's proposal. Her pride is also evident, for the lack of civility in her refusal is due primarily to injured pride resulting from Darcy's frank explanation of his reservations about proposing to her because of her inferior connections.

Darcy's pride and prejudice are also brought to the fore in this scene. As he is proposing to her, Elizabeth can tell that he has "no doubt of a favorable answer." In spite of the fact that Elizabeth has not shown any partiality or affection toward him at all, he assumes that she will accept his proposal simply because of his great wealth and rank. Further, his strong class prejudices are shown in the way in which he speaks at length about the inferiority of her connections and his desire to avoid proposing to her because of them. Even worse is his insensitivity to her in spelling out these objections in such a tactless manner. Elizabeth's comment to him--"had you acted in a more gentlemanlike manner"--makes him start, and as will be seen later in the novel, has a profound effect on him.

Even though this scene seems to be a decisive ending to the relationship, Austen has set up the situation such that reader cannot quite lose hope that Elizabeth and Darcy will soon marry. Since all of Elizabeth's objections to Darcy's character are only known to the reader through Elizabeth's rather biased commentary, it seems that there may be another side to the story.

Volume II, Chapter 12 Summary:

The next morning Elizabeth decides to go for a walk. Though she avoids her usual walking route, Mr. Darcy finds her and gives her a letter, then quickly leaves. First the letter explains Darcy's reasons for persuading Bingley not to marry Jane. Darcy admits that the impropriety of the Bennet family made him hope that the two would not marry, but that his main reason for preventing Bingley from proposing to Jane was that he did not think that Jane had any particular regard for Bingley. The only part of his conduct which he is uneasy about is that he concealed from Bingley his knowledge that Jane has been in London for the past few months.

In response to Elizabeth's charge that Darcy had injured Mr. Wickham, Darcy relates the whole account of Wickham's relationship with him and his family. Darcy's father was very fond of Wickham and paid to provide him with an excellent education. Before his death Darcy's father asked Darcy to promote Wickham's professional advancement and stipulated that if Wickham should become a clergyman Darcy should provide him with a good family living. Wickham, however, having no desire to become a clergyman, wrote to Darcy after his father's death and asked for money in order to study law. Darcy gave him 3,000 pounds and Wickham resigned his claim to assistance in a church career. However, Wickham quickly gave up on studying law and squandered the money with a dissipate lifestyle. When he needed more money he went to Darcy and told him that he would become a clergyman if Darcy would provide him with the living that had been promised. Darcy refused, and Wickham was furious. A while afterwards, Wickham, with the help of Miss Darcy's governess Miss Younge, managed to deceive Darcy's younger sister into consenting to elope with him when she was fifteen. Darcy happened to go see his sister before the intended elopement and she ended up confessing the whole plan to him. He thus prevented the elopement, the motives for which on Wickham's side were mostly Miss Darcy's fortune and a desire to revenge himself on Mr. Darcy.

Volume II, Chapter 12 Analysis:

This chapter confirms all that Austen has led the reader to suspect about Wickham and Darcy in the course of the novel. The hints of Wickham's insincerity and lack of honor have abounded from his very first conversation with Elizabeth in which he indiscreetly defames Darcy's character in spite of the fact that he claims he wants to keep the matter quiet out of respect for the late Mr. Darcy. Further, he completely disregarded Elizabeth's feelings in showing an obvious preference for her while knowing that he has no chance of marrying her, and then in quickly transferring his affections to Miss King after she acquires an inheritance of 10,000 pounds. Elizabeth, however, blinded by her prejudice regarding Mr. Darcy, never doubts the veracity of Wickham's story. Even though Elizabeth disliked Darcy, considering what she knew about the honorableness of Mr. Darcy's character, she should have suspected that there was more to the story than what Wickham told her.

Elizabeth was correct, however, in her belief that Darcy had played a big role in preventing Bingley from proposing to Jane. However, Elizabeth's partiality for her sister blinded her to the fact that Jane, with her always calm and cheerful disposition, really did nothing to demonstrate her particular affection for Bingley. Elizabeth had assumed that Darcy's actions were only the result of his class consciousness, but never considered that Darcy may have simply wanted to prevent his friend from the pain of rejection.

Volume II, Chapter 13 Summary:

Elizabeth reads the letter "with a strong prejudice against everything he might say." She does not at all believe his claim that he prevented Bingley from proposing to Jane because he thought Jane was not attached to him. After reading Darcy's account of his dealings with Wickham, she does not know how to react and tries to convince herself it must be false. She puts away the letter, resolving not to think about it, but then examines it slowly, line by line. After long deliberation Elizabeth begins to rethink her previous judgment of Wickham. She realizes that his communications to her in their first conversation were indelicate, improper and inconsistent, and that his attentions to Miss King were purely mercenary.

She begins to see that she judged Darcy completely wrongly, and she grows ashamed, concluding that she been "blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd," in spite of the fact that has always prided herself on her judgment. She realizes that vanity has been the cause of her prejudice.

After this realization, she rereads the first part of the letter which deals with his reasons for preventing Bingley's proposal to Jane. She now sees that he had reason to be suspicious of Jane's attachment. Elizabeth also admits that Darcy's criticisms of the impropriety of her mother and younger sisters is just, and is ashamed and depressed.

After wandering through the park or two hours, engrossed in her reflections, she returns to the Parsonage to find that both Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam have stopped by to take leave of them, but have since left. She is glad to have missed them.

Volume II, Chapter 13 Analysis:

The continued hints throughout the novel that Elizabeth's judgment has been clouded by her vanity are now made completely clear. Elizabeth realizes that her complete lack of objectivity in judging Darcy and Wickham is the result of the fact that Darcy injured her pride on her first acquaintance with him and that Wickham flattered her by his preference for her. Austen makes it clear that pride and prejudice are not really two separate problems in the novel, but that they are intimately connected. For it is Elizabeth's pride that leads to her prejudice, a prejudice which is so strong that she has to read the letter many times and reflect at length before accepting that Mr. Darcy is telling the truth.

If it had not been for Elizabeth's prejudicial judgment of Darcy's actions in these situations, would she have accepted Darcy's proposal of marriage? Such a question is difficult to answer, but now that all of her illusions about Darcy's bad character have been dispelled, it does not seem unlikely that she may yet fall in love with him. Austen therefore leaves the reader with the hope that their relationship may be renewed, and also with the hope that somehow Bingley and Jane will meet and fall in love again.

Volume II, Chapter 14 Summary:

Lady Catherine invites Elizabeth, Maria and the Collinses to dinner because she is bored now that her nephews have left. Elizabeth can't help thinking that she might have been attending this dinner as Lady Catherine's future niece, and amusing herself at how indignant Lady Catherine would be. Lady Catherine attempts to persuade Elizabeth and Maria to stay another fortnight, but Elizabeth insists that her father wants her to come home.

She spends much time over the next few days before her return home reflecting on the contents of the letter and on her past conduct. She does not regret her refusal of Darcy's offer, but does regret her own past actions. She is also depressed by the hopelessness of improving the character of her younger sisters, since her father only laughs at them and her mother is equally frivolous. She is also sad to think that Jane could have been so happy had it not been for the indecorum of her family.

Volume II, Chapter 15 Summary:

Elizabeth and Maria leave the Parsonage on Saturday morning, after lengthy parting civilities from Mr. Collins. Before returning to Hertferdshore, they stop at the Gardiner's to spend a few days there. Jane is to return home with them. Elizabeth is tempted to tell her all that she learned from Darcy, but decides to wait because she is not sure how much she should reveal.

Volume II, Chapter 16 Summary:

Upon reaching Hertfordshire they are greeted by Kitty and Lydia, who have prepared lunch for them at the inn where they have arranged to meet the carriage. Elizabeth is happy to hear that regiment will soon be leaving Meryton, although Kitty and Lydia are not equally pleased. Lydia hopes that Mr. Bennet will allow them all to go to Brighton for the summer since the officers will be there. During lunch Lydia tells Jane and Elizabeth that Miss King has left and that Wickham is therefore once again available. Lydia entertains them on the carriage home by relating stories of all the balls and dances they have attended with the officers in Meryton. When they arrive at Longbourn they have dinner with the Lucases, who have come to meet Maria. Lydia urges everyone to take a walk with her to Meryton, but Elizabeth stays home because she wants to avoid seeing Wickham.

Volume II, Chapter 17 Summary:

The next morning Elizabeth tells Jane about Darcy's proposal, and about the part of the letter regarding Wickham. Jane is shocked not as much about the proposal as about Wickham's being so bad, and tries to make excuses for him, but realizes that no excuse can be found. Elizabeth asks Jane whether or not she should let the rest of the town know about Wickham's true character. They decide it would be best to keep the matter quiet, since he is leaving soon and it will be extremely difficult to convince people without telling about his attempts to seduce Miss Darcy. Elizabeth decides that she should not tell Jane about the part of Darcy's letter which relates to her and Bingley.

After observing Jane at leisure, Elizabeth sees that she is not happy and is still very attached to Bingley.

Volume II, Chapter 18 Summary:

Kitty, Lydia and Mrs. Bennet are extremely disappointed because the regiment is leaving Meryton. Lydia receives an invitation from Mrs. Forster, the wife of the Colonel of the regiment, to accompany her to Brighton. Lydia is ecstatic.

Elizabeth entreats her father to prevent Lydia from going, explaining that such an experience will only increase her frivolousness. But her father does not listen and tells Elizabeth that Lydia will be fine in Brighton under the supervision of Colonel Forster and that she is too poor to be taken advantage of by any of the officers in the regiment.

Elizabeth sees Wickham frequently. He attempts to renew his attentions to her, but she represses them and is annoyed by them. On the last day of their stay in Meryton, they have a conversation in which Elizabeth speaks of her stay at the Parsonage and her enjoyment of Darcy's and Colonel Fitzwilliam's company. She leads Wickham to suspect that she knows the truth of his past. He pretends not to notice but stops distinguishing Elizabeth. At the end of the party Lydia returns to Meryton with Mrs. Forster in order to be able to set out with them for Brighton early in the morning.

Volume II, Chapter 19 Summary:

Elizabeth's father had married her mother because he was captivated by her beauty, but her weak understanding soon made him lose all real affection for her. Mr. Bennet derives his enjoyment from books and the country. Elizabeth has always recognized the impropriety of her father's behavior as a husband, and is now especially aware of the disadvantage that such a marriage has had on the children. She faults her father for not having used his talents to at least preserve the respectability of his daughters.


The days at Longbourn are far from enjoyable, with the constant lamentations of boredom form Mrs. Bennet and Kitty. Elizabeth consoles herself by looking forward to her tour of the Lakes with the Gardiners. After a few weeks things become more bearable at home, and Elizabeth hopes that Kitty may be improved by the time away from Lydia.

Elizabeth's vacation with the Gardiners is delayed and shortened on account of Mr. Gardiner's work commitments. In the course of the trip they pass near Pemberley and Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner want to go see it. Elizabeth does not want to go because of fear of seeing Darcy, but she finds out from the maid that the Darcy family is not at home.

Volume II, Chapters 14-19 Analysis:

These chapters serve mostly to call the readers' attention to the extreme frivolousness of Kitty and Lydia, especially Lydia. When they meet Elizabeth and Jane at the inn for lunch, they have to ask Elizabeth and Jane to pay the bill because they have spent all their money on whimsical purchases. On the ride home, Lydia speaks excitedly about her adventures in Meryton, boasting of all their frivolous and improper conduct, which includes dressing up one of the officers as a woman at one of the balls. Kitty, while the elder of the two, lacks Lydia's stubborn impudence but simply follows Lydia's lead in everything. Neither have received a decent education and have no sense of propriety.

Her sensibilities having been sharpened by Darcy's comments about her family in his letter, Elizabeth is extremely concerned about her younger sisters' conduct. Yet there seems that she can do little to remedy the situation, since Lydia refuses to listen to anyone for more than thirty seconds at a time, and Kitty imitates Lydia in everything.

The negligence of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet becomes especially clear in their allowing Lydia to go to Brighton with Mrs. Forster. Mrs. Bennet not only allows Lydia to go, but would actually like to go herself if she could, and is as excited as Lydia that she has been invited to accompany Mrs. Forster. Mrs. Bennet is completely insensible to harmful effects which a summer of flirtation and frivolity could have on her daughter at such an impressionable age. In fact, she sympathizes with Lydia because she had been just like her as a child. Mr. Bennet, on the other hand seems to want nothing more than simply to avoid being bothered by his younger daughters' frivolity. When Elizabeth advises him not to allow Lydia to go to Brighton, he simply comments that sending her to Brighton will be a good thing because "Lydia will never be easy till she has exposed herself in some public place or other, and we can never expect her to do it with so little expense or inconvenience to her family as under the present circumstances." When Elizabeth mentions that Lydia's actions are bound to have harmful effects on the reputation of herself and Jane, he simply makes jokes about it. In the end he concludes that if he were to forbid Lydia to go, "we shall have no peace at Longbourn." Mr. Bennet's negligence is perhaps worse than Mrs. Bennet's, since he recognizes the problems with Lydia's character but is unwilling to do anything to improve it.

The portrait of Lydia's flirtatious and frivolous character combined with the dangers Elizabeth perceives in her going to Brighton forebode serious trouble during Lydia's stay in Brighton.

Elizabeth's last encounters with Wickham demonstrate just how much her perception of him is changed now that she is free of the influence of vanity. "She had even learned to detect, in the very gentleness which had first delighted her, an affectation and a sameness to disgust and weary." Without the blinding effects of vanity she is able to see through his illusions of nobility.
Summary and Analysis of Volume III, Chapters 1-10


Volume III, Chapter 1 Summary:

Elizabeth is captivated by the beauty of Pemberley, and feels that it would not be bad to be the mistress of such a house. She almost has a feeling of regret. The housekeeper gives them a tour of the house and talks to them about Mr. Darcy and Miss Darcy. She describes Mr. Darcy as exceptionally sweet-tempered, generous and good-natured, remarking that she has "never heard a cross word from him." Elizabeth is surprised, having retained her assumption that Darcy is ill-tempered. Elizabeth is also impressed with Darcy's excellent treatment of his younger sister. After hearing so much praise of Darcy from his housekeeper, Elizabeth thinks of his regard for her with more warmth than ever.

As they go out to see the gardens, Mr. Darcy unexpectedly comes forward from the road. Both he and Elizabeth are ill at ease, but she is impressed at the genteel civility in his inquiries. After exchanging a few civilities he takes leave. Elizabeth is mortified and wonders what he might think of her for having come to visit the house.

Elizabeth is extremely distracted but attempts to be sociable and make conversation with her aunt and uncle as they walk through the garden. After a long while she is surprised to see Mr. Darcy coming toward them. They are both better prepared for this encounter. Mr. Darcy asks Elizabeth to introduce him to the Gardiners. In spite of the fact that they are a much lower class than he, he enters into conversation with them and even tells Mr. Gardiner that he is welcome to come to Pemberley and fish as long as he is in the area.

Elizabeth and Darcy begin walking together, and she informs him that she thought he would not be at home. He explains his reason for returning early and then asks her if he can introduce his sister to her when she arrives the next day. Elizabeth is surprised at this offer but accepts. When they reach the house they have an awkward conversation while waiting for the Gardiners to catch up with them, and then he sees them off with great politeness.

The Gardiners are very pleased and surprised at Darcy's civility, having heard from so many people, including Elizabeth, that he is so disagreeable, and still believing Wickham's story. Elizabeth tells them in a very guarded way that there is reason to believe that Darcy is not at fault in his dealings with Wickham.

Volume III, Chapter 1 Analysis:

Austen again presents her readers with strong dramatic irony by making Elizabeth's feelings for Darcy plain to the reader but incomprehensible to herself. It is clear that reflection on the contents of Darcy's letter have made Elizabeth change her feelings toward him considerably. When she visits Pemberley, she cannot help thinking of what it would be like to be the mistress of such a beautiful house. She tells herself that she does not regret her refusal of Darcy's proposal, but the more she sees of the house and the more she learns about his amiable and generous character from his housekeeper, the less firm her resolve against him becomes.

When Darcy runs into Elizabeth in the garden, she is surprised by his civility, and especially by his kind inquiries about her family. These inquiries are particularly noteworthy considering the harsh criticism which he made of her family during his proposal and in his letter. Further, when Darcy meets Elizabeth and the Gardiners later in their walk, Elizabeth is surprisingly pleased at how kind he is to Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, especially considering that these are precisely some of the relations which he had previously thought to be a reason for shame. Elizabeth is surprised that Darcy wants her to make his sister's acquaintance, but realizes what a compliment this is to her. She is flattered and gratified by her treatment of her and of her aunt and uncle, and her feelings are clearly warming up to him.

Darcy, for his part, seems to have changed considerably since the day he proposed to Elizabeth. His cool reserve, haughtiness of manner, and extreme consciousness of class differences seem completely gone. Elizabeth is puzzled at this change, and cannot think what the reason for it might be. Could her approbation of his rudeness when proposing to her have made such a huge impact? There seems to be no other possible explanation. Darcy's regard for Elizabeth seems to be in no way diminished.

Volume III, Chapter 2 Summary:

Mr. Darcy brings his sister to visit Elizzbeth at the inn the very morning of her arrival. Elizabeth is caught by surprise, not thinking that they will come until the next day. She is extremely nervous because she wants Georgiana to form a good opinion of her. The Gardiners begin to suspect that Darcy has a partiality for Elizabeth, seeing no other explanation for such attentions. Elizabeth is relieved to see that Miss Darcy is as nervous as she is. Miss Darcy is shy, attractive and graceful, with unassuming and gentle manners. Soon Mr. Bingley comes to visit as well. All of Elizabeth's anger at him disappears upon seeing him. The Gardiners, through their observations and conversation, become completely convinced that Darcy is in love with Elizabeth.

Elizabeth observes the conduct of Bingley and Georgiana toward one another, and is happy to find no sign of particular regard on the part of either. When Bingley has a moment to speak to Elizabeth without the others' hearing, he inquires about Jane and seems to regret that it has been so long since he has seen her.

Elizabeth is amazed at Darcy's civility toward the Gardiners, relations which he had previously spoken of with disdain, and she cannot imagine the reason for his change in manners. Before the visitors leave Darcy invites Elizabeth and the Gardiners to dinner at Pemberley, and they accept.

The Gardiners, seeing that Darcy is in love with Elizabeth, reevaluate their former negative opinion of him, which had been based on the accounts of their friends in Hertfordshire. They are satisfied that he is a much better man they had previously thought, and also find that Wickham is not held in such good esteem in the area.

Elizabeth stays awake trying to discern her feelings for Darcy. She realizes that she is grateful to him for having loved her and loving her still even after the rudeness of her rejection. She is extremely impressed by his change of character, and esteems him highly, but is still not sure whether or not she loves him.

Mrs. Gardiner decides that she and Elizabeth should wait on Miss Darcy the following morning in return for her great politeness in coming to see them immediately after her arrival.

Volume III, Chapter 2 Analysis:

Elizabeth's regard for Darcy seems to be increasing daily, though she is not quite aware of it. Her extreme nervousness and desire to make a good impression when Miss Darcy comes to visit belies the fact that she now wants to impress and please Mr. Darcy. He is continuously on her mind, so much so that she is kept awake at night trying to figure out her feelings for him.

Austen's portrayal of the interactions between Elizabeth and Darcy in these chapters foreshadows a second proposal.

Austen also gives the reader hope for renewed affections between Jane and Bingley. Upon observation, Elizabeth finds that Bingley and Miss Darcy clearly have no partiality toward one another. Moreover, Bingley's conversations with Elizabeth offer ample hints that he is still in love with Jane and would very much like to see her again.

Volume III, Chapter 3 Summary:

During their visit to Pemberley Miss Darcy receives them with civility, although she is very shy. Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley say very little, and the conversation is carried on mostly by Mrs. Annesley (an acquaintance), Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth. Elizabeth both hopes and fears that Mr. Darcy will join them.

After a while Mr. Darcy does join them, and his actions are closely scrutinized by Miss Bingley and Miss Hurst. When Miss Bingley notices that Mr. Darcy is trying to get Elizabeth and Georgiana to converse, she asks Elizabeth a question about the militia. Elizabeth answers with composure, and notices that both Mr. Darcy and Georgiana are pained by the allusion to Wickham.

After Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner take their leave, Miss Bingley speaks negatively about Elizabeth to Georgiana, but Georgiana's opinion is fixed firmly in Elizabeth's favor by her brother's commendations. Miss Bingley also repeats her criticisms of Elizabeth to Darcy, and after much provocation he coolly answers that he considers Elizabeth one of the most handsome women he has ever met, and then walks away.

Volume III, Chapter 3 Analysis:

Austen again brings the theme of class barriers to the fore in this chapter, demonstrating how the status accorded on the basis of class may have little or no connection to a person's virtue or merit. Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley are extremely class-conscious and look down upon Elizabeth and the Gardiners for their lower social status. Yet the very pettiness and lack of civility which Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley show are proof that they lack any genuine good breeding or nobility of character. Throughout the novel, Elizabeth has shown little concern for the merely superficial aspects of class barriers, and bases her judgments on what she believes to be the quality of a person's character.

While Mr. Darcy used to have an attitude about class similar to that of Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley, it seems that his relationship with Elizabeth has effected a substantial change in him. While he still respects status distinctions and rules of propriety, he is now able to look beyond class prejudices and to judge people according to their moral worth rather than their social class.

Volume III, Chapter 4 Summary:

Elizabeth receives two letters from her sister relating that Lydia has eloped with Wickham. At first they expected that the two were planning to go to Scotland to get married (because minors can marry without parental permission in Scotland). However, after gaining further intelligence they find that there is reason to doubt that Wickham has any intention of marrying her at all. Jane asks Elizabeth and the Gardiners to return home as soon as possible, and requests that Mr. Gardiner help her father search for Lydia and Wickham in London.

Elizabeth rushes to the door to go out to find Mr. Gardiner, but as she does so Mr. Darcy appears. She tells him with great agitation that she must go immediately in search of Mr. Gardiner, but he recommends that a servant be sent. That being done, Elizabeth collapses into a chair and when she is able to she explains the situation to Darcy. He is extremely distressed, thinking that if he had revealed more of what he knew about Wickham's character this could have been prevented. Elizabeth, observing Darcy, believes that such an action on her sister's part will make a renewal of Darcy's proposal impossible. Feeling this loss, she realizes that she loves him.

After a few minutes Darcy realizes that he is doing no good by his presence and takes his leave, promising to maintain secrecy on the matter and wishing that he could do more to help. Elizabeth watches him go with regret, doubting that they will ever meet again on such friendly terms.

Elizabeth has no doubts that Wickham does not plan to marry Lydia. She knows that Lydia would not have gone off with him if she were not under the pretense that they were going to be married, but Elizabeth also realizes that Lydia is easy prey for Wickham's deceptions.

The Gardiners quickly return and Elizabeth relates the sad news to them. Mr. Gardiner promises to do all he can to help, and they quickly prepare for their journey.

Volume III, Chapter 4 Analysis:

In early nineteenth-century England, a young lady's elopement is cause for great scandal to the entire family. The shock and dismay of Elizabeth and the entire family are quite understandable. Yet this event has been well prepared for in the novel by the descriptions of Lydia's flirtatious and frivolous character, and by knowledge of the dangers of Lydia's going to Brighton, which Elizabeth pointed out to her father. Upon hearing the news, Elizabeth is mortified not only for her sister's sake but also for her own sake, thinking that such an occurrence will make a renewal of Darcy's proposal impossible. It is ironic that only when she thinks all hope is lost of being married to him does she realize that she really does love him.

Mr. Darcy's reaction to the news, however, gives reason to believe that all hope is not gone for Elizabeth. His main concern is to comfort her and to express his desire of doing something to help the situation. Considering his previous connections to Wickham, there is reason to believe that he may have the ability to fulfill those desires.

Volume III, Chapter 5 Summary:

On the way back to Longbourn, Mr. Gardiner attempts to convince Elizabeth that Wickham must have a genuine intention of marrying Lydia, but Elizabeth, knowing what she does of Wickham, is not convinced. Elizabeth reproaches herself for not having revealed what she knew of Wickham's true character.

They arrive at Longbourn the next day and Jane is very happy to see Elizabeth. So far there is no new news about Lydia's whereabouts. Mrs. Bennet has taken things badly and will not leave her apartment. When they go to see her, she tells them that she blames the Forsters for neglect, not thinking that Lydia is the type of girl to do such a thing. She is alarmed that when Mr. Bennet finds them he will fight with Wickham and be killed. Mr. Gardiner tries to reassure her, and promises to do what he can to help Mr. Bennet in London. Kitty and Mary do not seem extremely upset over the situation.

When Elizabeth and Jane are alone they discuss what has happened in more detail. Jane shows Elizabeth the note which Lydia left for Mrs. Forster. Lydia's letter shows extreme thoughtlessness and frivolity, but also proves that she had every intention to marry Wickham.

Volume III, Chapter 5 Analysis:

While Mr. Gardiner entertains hopes that Wickham may be planning to marry Lydia, he does not know Wickham's true character. Elizabeth, realizing that Wickham has no reason to marry Lydia because the connection is not at all financially advantageous, is not so optimistic.

Mrs. Bennet's reaction is consistent with her character and reinforces her portrayal as a completely incompetent parent. Rather than trying to be of use and to strengthen her family on such a difficult occasion, she refuses to leave her apartment and worries herself with fanciful conjectures about a duel between Wickham and Mr. Bennet. She is irresponsible, and rather than helping her family is only more of a burden, leaving Jane to take care of everything.

Volume III, Chapter 6 Summary:

The next morning Mr. Gardiner sets off for London. Mrs. Gardiner plans to remain for a few more days at Longbourn in order to help Elizabeth and Jane.

All in Meryton quickly changed their opinion of Wickham from "an angel of light" to "the wickedest young man in the world," now finding fault with so many of his actions.

A letter from Mr. Gardiner arrives in a couple of days, explaining that they plan to inquire at every major hotel about Lydia and Wickham. Mr. Gardiner also plans to ask Mr. Forster if anyone in the militia has any idea of where he would be staying in London.

They receive a letter from Mr. Collins, offering condolences and also criticizing the lack of parental attention to Lydia. He also alludes to the fact that he is now glad Elizabeth turned down his proposal, since being married to her would connect him with this disgrace.

Another letter arrives from Mr. Gardiner saying that Mr. Forster has had no luck in finding any possible close friends or relations with whom Wickham and Lydia might be staying. He also mentions that Wickham has extra reasons for secrecy because of over 1,000 dollars in gaming debts, along with other debts to the town merchants.

Mr. Bennet decides to come home and leave the rest of the searching to Mr. Gardiner. At the same time, Mrs. Gardiner returns home to London with her children.

Elizabeth's misery at the situation is greatly increased by the knowledge that it probably ruins her chances of marriage to Darcy.

When Elizabeth speaks to her father, he tells her that he thinks himself completely to blame.

Volume III, Chapter 6 Analysis:

Mr. Bennet has been shocked out of his indolence by Lydia's elopement, and realizes only too late that he has been neglecting his duties as a father and that he is partially responsible for what has happened. He tries to make up for previous negligence by doing what he can to remedy the situation as much as possible and ensure that Wickham marries Lydia. Still, even now it is Mr. Gardiner who takes over the father's role in the Bennet family, continuing the search for Lydia while Mr. Bennet returns home.

Austen also provides a bit of humorous social commentary, remarking on how quickly the townspeople change their opinion of Wickham. Having previously considered him to be an "angel of light," they instantly reverse their opinion of him and think him to be the worst man in the world. Further, they all claim that from the beginning they were actually a bit suspicious of his character. Austen definitely does not have a high regard for the veracity or soundness of public opinion.

Volume III, Chapter 7 Summary:

Mr. Bennet receives an express letter from Mr. Gardiner, stating that he has found Wickham and that Wickham will agree to marry Lydia on condition that she receives her equal share of Mr. Bennet's wealth after his death along with 100 pounds per year. Mr. Gardiner assumes that Wickham's debts are not so bad as everyone had thought.

Mr. Bennet comments that Mr. Gardiner must have paid Wickham a large sum of money to make him comply, since what Wickham is asking is extremely little.

When Elizabeth and Jane relate the news to Mrs. Bennet, Kitty and Lydia, Mrs. Bennet is ecstatic. She begins to think about ordering the wedding clothes.

Volume III, Chapter 7 Analysis:

Mr. Bennet's assumption that Mr. Gardiner must have paid Wickham a large sum of money to get him to agree to marry Lydia makes perfect sense, considering the situation. Wickham probably has at least 2,000 pounds worth of debts, and seems prone to have particularly mercenary motivations in his relationships, as his sudden "affection" for Miss King shows. Yet while Mr. Bennet assumes that Mr. Gardiner himself must have given Wickham enough money to make marrying Lydia seem worth his while, the reader has reason to believe that someone else who has a great deal more money than Mr. Gardiner might be responsible‹that is, Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy's intervention is especially probable considering his sense of responsibility for having failed to reveal Wickham's true character and his attachment to Elizabeth.

Volume III, Chapter 8 Summary:

Mr. Bennet wants to find out how much Mr. Gardiner paid to get Wickham to agree to the marriage and to pay him back as much as possible.

After listening throughout dinner to Mrs. Bennet's talk of wedding plans and suitable houses in the neighborhood for Lydia and Wickham, Mr. Bennet informs her that he will not receive the couple at Longbourn, nor give Lydia money for wedding clothes. Mrs. Bennet is more disgraced by her daughter's lack of new clothes for the wedding than by her elopement.

Elizabeth reflects on the fact that with Wickham as a member of the family, there is no possibility that Darcy will propose to her again. His proposal of four months ago would now be most gratefully received. She realizes that Darcy is the man who would most suit her, and that their personalities would complement each other for their mutual advantage.

Another letter arrives from Mr. Gardiner. He reports that Wickham is planning to quit the militia and that has a promise of an ensigncy in a regiment quartered in the North. The letter also mentions Wickham will pay off all his debts both in Brighton and Meryton.

After entreaties from Elizabeth and Jane, Mr. Bennet decides to allow Lydia and Wickham to visit Longbourn before leaving for the North.

Volume III, Chapter 9 Summary:

When the couple arrives, they show no sense of shame whatsoever and Lydia shamelessly expects congratulations from all her sisters. Jane and Elizabeth are extremely distressed at Lydia's conduct.

Upon observance, Elizabeth finds that Wickham's affection for Lydia is not nearly so strong as her affection for him. Lydia relates to Elizabeth all the details of the wedding. She is completely ungrateful for what the Gardiners have done, and even complains that they would not let her go out while she was staying with them. Lydia mentions in passing that Mr. Darcy attended the wedding, but then says that she was not supposed to tell anyone. Elizabeth writes to Mrs. Gardiner asking for more details about why Mr. Darcy was at the wedding.

Volume III, Chapters 8-9 Analysis:

Mrs. Bennet's happiness about her daughter's marriage demonstrates her complete lack of sense and disregard for honor and virtue. She completely forgets the scandalous way her daughter has acted and begins to occupy herself by planning what material to buy for Lydia's wedding clothes. When Mr. Bennet tells her that he will not give any money for Lydia's wedding clothes, she is more embarrassed that Lydia will have new clothes at the wedding than at her daughter's immoral conduct. When Lydia visits Longbourn, her mother congratulates and pampers her, and does not offer even one word of remonstrance. Under the guidance of such a mother, it is no wonder that Lydia lacks any sense of morality or propriety.

Volume III, Chapter 10 Summary:

Mrs. Gardiner's letter arrives, explaining all the particulars with regard to Mr. Darcy's involvement in the wedding. Mr. Darcy was the one who found out Wickham's whereabouts by bribing Miss Younge (the woman who had helped Wickham to seduce Georgiana) to tell him. When Darcy found the couple, he tried to convince Lydia to leave, but she refused. That being the case, Darcy tried to get Wickham to marry Lydia, which Wickham had no intention of doing. Darcy offered Wickham money in order to persuade him to marry Lydia. Darcy then waited until Mr. Bennet had left for Longbourn and went to inform Mr. Gardiner of all that had occurred, explaining that he felt guilty for not having exposed Wickham's character sooner.

Mrs. Gardiner concludes the letter stating that she is sure Darcy's actions are motivated by his love for Elizabeth, and relates to Elizabeth how much she thinks that he would be a good match.

In reflecting on the letter, Elizabeth is sensible of all the mortification and suffering which Darcy must have gone through in the process of getting Wickham to marry Lydia. She does not think, however, that his regard for her could possibly be the primary motive, and she still does not think that there is any hope that he will marry her.

Elizabeth's reflections are interrupted by Wickham. They have a guarded conversation in which she makes it clear that she knows more about Wickham's true past than he would like, but she avoids provoking him for Lydia's sake.

Volume III, Chapter 10 Analysis:

Lydia's comment in chapter 9 that Darcy attended the wedding seems to allow for no explanation other than Darcy's involvement in getting Wickham to marry her. When Mrs. Gardiner's letter arrives detailing all of Darcy's actions, all that the reader has been lead to suspect is confirmed.

Austen's novels develop an implicit theory of moral virtue, in which the virtues consist of what is necessary to live well within a community. The community, through word and example, inculcates those virtues in its members. A serious breach of virtue on the part of one person is an injury not only to that person's character, but to the character of all his/her close relations, since those relations have an obligation form and educate their children in such a way that they will be virtuous. In Lydia's case, her lack of virtue seems in large part the result of her mother's foolishness and her father's indolence.

Elizabeth, while happy that Lydia and Wickham will be married and further scandal prevented, is now sure that Darcy will never marry her and suffer through being Wickham's brother-in-law. Now that she feels Darcy would never marry her, she sees how perfect they would be for each other and would readily say yes to his previous proposal. Yet unfortunately, it is too late‹or at least Elizabeth thinks so. Elizabeth does not believe that Darcy's assistance to Lydia was motivated by his regard for her, but this does seem to be a very likely motivation.
Summary and Analysis of Volume III, Chapters 11-18


Volume III, Chapter 11 Summary:

Lydia and Wickham leave for Newcastle, where his new regiment is stationed. Lydia's good-byes are not very affectionate. Mrs. Bennet is sad that she will not be able to see her daughter for a long time.

Mrs. Bennet hears from Mrs. Phillips that Mr. Bingley is planning to return to Netherfield in a few days. Jane tells Elizabeth that she does not want to see much of him. Elizabeth, however, after having seen him while on vacation with the Gardiners, is sure that he is still partial to Jane, and thinks that perhaps Mr. Darcy may have told Bingley that he now approves of the match.

Mrs. Bennet plans to invite Bingley to dinner. Jane is obviously disturbed by his coming and is pained by the constant mention of his name.

Mr. Bingley and Darcy come to pay a visit at Netherfield. Elizabeth begins to hope that Darcy's affections for her are not shaken. When they come in, Elizabeth is pained by Mrs. Bennet's cold reception of Darcy in comparison with Mr. Bingley, considering how much she owes to Darcy. Elizabeth is also mortified by her mother's jubilant announcement of Lydia and Wickham's marriage. Darcy speaks little during the visit. When the gentlemen are leaving Mrs. Bennet invites them for dinner.

Volume III, Chapter 12 Summary:

During the dinner party, Bingley sits next to Jane and Elizabeth is convinced that he still admires her. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are sitting too far apart to be able to speak, and circumstances prevent them from conversing after dinner. Elizabeth is anxious and annoyed because she wants to speak with him very badly. Mrs. Bennet is extremely pleased with the dinner and is sure that Bingley and Jane will soon be married. Mr. Darcy is going back to London but will return in 10 days.

Volume III, Chapter 13 Summary:

After a few days Mr. Bingley calls again, and the day after he joins them again for dinner. Mrs. Bennet contrives to get Jane and Bingley alone together, but is unsuccessful. The next morning Mr. Bingley joins Mr. Bennet to go hunting, and he then stays for dinner. Mrs. Bennet is this time successful in arranging for Jane and Bingley to be left alone together. When Elizabeth walks into the drawing room she finds them there alone in earnest conversation. Bingley quickly leaves and Jane tells Elizabeth that she is the happiest woman in the world. Jane then goes to tell her mother, and Bingley, who had gone to speak with Mr. Bennet, returns and receives Elizabeth's congratulations. All are very happy. Bingley now comes to visit Netherfield every day.

Volume III, Chapters 11-13 Analysis:

The events of these few chapters should be of no surprise to the reader, as Austen has provided ample hints to foreshadow their occurrence. The events pass by quickly, and the plot now accelerates to the end, falling naturally from the climax to the conclusion as if by the force of gravity. From the accounts of Bingley when Elizabeth sees him in Derbyshire and from Darcy's letter, the reader is aware that Bingley's affections for Jane have not subsided and that the only reason he did not propose was that Darcy had advised him not to because he believed Jane was indifferent to Bingley. Yet now that Darcy is in love with Elizabeth and knows from Elizabeth that Jane is in love with Bingley, it seems likely that he will now offer Bingley the opposite advice. Bingley's return to Netherfield is obviously for the purpose of seeing Jane again, ascertaining whether or not she still loves him, and proposing if it seems that she does. The obstacles to Bingley and Jane's marriage were merely external ones, and once those obstacles were removed, their union was inevitable.

Darcy's accompanying Bingley to Netherfield likewise seems to have no other object but a chance to renew his offer of marriage to Elizabeth. The obstacles in their relationship are not so easy to overcome, because they are the internal obstacles of pride and prejudice. At this point, however, those obstacles have been mostly overcome. Elizabeth's prejudice has been slowly removed by her reflection on Darcy's letter, and Darcy's treatment of Elizabeth and the Gardiners demonstrates that his pride has been considerably abated as well. All that remains is for the two of them to become aware of each other's changes in attitude and mutual regard for one another.

Volume III, Chapter 14 Summary:

Early the next morning Lady Catherine unexpectedly comes to visit. Lady Catherine is, as usual, domineering and arrogant in her conversation. She tells Elizabeth she would like her company for a walk outside. Lady Catherine tells Elizabeth that she has come because of rumors that Darcy and Elizabeth will soon be married. Elizabeth answers her inquiries curtly and without revealing the fact that Darcy has not proposed to her again. Lady Catherine tries to forbid Elizabeth to marry Mr. Darcy, but Elizabeth is insensible to her entreaties and threats. Lady Catherine is furious and leaves.

Volume III, Chapter 14 Analysis:

Lady Catherine's visit strengthens the readers' suspicions that an engagement between Darcy and Elizabeth is imminent. Ironically, Lady Catherine's attempt to prevent Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage only serves to give hope to Elizabeth of Darcy's continued affection. While Elizabeth is uneasy that Lady Catherine's influence may prevent Darcy's proposal, it is likely that it will only do the opposite by likewise giving him hope of Elizabeth's affection. Lady Catherine thus unwittingly plays the part of facilitating their marriage through her very attempt to prevent it.

Volume III, Chapter 15 Summary:

Her conversation with Lady Catherine throws Elizabeth into a great discomposure of spirits. She is not sure what the cause of Lady Catherine's suspicion is, but she is uneasy about the fact that Lady Catherine will surely try to influence Darcy not to propose.

Mr. Bennet tells Elizabeth that he wants to speak with her and relates to her the contents of a letter from Mr. Collins in which he says that he has heard that Mr. Darcy may propose to Elizabeth and advises Elizabeth not to accept because of Lady Catherine's disapprobation. Mr. Bennet thinks the letter is extremely amusing because he still thinks that Darcy is indifferent to Elizabeth and that Elizabeth hates Darcy.

Volume III, Chapter 15 Analysis:

Mr. Collins' letter and Mr. Bennet's reaction to it is a source of great awkwardness for Elizabeth. She does not want to tell her father about her changed feelings for Mr. Darcy before knowing whether or not he still wants to marry her. The fact that Mr. Bennet and the rest of the family hate Darcy and thinks that Elizabeth hates him as well may make it difficult for them to accept Elizabeth and Darcy's engagement. The letter is, at the same time, a further confirmation for both Elizabeth and the reader that a second proposal from Darcy is imminent.

Volume III, Chapter 16 Summary:

Within a few days Mr. Darcy returns to Netherfield and he and Mr. Bingley come to Longbourn early in the day. Jane, Bingley, Darcy, Elizabeth, and Kitty take a walk. Jane and Bingley lag behind the rest, and eventually Darcy and Elizabeth are left to walk together alone as well. As soon as they are alone Elizabeth expresses to Darcy her gratitude for his assistance in the affair with Wickham and Lydia. Darcy replies that he wishes she had not found out, but adds that what he did was done for Elizabeth's sake. Elizabeth cannot say a word. Darcy tells her that his affections are no different than they were when he proposed, and asks her to tell him if hers are the same as well. Elizabeth informs him that her sentiments have changed and that she will now gladly receive his assurances of continued affection. He is overcome with delight upon hearing this and speaks warmly and fervently about his love. Lady Catherine's attempt to dissuade him from proposing only had the effect of giving him hope by letting him know that Elizabeth was not decided against marrying him.

They speak about the last proposal, both apologizing for their lack of civility. Mr. Darcy had been tortured by Elizabeth's reproof "had you acted in a more gentleman-like manner." This and her other reproofs on that night humbled him and led him to realize his selfishness and conceit. Elizabeth tells Darcy that his letter slowly removed all her former prejudices. When Darcy met Elizabeth at Pemberley, he wanted to show her immediately that he had changed as a result of her just reproofs.

Darcy tells Elizabeth that before leaving for London he had told Bingley that he had been wrong in interfering with Bingley's relationship with Jane and that he was now sure that Jane was really attached to him. This assurance from Darcy gave Bingley the encouragement he needed to make the proposal.

Volume III, Chapter 16 Analysis:

In these last chapters of the novel, all the events that have long been anticipated finally fall into place and Austen ties together the remaining loose strings of the novel.

Darcy's second proposal to Elizabeth and their conversation regarding how much has changed since the first proposal serves to confirm how the obstacles of pride and prejudice have all been removed. Darcy admits to Elizabeth that her reproofs to him in refusing her proposal, particularly her statement, "had you acted in a more gentlemanlike manner," affected him profoundly. With time, he realized that Elizabeth had been right and he began to attempt to change. The source of Darcy's pride, we find, is his upbringing, which taught him to scorn everyone outside of his own circle. He was unable to see his faults himself, but when Elizabeth pointed them out to him, he slowly came to realize that he needed to change. This progression can be seen as an example of Austen's Aristotelian ethics. For Aristotle emphasizes that one of the most important things about friendship is that friends help each other to see and remedy their faults of character.

Further, since Elizabeth's prejudice has been removed by what Darcy revealed to her in his letter and by her new observations of him at Pemberley, observations which were no longer biased by vanity as they had been before. Without these prejudices she sees how complementary their personalities are and how mutually beneficial the marriage would be for each of them. Elizabeth's liveliness of character would counteract his tendency to be overly serious, and his excellent education and superior knowledge of the world would highly beneficial for the improvement of her character as well.

Volume III, Chapter 17 Summary:

At night, when she is finally able to speak with Jane alone, Elizabeth tells her what has happened. Jane is incredulous. But eventually Elizabeth convinces her that she is serious and that she really does love Darcy. Elizabeth explains her reasons for previously concealing her affection, and reveals to Jane what Darcy did for Lydia. Jane is extremely happy for her, and they spend half the night talking.

The next morning Mrs. Bennet is annoyed on seeing that Mr. Darcy has again accompanied Bingley to Longbourn, and suggests that Elizabeth go for a walk with him to keep him out of Jane and Bingley's way. Elizabeth is quite happy to comply. Bingley greets Elizabeth with such warmth that she is sure he knows of her engagement. During their walk Elizabeth and Darcy decide that Darcy will ask Mr. Bennet's consent in the evening and that Elizabeth will speak to her mother.

After Mr. Darcy speaks with Mr. Bennet, Darcy tells Elizabeth that her father wants to speak with her. Mr. Bennet is shocked because he thinks that Elizabeth hates Darcy. After long explanations she assures Mr. Bennet of her affection for him. She also tells him of what Darcy did for Lydia. He is surprised and happy for his daughter.

At night Elizabeth tells her mother of the engagement. Her mother is shocked but extremely happy in thinking of how rich Darcy is. Her former dislike of him is completely forgotten.

The next day her mother acts remarkably well toward Darcy, and her father tries to get to know him better and is pleased with him.

Volume III, Chapter 17 Analysis:

The reactions of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet to the news of Elizabeth's engagement are completely in character. Mr. Bennet wants to be sure that Elizabeth is really marrying for love, knowing that his daughter will be miserable in a marriage if she does not genuinely regard and esteem her husband. He does now want Elizabeth to end up as he did, with a spouse completely unsuited to his personality.

Mrs. Bennet's reaction is of course a happy one. Her desire throughout the novel has been only to get her daughters to be married as quickly as possible. All of her former hatred for Darcy immediately disappears, and she is proud that Elizabeth has managed to capture such an extremely wealthy man. Mrs. Bennet, unlike Mr. Bennet, Elizabeth and Jane, views marriage simply as a means to the acquisition of wealth and material comfort

Volume III, Chapter 18 Summary:

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy converse playfully about how he fell in love with her in the first place and why he took so long to propose the second time. He tells her that his second proposal was all thanks to Lady Catherine, her warning having given him hope of Elizabeth's affection. Elizabeth asks him when he will tell Lady Catherine the news, and he goes off to write to her, while Elizabeth goes to write to Mrs. Gardiner.

Miss Bingley's reactions to Mr. Bingley's engagement to Jane are affectionate and insincere. Miss Darcy's reaction to news of Mr. Darcy's engagement is one of genuine delight.

The Collinses come to stay at Lucas Lodge because Lady Catherine is so angry at the engagement. Darcy deals well with the obsequiousness of Mr. Collins, along with the vulgarity of Mrs. Philips and Mrs. Bennet.

Mrs. Bennet is extremely happy and proud at her daughters' marriages.

Mr. Bennet misses Elizabeth and often goes to visit her at Pemberley.

Bingley and Jane leave Netherfield after a year and move to Derbyshire, because their closeness to Mrs. Bennet and the Meryton relations is too much to bear even for them.

Kitty now spends most of her time with her sisters, and is much improved by their example and society.

Mary stays at home and keeps her mother company on her visits.

Lydia soon writes to Elizabeth to congratulate her and ask her to see if Mr. Darcy will use his money and influence to help Wickham. Elizabeth replies negatively, but does send Lydia money that she saves by economizing in her private expenses.

Miss Bingley drops her resentment of Darcy's marriage because she wants to retain the right of visiting Pemberley.

Georgiana and Elizabeth become very close and very fond of one another.

Relations with Lady Catherine were broken off for a while, but Elizabeth finally convinces Darcy to attempt a reconciliation, and Lady Catherine comes to visit them.

Darcy and Elizabeth are always on intimate terms with the Gardiners, to whom they are grateful for having brought them together.

Volume III, Chapter 18 Analysis:

In the end, Elizabeth and Jane‹the two characters who are unwilling to compromise their principles‹are the ones who end up happiest. Lydia, who gives herself up completely to frivolity and immorality, will have to live with a husband who is deceitful and not really in love with her. Charlotte, who gives in to the temptation of marrying simply for pragmatic financial reasons, will have to bear with the insufferable formality and long-windedness of Mr. Collins for the rest of her life. Ironically, precisely through their refusal to turn marriage into a business transaction, Elizabeth and Jane end up with husbands who are both very wealthy and perfectly suited to their characters.







Summary and Analysis of Volume I, Chapters 1-6


Volume I, Chapter 1 Summary:

The novel begins with a conversation at Longbourn, the Bennet household, regarding the impending arrival of Mr. Bingley, "a single man of large fortune" to Netherfield Park, a nearby estate. Mrs. Bennet sees Mr. Bingley as a potential suitor for her daughters, and attempts to persuade Mr. Bingley to visit him. There are five daughters in the Bennet family. Mr. Bennet seems to prefer Elizabeth, the second oldest, because of her intelligence, while Mrs. Bennet seems fonder of the oldest, Jane, because of her beauty, and the middle child, Lydia, because of her good humor.

Volume I, Chapter 2 Summary:

Without telling his family, Mr. Bennet pays a visit to Mr. Bingley. He surprises his family by slipping the news unexpectedly into a conversation, but disappoints them by eluding their barrage of questions about Bingley's character.

Volume I, Chapters 1-2 Analysis:

The opening chapters of the novel introduce the reader to the principal characters and set forth a skeleton of the plot. The main themes of the novel and the stylistic devices through which they will be conveyed are also evident from the outset.

The first line of the novel--"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife"--is among the most famous first lines in literature. It not only calls the reader's attention to the central place that marriage will have in the plot of the story, but also introduces the reader immediately to Austen's use of irony. While the focus of the line is on "a single man . . . in want of a wife," the real emphasis in the noveland in the society of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuriesis the need for young women to find a husband in possession of a good fortune. The purely economic, utilitarian motive for marriage will come under attack in the novel, as will, implicitly, the societal constraints which leave many women with little choice but to marry for the sake of economic survival.

Our first glimpse of the Bennett family is enough to provide us with a fairly accurate sketch of their characters. Mrs. Bennett is chatty, frivolous and obsessed with marrying off her daughters, while Mr. Bennett is rather detached and ironic, not overly involved with the cares of the family. Jane is beautiful, amiable and good-natured, and always assumes that others are as good-natured as she. Elizabeth, good-looking but not as beautiful as her sister, has a sharp wit and prides herself on her keen perception of others' characters.

From the very first pages of the novel Austen's tendency to favor dialogue over narration is clearly manifested. Critics have acclaimed Austen's ability to bring characters to life by having them reveal themselves to the reader through their actions and dialogue, rather than through detailed narrative descriptions. Critic George Henry Lewes, a contemporary of Austen, lauds her because "instead of description, the common and easy resource of novelists, she has the rare and difficult art of dramatic presentation instead of telling us what her characters are, and what they feel, she presents the people, and they reveal themselves."

Volume I, Chapter 3 Summary:

The ladies of the household meet Mr. Bingley and his friend from London, Mr. Darcy, at a ball at Meryton. Mr. Darcy is quickly judged as "the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world" because of his reserve and unwillingness to dance with anyone outside of his own party. When both Darcy and Elizabeth are sitting out a dance and Bingley attempts to persuade him to dance with her, Elizabeth overhears Darcy's reply "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me." Mr. Bingley, on the other hand, is judged to be entirely amiable. He danced first with Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth's friend, but the only person with whom he danced twice was Jane. Upon returning home, Mrs. Bennet attempts to explain the event of the ball in detail to Mr. Bennet, but he is indifferent and even annoyed.

Volume I, Chapter 4 Summary:

When they are alone, Jane confides to Elizabeth that she admires Mr. Bingley. Elizabeth approves of him, although she points out that Jane never sees faults in others. While Elizabeth is critical of the snobbish behavior of Bingley's sisters, Jane insists that they are pleasing in conversation.

Bingley has a long-standing friendship with Darcy, in spite of their opposite personalities. Bingley is easy-going and open, while Darcy is haughty and reserved. While Bingley found the company at the Meryton ball to be quite amiable, Darcy saw no one with whom he wished to associate, and even though he assents to Jane's beauty, he complains that she smiles too much.

Bingley's sisters also tell him that they like Jane, and he feels "authorised by such commendation" to think what he likes of her.

Volume I, Chapters 3-4 Analysis:

The Meryton ball introduces the reader to the two main couples in the novel, and also foreshadows the differences in how their relationships will develop. Jane and Bingley are attracted to each from the outset, and their simple, amiable, easy-going natures prevent internal difficulties from hindering their attachment. The fact that Bingley seems to wait for his sisters' approval before feeling "authorised" to like Jane demonstrates how easily influenced he is by others' opinions and foreshadows external difficulties in the development of his relationship with Jane. Elizabeth and Darcy, however, hardly have the most favorable first impressions of one another. Elizabeth's quickness to judge Darcy and her pride in the accuracy of her perceptions will prevent from seeing the good side of his character until extraordinary events make her realize her mistake. Because of his pride and extreme class-consciousness, Darcy refuses even to consider Elizabeth as a dancing partner. The original title of the novel was, in fact, First Impressions. Indeed, the characters' first impressions of each other serve to mark the course of their future relationships.

The ball reinforces what we have already begun to see about the characters of Jane and Elizabeth. Thus while Jane assures Elizabeth that Bingley's sisters are pleasant once they have been engaged in conversation, Elizabeth, judges them to be haughty and dislikes them immediately.

Volume I, Chapter 5 Summary:

Sir William Lucas and his family live near Longbourn, and Sir William's eldest daughter Charlotte is a close friend of Elizabeth. The day after the ball Charlotte and Lady Lucas go visit the Miss Bennetts to talk over the ball. They speak about general admiration for Jane's beauty and Bingley's attraction to her, and then go on to criticize Darcy's pride and his treatment of Elizabeth. Mary makes a remark about universality of pride in human nature and its differentiation from vanity.

Volume I, Chapter 6 Summary:

Bingley's sisters, while not desirous of become better acquainted with Mrs. Bennett and the younger Bennet sisters, begin to become better acquainted with Jane and Elizabeth. Jane is pleased by their attention, but Elizabeth is still critical of them. The mutual regard of Jane and Bingley for one another is evident to Elizabeth, though Jane's composure and "uniform cheerfulness of manner" prevent her regard for him from becoming obvious.

Charlotte remarks that it may not be such a good thing that Jane's affection is guarded, because it may cause discouragement in Bingley. Charlotte believes that a woman should show more affection than she feels in order to make a man form an attachment to her, and thinks that "happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance."

Mr. Darcy begins to take an interest in Elizabeth, attracted by her dark eyes and the "easy playfulness" of her manners. Before conversing directly with her, he listens on a conversation between Elizabeth and Sir William Lucas. Elizabeth refuses to dance with Darcy, in spite of the entreaties of Sir William. Darcy mentions his admiration for Elizabeth to Miss Bingley, who is vainly attempting to attract his admiration to herself. Miss Bingley responds by satirically criticizing Bennett family.

Volume I, Chapters 5-6 Analysis:

Charlotte's comments to Elizabeth about Jane's manner of dealing with Bingley reveal that Charlotte has a much more pragmatic view of marriage than Elizabeth, and foreshadow her future decision to marry for purely economic purposes. Charlotte is critical of Jane's reserve in showing her regard for Bingley, and thinks that once she is secure of his affection there will be plenty of "leisure for falling in love as much as she chuses." Elizabeth, on the other hand, disagrees with Charlotte, commenting that her advice is good "where nothing is in question but the desire of being well married," but stating that she and Jane believe marriage should be based on love. Charlotte has a somewhat cynical view of marriage. She asserts that "happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance," and that "it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life." Elizabeth simply laughs at Charlotte's comments, telling her "You know you would never act in this way yourself." Yet subsequent events prove Elizabeth's judgment to be in error.

Elizabeth's blindness to Darcy's regard for her is caused by the harsh judgment of him which she formed at the ball: "to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable no where, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with." Her refusal to dance with him is a way of avenging her pride, injured from his refusal to dance with her at the ball.

Miss Bingley's jealousy of Elizabeth also begins to come to the fore. She attempts to win Darcy's favor by commenting on how "insupportable" it is to spend time with "such society," but he surprises her by saying that he is quite happy, "meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow." On finding out that Elizabeth is the object of his admiration, she begins to speak about what it would be like to have Mrs. Bennett as a mother-in-law, indirectly drawing his attention to the differences in class between his family and Elizabeth's. The barriers of class difference, however, are not nearly so powerful a hindrance to the relationship of Elizabeth and Darcy as are the internal barriers of their own pride and prejudice.






Summary and Analysis of Volume I, Chapters 7-14


Volume I, Chapter 7 Summary:

Lydia and Catherine, the two youngest in the family, often go to visit their aunt, Mrs. Phillips, in Meryton, where a militia regiment has recently arrived. Mr. Bennet complains of his daughters' foolishness, but Mrs. Bennet does not consider their obsession with the officers to be a cause for concern.

Jane receives an invitation to have dinner with Bingley's sisters. Rather than allowing her to use the carriage to go to Netherfield, Mrs. Bingley tells Jane to go on horseback, hoping that it will rain and that Jane will have to spend the night at Netherfield. Jane does not like the scheme, but has no choice but to accept it.

The plan works all too well, however‹not only is Jane forced to spend the night at Netherfield, but she falls ill as a result of getting soaked in the rain, and has to stay at Netherfield until her recovery. Elizabeth goes to Netherfield to visit Jane, and because there are no horses available she walks. The Bingley sisters are scandalized that Elizabeth walked such a distance in the mud. Jane's condition having intensified, Elizabeth attends to her with great solicitude. Because Jane does not want Elizabeth to leave, Miss Bingley invites her to stay at Netherfield.

Volume I, Chapter 7 Analysis:

Chapter 7 gives the reader a closer look at the youngest sisters in the Bennet family, Catherine and Lydia. Because of their "vacant" minds, the two sisters love to go to the nearby town of Meryton, where the presence of a militia regiment provides a great deal of amusement. While they were there they visited aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips. Mr. Bennet criticizes the silliness of Lydia and Catherine, but is characteristically detached from the situation and makes no attempt to stop them from going to Meryton or even to warn them about the possible dangers of their obsession with the militia officers. Mrs. Bennet does not even criticize the girls, and considers it completely acceptable for the girls to act so frivolously "Œyou must not expect such girls to have the sense of their father and mother.'" Ironically, what Mrs. Bennet's attitude proves is that girls lack of sense is precisely the result of her own foolishness and of Mr. Bennet's indifference. Austen views the family as the fundamental unit of society, within which children educated in virtue. The failure of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet to take their parental duties seriously will result in family disgrace. Their nonchalance with regard to Lydia and Catherine's involvement with the military regiment forebodes future trouble.

An analysis of the significance of Jane's stay at Netherfield will be presented as a whole after Chapter 12.

Volume I, Chapter 8 Summary:

When Elizabeth leaves the dinner table to continue attending to Jane, the Bingley sisters harshly criticize her pride and stubborn independence for having walked to Netherfield alone, but Mr. Bingley and Darcy admire Elizabeth's devotion to Jane. The Bingley sisters also deride the low family connections of Jane and Elizabeth. Bingley does not seem to care about their low connections, although Darcy considers it an impediment to their marrying well.

In the evening after Jane has fallen asleep, Elizabeth joins the others in the drawing room, and they have a conversation about what it means for a woman to be accomplished. Darcy and Miss Bennett provide such unrealistic criteria that Elizabeth claims she has never seen such a woman in her life.

Volume I, Chapter 9 Summary:

Elizabeth asks that her mother be summoned to come and see Elizabeth. Mrs. Bennet is happy because she sees that Jane is not in danger but that she is ill enough to continue her stay at Netherfield. Elizabeth is thoroughly embarrassed by her mother's conduct in the conversation, and particularly by her extreme rudeness to Darcy. Mrs. Bennet returns home and Elizabeth continues to attend to Jane.

Volume I, Chapter 10 Summary:

That evening in the drawing room Darcy writes a letter to his sister while Miss Bennet observes him and continually makes comments in admiration of his letter-writing style. The group gets into a discussion about Bingley's characters, which leads to Elizabeth's praise of someone who yields to the persuasion of friends.

As the Bennet sisters sing and play the piano, Elizabeth notices how frequently Mr. Darcy looks at her, butunable imagine that he might admire hershe assumes he is staring at her because of his disapproval of her. Darcy asks her to dance a reel, but Elizabeth assumes that there is some sarcasm in this invitation, and satirically declines the offer. Miss Bingley notices, and begins to taunt Darcy by speaking about the possibility of marrying into the Bennet family and emphasizing the inferiority of her connections.

Volume I, Chapter 11 Summary:

After dinner Jane is feeling well enough to join the others in the drawing room, and Elizabeth is delighted by the attention which Bingley shows to her. Miss Bingley continues in her vain attempts to please Darcy, and even feigns a love for reading, picking up the second volume of the book which he is reading. She then begins to walk around the room, attempting to catch Darcy's admiration. She fails, but as soon as she invites Elizabeth to walk with her Mr. Darcy looks up and stops reading. They begin to converse about Darcy's character, and Darcy admits that he has a tendency to be resentful.

Volume I, Chapter 12 Summary:

Jane having recovered from her illness, she and Elizabeth resolve to go home the next morning. Her mother is unwilling to send the carriage so soon, wanting to extend Jane's stay as long as possible, but Elizabeth and Jane are resolved to go and they ask for the Bingleys to lend them their carriage. Elizabeth and Jane are glad to be returning home, and all except Bingley are happy to see them go. Darcy is glad to be removed from the danger of Elizabeth's company, and Miss Bingley is glad to be rid of her competition.

Volume I, Chapters 8-12 Analysis:

Elizabeth and Jane's stay at Netherfield acts a vehicle by which the issue of class difference is brought to the fore. Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst make constant reference to the low connections of Jane and Elizabeth whenever the two are not in the room. They speak about the fact that one of Bennet's relations is an attorney. While from today's point of view it seems difficult to see why this fact should be an object of derision, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when Austen was writing, working for a living rather than living off the income of capital or land was judged to be socially inferior. While the issue of class is usually brought up by Miss Bingley who is extremely envious of Darcy's obvious admiration for Elizabeth, the Bingley sisters also bring up the class issue with relation to Jane, expressing their sorrow that her low connections will limit her marriage possibilities.

Darcy believes that "were it not for the inferiority of [Elizabeth's] connections, he should be in some danger." This very belief, however, reveals that he is already in more "danger" than he would like to admit. While Bingley seems to have little concern for class issues, paradoxically it is he and not Darcy who allows class considerations overall his affections. Yet Bingley's actions are not so incomprehensible considering the information which Austen about Bingley's character. Darcy, Elizabeth and Bingley have a conversation about Bingley's character in which Darcy criticizes the ease with which he succumbs to the influence of his family and friends, and Elizabeth defends Bingley, saying the yielding to the persuasion of a friend is meritorious. Ironically, further along in the story Darcy is the one who will be persuading Bingley, and Elizabeth will be quite angry at him for having done so.

While Mrs. Bennet had hoped that Jane's forced stay at Netherfield would further the attachment of Jane and Bingley, she would have never guessed at the second attachment which would begin to form‹that between Elizabeth and Darcy. In spite of Elizabeth's obvious coldness toward him and Miss Bingley's constant ridicule about the inferiority of Elizabeth's connections, Darcy finds himself increasingly attracted to Elizabeth, particularly her beautiful dark eyes. Yet as beautiful as her eyes are, their darkness also represents Elizabeth's main weakness‹the clouding of her perception by pride and prejudice. Elizabeth prides herself on her ability to judge the others' characters and to uncover the motives behind their actions. Yet her prejudgment of Darcy blinds her to his admiration of her. When Darcy asks Elizabeth if she is inclined to dance a reel, she assumes that he only asked her in order to ridicule her for her unrefined taste. She does not know what to make of his respectful treatment of her. Toward the end of the Bennet sisters' stay at Netherfield, Miss Bennet, Darcy and Elizabeh have a conversation about Darcy's character. Elizabeth concludes that Darcy's defect is "a propensity to hate everybody," while Darcy perceptively replies that hers is "Œwilfully to misunderstand them.'"

Volume I, Chapter 13 Summary:

At breakfast the following day Mr. Bennet announces that Mr. Collins, a cousin of his whom he has never met, will be coming to visit. Because of the laws of inheritance at the time and because Mr. Bennet has no sons, Mr. Collins is in line to inherit Longbourn. Mrs. Bennet hates Mr. Collins because of this, but Elizabeth and Jane try to explain the nature of the laws of entailment.

To inform them of his visit, Mr. Collins writes a letter to Mr. Bennet. In the letter Mr. Collins explains that he has recently been ordained and is under the patronage of Lady Catherine De Bourgh.

Mr. Collins arrives in the afternoon as expected. He is 25 years old, tall and heavyset, with a grave air and formal manners. When he is conversing with the women of the household before dinner, he mentions that he is well aware of the hardship involved in the entailment of the estate and that he wants to make amends for this hardship. He has come "prepared to admire" the young ladies of the household. Mr. Collins also expresses his admiration for the house itself and for the quality of the dinner.

Volume I, Chapter 14 Summary:

After dinner Mr. Bennet invites Mr. Collins to speak about his patroness Lady Catherine. Mr. Collins describes Lady Catherine with great solemnity and effusive praise, remarking on her great affability and condescension to him in spite of her high rank. He also describes Lady Catherine's daughter, Miss de Bourgh, as quite charming but rather sickly. He tries to ingratiate himself with Lady Catherine by thinking up pretty and flattering phrases to tell her about Miss de Bourgh while trying to make his praise seem spontaneous. Mr. Bennet is convinced that Mr. Collins is absurd.

After tea Mr. Bennet invites Mr. Collins to read aloud to the ladies. Mr. Collins declares that he never reads novels and instead begins to read with a book of sermons with "monotonous solemnity." After a few pages Lydia interrupts the reading by asking her mother a question about her uncle Philips. Mr. Collins is offended but takes the hint and stops reading after briefly reprimanding the frivolity of Lydia. He then proposes playing a game of backgammon.

Volume I, Chapters 13-14 Analysis:

These two chapters serve to introduce the reader to the character of Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins is a supercilious man with exaggerated and overly formal manners and a strange combination of self-importance and obsequiousness. Mr. Collins is in line to inherit Longbourn. Mrs. Bennet sees this as a great injustice for which Mr. Collins is responsible, but Jane and Elizabeth are resigned to the fact that they have no control over the inheritance laws and that Mr. Collins is not at fault for being in line to inherit their father's property. Thinking that by marrying one of Mr. Bennet's daughters he will be able to make amends for taking their property, Mr. Collins is visiting Longbourn with the express purpose of finding a wife, a purpose which he only alludes to in these chapters but which becomes clearer later on.

Mrs. Bennet's gut reaction and sense of injustice with regard to the entailment of the estate serves to call attention to the injustice of English inheritance laws. Elizabeth and Jane, more moderate in their reaction, are inclined to accept the practice of entailment as simply part of the way their society works. While of course they do not like the fact that they will not be able to inherit their father's estate, their education has led them more or less to accept the conventional inheritance laws. Mrs. Bennet, on the other hand, through her unstudied and unguarded reaction, brings attention to the natural injustice of the law. The entailment of the estate will be a great hardship for the young women. Without the sort of independent income which could be derived from an estate, they will need to marry well in order to secure their livelihood. Further, their marriage prospects are considerably lower because of their small inheritance.

Austen uses this situation in the novel to call attention to the difficulties which women faced in early 19th-century England. Austen's critical attitude toward the limitations which society placed upon women is emphasized in her choice of a character such as Mr. Collins to be the one who will inherit the Bennet's estate. Far from being a close relation to the family, Mr. Collins is a cousin whom they have never even met. The fact that Mr. Bennet's property should pass to him instead of to his own daughters is absolutely ridiculous. Further, Mr. Collins silly and pompous personality lead the reader to dislike him and therefore to object even more intensely to the fact that he will inherit Longbourn.

Also indirectly introduced in these chapters are Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her daughter. In between the lines of Mr. Collins praise for Lady Catherine's great "condescension" and generosity the reader gets the sense that that Lady Catherine is an extremely rich woman who is arrogant and self-satisfied because of her wealth and social position. Little is said about Miss de Bourgh, Lady Catherine's daughter, except that she is sickly and weak. These characters will play an important part in the second half of the novel.







Summary and Analysis of Volume I, Chapters 15-23


Volume I, Chapter 15 Summary:

Mr. Collins' upbringing by an "illiterate and miserly father" along with his unexpected good fortune in finding a patroness like Lady Catherine has led to his lack of good sense and his strange combination of obsequiousness and self-conceit. Now that he is settled he wants to "make amends" for inheriting the Longbourn estate by marrying one of the young ladies in the Bennet household. After meeting them, he was first attracted to Jane because of her beauty, but after hearing from Mrs. Bennet that Jane may soon be engaged, he switches his affections to Elizabeth.

Mr. Collins joins the ladies for a walk to Meryton. Upon reaching Meryton they meet Mr. Denny, an officer with whom Lydia and Kitty are acquainted, and he introduces them to a new member of the regiment, Mr. Wickham. Mr. Wickham is handsome and charming. While they are all conversing, Bingley and Darcy notice them as they are riding by and stop to greet them. As soon as Darcy notices Mr. Wickham, he turns white, and Mr. Wickham turns red. Bingley and Darcy continue on their way.

Mr. Denny and Mr. Wickham take leave of the young ladies once they arrive at Mr. Philip's house. Jane introduces Mr. Collins to Mrs. Phillips. Mrs. Philips plans to invite Mr. Wickham to dinner tomorrow and invites the Longourn ladies and Mr. Collins to join them.

Volume I, Chapter 16 Summary:

At the beginning of the event at the Phillips' house the next day, Mr. Collins speaks to Mrs. Philips about Lady Catherine and her mansion Rosings, and Mrs. Philips is favorably impressed.

Elizabeth forms a very favorable impression of Mr. Wickham, and converses with him at length during the evening. Elizabeth is curious to find out about the obvious animosity which exists between him and Darcy. Wickham brings up the subject by inquiring how long Darcy has been in the area. Elizabeth expressed her dislike of Darcy to Wickham, and Wickham mentions that he and Darcy have been intimately acquainted since childhood. After feigning to avoid the subject, Wickham divulges to Elizabeth that Darcy's father was his godfather and had promised to provide an ample living for him, but after his death Darcy had circumvented his father's promise and had given the living to someone else because of his dislike for Wickham. Elizabeth is outraged and suggests that Darcy ought to be publicly dishonored for his actions, but Wickham refuses to do so ought of respect for Darcy's father. Wickham attributes Darcy's dislike of him to jealousy. Elizabeth and Wickham also speak of Darcy's pride, which Wickham believes is the source of all his generosity in the use of his money and excellent care for his sister. Wickham alludes to a previously close but now very cold relationship with Darcy's sister.

Wickham also mentions to Elizabeth that Lady Catherine de Bourgh is Mr. Darcy's aunt, and that Mr. Darcy is expected to marry Miss de Bourgh in order to unite the fortunes of the two families.

Volume I, Chapter 17 Summary:

When, the next day, Elizabeth relates to Jane the substance of her conversation with Wickham, Jane refuses to think ill of either Wickham or Darcy, and assumes that they must in some way be mutually deceived.

Mr. Bingley and his sisters come to Netherfield to announce a ball. When Elizabeth asks Mr. Collins whether or not he plans to attend, he state that he does and asks her for the first two dances. While she had wanted to reserve those dances for Wickham, she gracefully accepts his offer. Elizabeth begins to realize that she has become Mr. Collins choice for a future wife, but she ignores his hints in that direction hoping that he will not ask her.

Volume I, Chapters 15-17 Analysis:

Pride and prejudice come to the fore once again in these scenes which introduce the reader to the character of Mr. Wickham. Elizabeth, always confident of her ability to judge the characters of others, quickly forms a favorable opinion of Mr. Wickham. This opinion is most definitely not hindered by the attentions which he pays to her. Yet while Elizabeth trusts Wickham and does not think that his account of Darcy could be in any way dishonest‹especially since it corroborates with her own opinion‹the attentive reader has reasons to suspect otherwise. Elizabeth is naturally curious as to why Wickham and Darcy reacted so strangely when they met one another on the street, and hopes that her conversation with Wickham will provide some clues. Wickhams very cautiously begins to ask Elizabeth about Darcy, and after hearing how much she dislikes him, he decides little by little to tell the story of his previous relationship with Darcy and Darcy's father. All the while, he pretends to be avoiding the subject and pretends that, out of respect for Darcy's father, he does not want to say anything negative about Darcy or to publicize what has happened. Yet the fact that Wickham so quickly divulges all the details of the story to Elizabeth after having just met her gives reason to doubt the sincerity of his supposed reluctance to defame Darcy's character. Elizabeth, however, sees no inconsistency in Wickham's behavior, and readily believes everything that he tells her, having judged him to be extremely amiable and trustworthy.

Once again we see how Elizabeth's prejudgments of Darcy lead to a complete lack of objectivity. Of course, these prejudgments themselves are a result of wounded pride. Her hasty positive judgment of Wickham also seems to be closely connected with his ingratiation of her pride by choosing to converse with her over all the other ladies present.

Austen attempts to make the reader suspicious of Wickham's character, as his avowed desire to refrain from injuring Darcy's character seems difficult to reconcile with the ease with which he contradicts that desire in his conversation with a Elizabeth. Wickham's account introduces a crucial tension in the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth which will only be resolved as their pride and prejudice are dispelled at the end of the novel.

Volume I, Chapter 18 Summary:

At the Netherfield Ball Elizabeth is disappointed because of Wickham's absence, which she assumes is all Mr. Darcy's doing. After relating her disappointment to her friend Charlotte Lucas, she suffers through her two dances with Mr. Collins. Mr. Darcy asks her for a dance and Elizabeth is so taken by surprise that she accepts. During the dance with Mr. Darcy Elizabeth makes a bit of sarcastic conversation, poking fun at his character. She alludes to her new acquaintance with Wickham and to the fact that she thinks he has not behaved well toward him. They change the subject after a brief interruption from Sir William Lucas, but then she goes back to it by asking him about his previous admission that he has a tendency toward resentment, explaining that she is unable to figure out his character because she has received such contradictory accounts. After the dance they part in silence but Darcy forgives her questioning and blames Wickham.

Miss Bingley, having heard from Jane that Wickham has talked with Elizabeth about Darcy, tries to warn her not to trust Wickham and assures her that Darcy has done nothing wrong to Wickham but that Wickham has treated Darcy shamefully. Elizabeth reacts rudely and considers Mr. Bingley to be blinded to the truth. Jane also tells Elizabeth that Mr. Bingley believes Darcy's behavior is above reproach and that Wickham is not reputed to be of good character, but Elizabeth dismisses Bingley's opinion because he received all his information from Darcy.

Mr. Collins finds out the Darcy is Lady Catherine's nephew and decides to introduce himself, in spite of Elizabeth's warnings that it would be inappropriate to do so because of Mr. Darcy's superior social status. Darcy is surprised at Mr. Collins but replies to him with civility and then walks away.

Jane seems to be having a wonderful time with Mr. Bingley, and Elizabeth enjoys herself in thinking of her sister's happiness. Mrs. Bennet is also happy to see how well Jane and Mr. Bingley are getting along, and during dinner speaks unceasingly and loudly about the imminence of their engagement in close proximity to Mr. Darcy, much to Elizabeth's great embarrassment.

After dinner Mary accepts an invitation to play and sing at the piano, and is insensible to Elizabeth's hints that she ought to decline. After Mary's second piece Elizabeth gets her father to tell Mary to stop playing. Mr. Collins then makes a speech about the importance of music which nonetheless should not take precedence to more important parish duties. Elizabeth feels completely embarrassed by her family's conduct during the evening.

At the end of the ball Mrs. Bennet invites Bingley to dinner at Longbourn and he promises to come as soon as he returns form a short trip to London.

Volume I, Chapter 18 Analysis:

Elizabeth's prejudice is highlighted even further in this chapter. In spite of the fact that Mr. Darcy is quite cordial to her and even invites her to dance, she is barely civil to him and even brings up the topic of Wickham, letting him understand in barely veiled language that she believes Darcy has acted unjustly. Even after being given further reason to doubt Wickham's sincerity from the accounts of Miss Bingley and Mr. Bingley, Elizabeth refuses to reconsider her opinion. Mr. Darcy, on the other hand, seems to be increasingly enamoured with Elizabeth, and is willing even to excuse her insolence with regard to Wickham, blaming it on him for having deceived her rather than on her for her rash judgment. It is ironic that Elizabeth criticizes Miss Bingley for her prejudice against Wickham when in fact Miss Bingley is correct and Elizabeth is the one who is prejudiced toward Wickham and against Mr. Darcy.

The social interactions at the ball provide the reader with a picture of the formalities of early 19th century English society and the extreme importance which rank and wealth played in social relations. Elizabeth is extremely aware of these social conventions, and is continually being embarrassed by her family's lack of propriety. Mr. Collins' introduction of himself to Mr. Darcy as well as his long and pompous speeches combined with her mother's indiscreet conversation about hopes for a marriage between Elizabeth and Bingley and Mary's poor performance skills serve to completely mortify her.

Volume I, Chapter 19 Summary:

The next day Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth, in a long speech explaining that he considers it appropriate for him to marry and that he wants to marry one of the Miss Bennets in order lessen the difficulty of the entailment of the estate. Elizabeth refuses him in no uncertain terms, but Mr. Collins refuses to believe that her refusal could be sincere, considering it a formality of female coquetry to always refuse a proposal the first time. Elizabeth repeats and strengthens her refusal, but as he still cannot believe her to be sincere, she simply leaves.

Volume I, Chapter 20 Summary:

When Mrs. Bennet hears that Elizabeth has refused to marry Mr. Collins, she entreats Mr. Bennet to force Elizabeth to change her mind. Mr. Bennet agrees to speak with Elizabeth, but actually tells her that he would never hear of her marrying such a man as Mr. Collins. Mrs. Bennet does not give up however, and continually attempts to persuade Elizabeth to accept the proposal. In the midst of all this confusion, Charlotte Lucas comes to visit. Eventually Mr. Collins accepts Elizabeth's refusal.

Volume I, Chapters 19-20 Analysis:

Mr. Collins' proposal and his reaction to Elizabeth's refusal solidify Austen's portrait of this absurd character. The proposal itself is delivered in such a way that it seems more appropriate for a business deal than for a declaration of love. Mr. Collins explains to Elizabeth that he had come to Longbourn with the purpose of finding of a wife both on account of Lady Catherine's advice and on account of a desire to make amends for the difficulties involved in the entailment of the Longbourn estate. Only after he explains these cold considerations does he mention that he has a high regard for Elizabeth.

Mr. Collins' comic inability to believe that Elizabeth could possibly be sincere in her repeated refusals of his proposal demonstrate how little respect he has for Elizabeth and how completely conceited he is. He is not the least discouraged by Elizabeth's clear refusal, and simply shrugs it off as some sort of female coquetry. Words, for Mr. Collins, are not expressions of genuine thoughts and feelings but a means of filling certain formalities of social propriety. Thus even when Elizabeth speaks sincerely to him in no uncertain terms about her feelings he assumes that her words, like his, are merely the fulfillment of some strange female tradition which requires that a woman refuse a proposal the first time it is made. Since none of his own words express genuine thoughts or feelings, he assumes that no one else's words do either. Further, his conceit prevents him from seeing any reason why Elizabeth would not want to marry him. Mr. Collins is an example of someone who sees marriage more as a partnership for social and financial advantage than as a relationship to express the love and affection of two people for each other.

The fact that Charlotte Lucas is so kind as to engage Mr. Collins in conversation and thus relieve the Bennets of the task, just as she did at the night of the ball, is presented by Elizabeth as an act of kindness on Charlotte's part. However, considering Charlotte's previously expressed views on her willingness to marry merely for financial reasons, Charlotte's friendliness toward Mr. Collins foreshadows that another marriage is soon to come.

Volume I, Chapter 21 Summary:

Mr. Collins reacts by treating Elizabeth coldly for the rest of the day and shifting his attentions to Charlotte Lucas.

The girls all walk to Meryton after breakfast. Elizabeth speaks with Wickham and he accompanies them back to Longbourn, paying particular attention to Elizabeth.

When they return Jane receives a letter from Caroline Bingley stating that they have all left Netherfield for town and have no intention of returning. She states that Mr. Bingley will most probably not return for at least another six months. The letter also speaks of the family's expectation that Mr. Bingley will marry Georgiana Darcy, implying that they do not want him to marry Jane. Elizabeth attempts to comfort Jane by reassuring her that Mr. Bingley really is attached to her and that in spite of his sisters' efforts to prevent him from marrying Jane he will most assuredly return to Netherfield.

Volume I, Chapter 21 Analysis:

By informing the reader of Bingley's departure only through the letter of Caroline Bingley, Austen leaves many details up to the speculation of the reader. The description of Jane and Bingley at the Netherfield Ball leaves little room for doubt as to their mutual regard. It seems clear, therefore, that without outside persuasion he would not simply leave Netherfield with no intention of returning in the near future. According to the letter, Mr. Bingley himself had only planned to be away from Netherfield for a few days to attend to someone business. It seems that Caroline and her sister, and perhaps Mr. Darcy as well, plan to follow him and to persuade him not to return at all. This scheme seems particularly likely considering that Mr. Darcy had overheard Mrs. Bennet's jubilant conversation at dinner regarding what she considered to be the imminent engagement of Jane and Bingley. Knowing how much Mr. Darcy is concerned with social status, it is not unlikely that he would try to persuade Mr. Bingley not to propose to Jane.

Volume I, Chapter 22 Summary:

Charlotte Lucas continues to engage Mr. Collins in conversation for the rest of the day. Early the next morning Mr. Collins goes to Lucas Lodge to propose to Charlotte. Charlotte accepts and Sir William and Lady Lucas approve of the match.

Mr. Collins left the next day without informing the Bennets of his engagement. His promise to return soon was met by assurances on the part of Mr. Bennet that they would not be offended if the fulfillment of his duties prevented his speedy return.

Later in the day Miss Lucas tells Elizabeth about her engagement. Elizabeth is shocked but tries to be kind in her reaction. She is however, very unhappy about Charlotte's decision because she thinks that the match is completely unsuitable.

Volume I, Chapter 23 Summary:

Later in the day Sir William Lucas came to announce the engagement, to the great surprise of the rest of the family. Mrs. Bennet is incredulous and after being convinced that the news was true is extremely angry at Elizabeth for having turned down the proposal.

Elizabeth and Charlotte do not discuss the subject of the marriage between themselves, and their friendship gradually diminishes.

Jane and Elizabeth are concerned because they have not heard anything at all from Mr. Bingley.

Mr. Collins returns again to Longbourn in order to make preparations for his marriage. The Bennets are not too happy to see him but they are glad that he spends most of his time at Lucas Lodge.

Volume I, Chapters 22-23 Analysis:

The account of Charlotte's engagement to Mr. Lucas provides the reader with one of the two competing views of marriage which recur throughout the book. Charlotte has a conventional and pragmatic view of marriage. She is resigned to the fact that as a woman without an independent income she will need to marry in order to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, and has no particular hopes of actually finding a husband whom she loves. This view is best expressed in the narrator's comment about Charlotte "Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want."

Austen thus uses Charlotte and her pragmatic view of marriage as a contrast to Elizabeth's resolve to marry on the basis of love. Charlotte acts as the prototype of a typical upper class young woman in Austen's time, while Elizabeth is the exception. She is willing to sacrifice the assurance of being comfortably married in the hopes of obtaining greater happiness by marrying someone whom she actually loves. The irony is that in the end Elizabeth ends up not only with a marriage based on mutual affection but also with one that is even more financially advantageous than Charlotte's.




Summary and Analysis of Volume II, Chapters 1-10


Volume II, Chapter 1 Summary:

Jane receives another letter from Miss Bingley confirming that they will definitely not return before the end of the winter, and boasting about the whole family's increasing intimacy with Miss Darcy and the hopes of an engagement between her and Mr. Bingley. When Elizabeth and Jane are finally able to speak alone, Jane confides her disappointment to Elizabeth. In spite of Elizabeth's arguments, Jane refuses to believe that the Miss Bingleys and Mr. Darcy are responsible for persuading Mr. Bingley not to propose to Jane.

Mrs. Bennet only aggravates the situation by speaking of Bingley so often, and Mr. Bennet only responds sarcastically.

Some comfort is provided to the household by Mr. Wickham's society. Soon the whole town knows Wickham's story about Darcy and is happy to believe it and judge Darcy to be completely in the wrong.

Volume II, Chapter 1 Analysis:

This chapter highlights the differences in character between Jane and Elizabeth. Even in a matter which touches her so closely, Jane refuses to make judgments about others or to think ill of them. In spite of so much evidence to the contrary, she believes that the Miss Bingleys would never purposely try to dissuade Mr. Bingley from marrying her if he really were partial to her. She therefore concludes that his attachment to her must have simply been a product of her imagination. Jane points out to Elizabeth that her tendency to judge people so harshly may be a detriment to her happiness, an observation which proves to be true.

Austen also brings to light once again the complete ineptitude of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet as parents. Faced with a daughter who is suffering from a broken heart, Mrs. Bennet does nothing but aggravate the matter by constantly reminding her of it. Mr. Bennet, aloof as usual, simply comments to Elizabeth "Your sister is crossed in love I find. I congratulate her. Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love a little now and then." This sarcastic and unconcerned attitude regarding Jane's sufferings is much less than would be expected of a good father.

Volume II, Chapter 2 Summary:

Mr. Collins leaves Longbourn with his usual solemnity.

Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, Mrs. Bennet's brother and his wife, come to Longbourn to visit. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are both sensible, intelligent and refined. Elizabeth and Jane are very fond of them. Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth speak about Jane and Bingley. Mrs. Gardiner offers to bring Jane back to London with her in order to cheer her with the change of scene. Elizabeth hopes that while in London Jane will run into Bingley.

During the course of the visit Mrs. Gardiner observes Elizabeth with Wickham and notices her preference for him. Mrs. Gardiner enjoys speaking with Wickham about mutual acquaintances and about Mr. Darcy and his father.

Volume II, Chapter 2 Analysis:

Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner provide a sharp contrast to Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. When they visit Longbourn, they seem to fulfill all the parental functions which Mr. and Mrs. Bennet fail to perform. While Mrs. Bennet only makes Jane's suffering worse by constantly speaking of Bingley, Mrs. Gardiner is very sensitive to Jane's feelings and takes positive action to help her by inviting her to go and stay with them in London. Further, Mrs. Gardiner observes Elizabeth's conduct with Mr. Wickham and gives her sound and prudent advice regarding their relationship. Mrs. Bennet, on the other hand, is still cross with Elizabeth for having refused to marry Mr. Collins, and never offers her or any of the other Miss Bennets decent advice about their relationships. Mr. Bennet's sarcastic indifference is also in constrast with Mr. Gardiner's quiet solicitude for Jane's well-being and his desire to have her stay with them in London in order to get a change of scene.

Volume II, Chapter 3 Summary:

Mrs. Gardiner speaks with Elizabeth about the imprudence of becoming attached to Wickham because of his poor financial state. Elizabeth makes no promises that she will not become attached to him, but does promise to try to prevent the attachment as much as possible.

Mr. Collins returns to Hertfordshire for his wedding. Charlotte Lucas makes Elizabeth promise to visit her at Hunsford

Jane writes to Elizabeth telling about her stay in London. Caroline Bingley is extremely inattentive to her, pretending first that she is unaware of Jane's presence in London, and then waiting a fortnight to make a promised visit, which itself is rudely short.

In a letter to Mrs. Gardiner Elizabeth relates that Mr. Wickham's affections for her have subsided and have been transferred to another young lady, Miss King, who recently acquired 10,000 pounds. Elizabeth concludes that she must not have been in love with him, because her feelings are still cordial toward him.

Volume II, Chapter 4 Summary:

After a couple of dull winter months in Hertfordshire, Elizabeth is looking forward to going with Sir William Lucas and his second daughter to visit Charlotte. She parts very amiably with Wickham, reinforced in her belief that he is a "model of the amiable and the pleasing." The travelers stop for a night in London to see the Gardiners. Elizabeth is pleased to see that Jane is looking well. Mrs. Gardiner informs her, however, that Jane does undergo periods of dejection occasionally. Mrs. Gardiner is critical of Wickham so quickly shifting his attentions to Miss King, but Elizabeth defends him. Elizabeth is pleasantly surprised to be invited to accompany the Gardiners on a tour of the country during the summer.

Volume II, Chapters 3-4 Analysis:

Austen conveys much of the plot in these chapters through letters, enabling her to keep the reader informed of what both Elizabeth and Jane are doing, even though they are in different places. All of Jane's experiences in London are conveyed through her letter to Elizabeth. Jane finally admits that Elizabeth was right about the insincerity of Caroline Bingley's friendship, although, as usual, she makes excuses for her inattention saying that she must only be acting so rudely for the sake of her brother.

Mr. Wickham's quick transferral of his affections to Miss King after she has acquired 10,000 pounds provides important insight into his true character. While Elizabeth had clearly been his favorite, Wickham must have realized that her social position gave him little chance of being able to marry her. Of course, this knowledge did not prevent him from forming an attachment to her in the first place. Because he paid no attention at all to Miss King before she inherited the money, his motives for beginning to show a preference for her must be purely mercenary. Elizabeth does not seem to find fault with him for his actions, however, even Mrs. Gardiner points out the purely mercenary reasons for his actions. Having been sufficiently flattered by his preference for her and having formed a positive judgment of him, it seems that even in the face of such strong evidence she is unwilling to rethink her positive judgment of him. It is ironic that while Elizabeth is unable to make excuses for her good friend Charlotte for her choice to marry based on financial concerns, she sees no problem in Wickham's feigning attraction to a woman simply because her sizeable inheritance.

Volume II, Chapter 5 Summary:

The next day Elizabeth, Sir William and his daughter Maria set out for Hunsford to visit Charlotte. Upon arriving Mr. Collins welcomes him to the house with his usual verbose formality. Charlotte‹now Mrs. Collins‹seems to endure Mr. Collins' silliness very well, and to take pleasure in managing the house. On reflection, Elizabeth concludes that Charlotte is handling things well.

Elizabeth's reflections are interrupted by shouts from Maria telling her to look outside because Miss de Bourgh is there in her carriage. Elizabeth is happy that Miss de Bourgh looks sickly and cross, thinking that she'll make a perfect wife for Mr. Darcy. After the carriage drives away Mr. Collins congratulates them because they have all been invited to dine at Rosings the next day.

Volume II, Chapter 6 Summary:

The day of the dinner at Rosings is spent mostly in listening to Mr. Collins, who is trying to prepare his guests for the grandeur they are about to encounter. While Maria and Sir William are extremely nervous about meeting Lady Catherine, Elizabeth sees nothing to be intimidated about, being unimpressed by "the mere stateliness of money and rank."

Lady Catherine is "a tall, large woman, with strongly-marked features," and her manner of receiving her visitors is one which does not fail to remind them of their inferior rank. Miss de Bourgh is extremely thin and small. Mrs. Jenkinson, who lives with them, has an unremarkable appearance and spends most of her time fussing over Miss de Bourgh.

At dinner nothing much is said other than continuous compliments about the food from Mr. Collins, which are echoed by Sir William. After dinner Lady Catherine speaks about her opinion on every subject which comes to mind and offers advice to Charlotte about even the smallest details of household management. She then barrages Elizabeth with impertinent questions about her and her family. Elizabeth answers with composure but without fear of giving her own opinion. For the rest of the evening they play cards.

Volume II, Chapters 5-6 Analysis:

Through her descriptions of the interactions at the dinner and particularly through the dialogue between Elizabeth and Lady Catherine, Austen paints a vivid portrait of Lady Catherine as an extremely arrogant, egotistical and dictatorial woman. For the entire evening, Lady Catherine does nothing but remind her guests of their inferior rank. And it seems that the only conversation which she tolerates from others is praise of herself or agreement with her opinions. During the dinner she is quite pleased with the exaggerated and continuous praise of Mr. Collins and Sir William. After dinner she speaks about her "opinion on every subject in so decisive a manner as proved that she was not used to have her judgment controverted." Her means of giving advice is nothing short of despotic, and her impertinent questioning of Elizabeth reveals an utter lack of respect for the Bennet family.

In the course of the conversation between Lady Catherine and Elizabeth, the reader also learns more about the neglectfulness of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in fulfilling their duties as parents. Although Lady Catherine is quite rude in her manner of criticism, it is true that Mrs. Bennet took no care to see that her daughters received a good education. She would probably have been unable to supervise her daughters' education considering that she herself is lacking in it, yet she did not even place enough value on her daughters' education to hire a governess for them. While Mr. Bennet is hardly a foolish man and sees the value of education, he also did nothing to help in the education of his daughters. While this lack of support from their parents seems to have been overcome by the diligence and self-motivation of Jane and Elizabeth, it seems doubtful that the younger three sisters will fare as well.

Volume II, Chapter 7 Summary:

Sir William Lucas stays only for a week at Hunsford, but Elizabeth stays for quite some time longer. She passes the time pleasantly, conversing with Charlotte and taking long walks through the gardens. They all dine regularly at Rosings about twice a week, and all dinners follow the model of the first.

After having stayed a fortnight at Hunsford Elizabeth hears that Mr. Darcy is planning to visit Rosings. She looks forward to his coming because he will provide a new face at the dinner parties and because she wants to see how he acts with Miss de Bourgh, whom he is expected to marry. When Mr. Darcy arrives with his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam, the two gentlemen immediately call at Hunsford. Elizabeth asks Darcy whether or not he has seen Jane in the past few months, in order to see if he betrays any knowledge about what happened between Jane and the Bingleys. He looks a bit confused but simply answers that he has not seen her.

Volume II, Chapter 8 Summary:

It is about a week before Elizabeth and Mr. and Mrs. Collins are invited again to Rosings, since Lady Catherine is no longer in need of company. During the evening Colonel Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth have a very enjoyable conversation. Lady Catherine seems annoyed that she is not a part of the conversation, and interrupts them in order to join in. Mr. Darcy looks a bit ashamed at his aunt's impertinence and ill-breeding in treating Elizabeth as an inferior.

At Colonel Fitzwilliam's request, Elizabeth begins to play the piano. As she playing Darcy walks away from Lady Catherine in order to go up to the piano and watch her. They have a very lively conversation, teasing each other playfully about their characters. Soon Lady Catherine interrupts demanding to know what they are talking of, and Elizabeth immediately resumes playing. Lady Catherine offers generous criticisms and advice about Elizabeth's playing. Elizabeth tries to observe how Mr. Darcy reacts to Miss de Bourgh, and she finds in him no sign of affection for her.

Volume II, Chapter 9 Summary:

The next morning, when only Elizabeth is at home, Mr. Darcy comes to visit alone. He had thought that the other ladies were also at home. They converse for a while about several subjects, including his quick departure from Netherfield last November, and Charlotte's marriage to Mr. Collins. When Elizabeth tells Darcy that, contrary to his opinions, Charlotte is not exactly close to her family since they lack the income to travel frequently, he tells Elizabeth emphatically that she must not have such strong local attachments. Elizabeth is surprised and he quickly cools his tone of voice and changes the subject to a general conversation about the countryside. Charlotte and Marie return from their walk Mr. Darcy stays for a few minutes and then leaves. Charlotte tells Elizabeth that Mr. Darcy must be in love with her, but Elizabeth convinces her that such is not the case.

Colonel Fitzwalliams calls on the ladies frequently because he enjoys their company. Elizabeth can tell that he admires her. He reminds her of Wickham. Neither Elizabeth nor Charlotte are able to figure out why Mr. Darcy calls on them so often. Charlotte keeps suggesting that Mr. Darcy must be partial to her, but Elizabeth simply laughs at the idea.

Volume II, Chapter 10 Summary:

Elizabeth often unexpectedly meets Mr. Darcy during her walks in the Park, in spite of the fact that she has told him where she usually walks in hopes of deterring him from taking the same path. When they meet he not only stops to say hello but also walks all the way back to the house with her. During one conversation he asks questions which seem to imply that in the future when she comes to Kent she will be staying at Rosings. Elizabeth thinks that he may be alluding to the prospect of her marriage to Colonel Fitzwilliam.

On another walk Elizabeth runs into Colonel Fitzwilliam. He speaks to her about the fact that because he is a younger son he cannot ignore financial concerns in his choice of whom to marry. Elizabeth thinks that this statement may be made for her sake. They also speak of Miss Darcy, and then of Bingley. Colonel Fitzwilliam tells Elizabeth that Darcy recently saved a good friendprobably Bingleyfrom an imprudent marriage.

When she is alone and reflecting on the conversation, Elizabeth is sure that it was due to Darcy's influence that Bingley did not propose to Jane. Her reflections distress her so much that she begins to have a headache, and her headache combined with her desire to avoid seeing Mr. Darcy lead her to stay at home even though they have been invited to Rosings that evening.

Volume II, Chapters 7-10 Analysis:

In these chapters Austen masterfully employs dramatic irony, making it increasingly clear to the reader that Darcy is falling in love with Elizabeth, in spite of the fact that all narration takes place from Elizabeth's point of view and that Elizabeth has no suspicions whatsoever‹on the contrary!‹that Darcy is in love with her. While the signs of Darcy's regard for her are obvious, Elizabeth's prejudice completely blind her from seeing it. She is puzzled by his frequent visits to the Parsonage, but only laughs at Charlotte's suggestions that he must be visiting because he admires her, since it doesn't seem that he particularly enjoys socializing. When they are conversing alone together at the Parsonage and he seems to become very intense in suggesting that Elizabeth should not consider the distance between Kent and Hertferdshire too far, she has no inkling whatsoever that he might be thinking of how she would react to the need to move to Kent after her marriage. She is equally mystified by the fact that even though she has told Darcy where her usually walking path is, she still often meets him there. The obvious conclusion that he is meeting her on purpose of course never crosses her mind. Even after the conversation in which Mr. Darcy alludes to the idea of her staying at Rosings the next time she visits Kent, she does not think that it could have anything to do with a possibility of her becoming his wife. Instead, she explains his comments to herself by assuming that he must be referring to Colonel Fitzwilliam's regard for her.

Colonel Fitzwilliam clearly does admire Elizabeth, and she is fond of him as well. His conversation with her in the Park, however, makes it clear that he cannot marry her because she is not wealthy enough. Colonel Fitzwilliam is the second son, meaning that he will not receive his father's estate as an inheritance. He is too used to living comfortably to marry a woman with a low income, and therefore must be limited in his choices. Through the character of Colonel Fitzwilliam Austen again brings the reader's attention back to the theme of marrying for money versus marrying for love. Everything in Austen's society seems to favor marrying for money or at least social connections, yet her novel is a strong critique of these attitudes. Further, Austen highlights the inequality between men and women in freedom to choose whom they want to marry. Colonel Fitzwilliam complains that his choices are limited by his financial needs. Yet for women in early nineteenth-century England, there was little choice at all. They simply had to hope that a man who is reasonably amiable and attractive with a decent amount of wealth would fall in love with them. For a woman, choosiness meant running the risk of being a poor old maid.






Summary and Analysis of Volume II, Chapters 11-19


Volume II, Chapter 11 Summary:

While Elizabeth is at home alone, the door bell rings and she thinks that it might be Colonel Fitzwilliam. To her surprise, however, it is Mr. Darcy. After he inquires about her health, he paces around the room for a few minutes and then makes a declaration of love for her. While he speaks eloquently about his admiration for her, he also clearly expresses the inferiority of her connections and the family obstacles which prevented him from proposing sooner. Elizabeth turns down his proposal rather harshly, and he is both surprised and resentful.

Elizabeth explains her reasons for turning him down. These reasons are, first, the arrogant manner of his proposal; second, his actions to separate Bingley and Jane; and third, his actions toward Wickham. Darcy replies angrily that her calculation of his faults is indeed heavy, but that she might have overlooked them if he had not been honest about the fact that her family connections had made him try to avoid becoming attached to her. She simply states that his manner of proposal had no influence on her other than to "spare me the concern of refusing you, had you acted in a more gentlemanlike manner." After she finishes speaking he quickly leaves the room.

Elizabeth collapses and cries from weakness as a result of what has passed. She is flattered that he should have proposed to her, but any softness which she feels toward him because of his affection is quickly dissipated as soon as she thinks of his "abominable pride" and all that he has done to Jane and to Wickham.

Volume II, Chapter 11 Analysis:

Darcy's proposal to Elizabeth, for which the reader is so well-prepared but which comes as a complete shock to Elizabeth, is the first major climax of the novel. Hints of Darcy's regard for Elizabeth have become stronger and stronger since the time when Elizabeth stayed at Netherfield Park to nurse Jane, such that the reader has been left in suspense in the preceding chapters, wondering when the fateful moment of the proposal will finally arrive.

The proposal scene itself is a prime example of Austen's abilities to bring her characters to life and reveal their personalities through dialogue. Elizabeth's lively, straightforward, daring character and her disregard for considerations of rank show through clearly in her reaction to Darcy's proposal. Her pride is also evident, for the lack of civility in her refusal is due primarily to injured pride resulting from Darcy's frank explanation of his reservations about proposing to her because of her inferior connections.

Darcy's pride and prejudice are also brought to the fore in this scene. As he is proposing to her, Elizabeth can tell that he has "no doubt of a favorable answer." In spite of the fact that Elizabeth has not shown any partiality or affection toward him at all, he assumes that she will accept his proposal simply because of his great wealth and rank. Further, his strong class prejudices are shown in the way in which he speaks at length about the inferiority of her connections and his desire to avoid proposing to her because of them. Even worse is his insensitivity to her in spelling out these objections in such a tactless manner. Elizabeth's comment to him--"had you acted in a more gentlemanlike manner"--makes him start, and as will be seen later in the novel, has a profound effect on him.

Even though this scene seems to be a decisive ending to the relationship, Austen has set up the situation such that reader cannot quite lose hope that Elizabeth and Darcy will soon marry. Since all of Elizabeth's objections to Darcy's character are only known to the reader through Elizabeth's rather biased commentary, it seems that there may be another side to the story.

Volume II, Chapter 12 Summary:

The next morning Elizabeth decides to go for a walk. Though she avoids her usual walking route, Mr. Darcy finds her and gives her a letter, then quickly leaves. First the letter explains Darcy's reasons for persuading Bingley not to marry Jane. Darcy admits that the impropriety of the Bennet family made him hope that the two would not marry, but that his main reason for preventing Bingley from proposing to Jane was that he did not think that Jane had any particular regard for Bingley. The only part of his conduct which he is uneasy about is that he concealed from Bingley his knowledge that Jane has been in London for the past few months.

In response to Elizabeth's charge that Darcy had injured Mr. Wickham, Darcy relates the whole account of Wickham's relationship with him and his family. Darcy's father was very fond of Wickham and paid to provide him with an excellent education. Before his death Darcy's father asked Darcy to promote Wickham's professional advancement and stipulated that if Wickham should become a clergyman Darcy should provide him with a good family living. Wickham, however, having no desire to become a clergyman, wrote to Darcy after his father's death and asked for money in order to study law. Darcy gave him 3,000 pounds and Wickham resigned his claim to assistance in a church career. However, Wickham quickly gave up on studying law and squandered the money with a dissipate lifestyle. When he needed more money he went to Darcy and told him that he would become a clergyman if Darcy would provide him with the living that had been promised. Darcy refused, and Wickham was furious. A while afterwards, Wickham, with the help of Miss Darcy's governess Miss Younge, managed to deceive Darcy's younger sister into consenting to elope with him when she was fifteen. Darcy happened to go see his sister before the intended elopement and she ended up confessing the whole plan to him. He thus prevented the elopement, the motives for which on Wickham's side were mostly Miss Darcy's fortune and a desire to revenge himself on Mr. Darcy.

Volume II, Chapter 12 Analysis:

This chapter confirms all that Austen has led the reader to suspect about Wickham and Darcy in the course of the novel. The hints of Wickham's insincerity and lack of honor have abounded from his very first conversation with Elizabeth in which he indiscreetly defames Darcy's character in spite of the fact that he claims he wants to keep the matter quiet out of respect for the late Mr. Darcy. Further, he completely disregarded Elizabeth's feelings in showing an obvious preference for her while knowing that he has no chance of marrying her, and then in quickly transferring his affections to Miss King after she acquires an inheritance of 10,000 pounds. Elizabeth, however, blinded by her prejudice regarding Mr. Darcy, never doubts the veracity of Wickham's story. Even though Elizabeth disliked Darcy, considering what she knew about the honorableness of Mr. Darcy's character, she should have suspected that there was more to the story than what Wickham told her.

Elizabeth was correct, however, in her belief that Darcy had played a big role in preventing Bingley from proposing to Jane. However, Elizabeth's partiality for her sister blinded her to the fact that Jane, with her always calm and cheerful disposition, really did nothing to demonstrate her particular affection for Bingley. Elizabeth had assumed that Darcy's actions were only the result of his class consciousness, but never considered that Darcy may have simply wanted to prevent his friend from the pain of rejection.

Volume II, Chapter 13 Summary:

Elizabeth reads the letter "with a strong prejudice against everything he might say." She does not at all believe his claim that he prevented Bingley from proposing to Jane because he thought Jane was not attached to him. After reading Darcy's account of his dealings with Wickham, she does not know how to react and tries to convince herself it must be false. She puts away the letter, resolving not to think about it, but then examines it slowly, line by line. After long deliberation Elizabeth begins to rethink her previous judgment of Wickham. She realizes that his communications to her in their first conversation were indelicate, improper and inconsistent, and that his attentions to Miss King were purely mercenary.

She begins to see that she judged Darcy completely wrongly, and she grows ashamed, concluding that she been "blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd," in spite of the fact that has always prided herself on her judgment. She realizes that vanity has been the cause of her prejudice.

After this realization, she rereads the first part of the letter which deals with his reasons for preventing Bingley's proposal to Jane. She now sees that he had reason to be suspicious of Jane's attachment. Elizabeth also admits that Darcy's criticisms of the impropriety of her mother and younger sisters is just, and is ashamed and depressed.

After wandering through the park or two hours, engrossed in her reflections, she returns to the Parsonage to find that both Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam have stopped by to take leave of them, but have since left. She is glad to have missed them.

Volume II, Chapter 13 Analysis:

The continued hints throughout the novel that Elizabeth's judgment has been clouded by her vanity are now made completely clear. Elizabeth realizes that her complete lack of objectivity in judging Darcy and Wickham is the result of the fact that Darcy injured her pride on her first acquaintance with him and that Wickham flattered her by his preference for her. Austen makes it clear that pride and prejudice are not really two separate problems in the novel, but that they are intimately connected. For it is Elizabeth's pride that leads to her prejudice, a prejudice which is so strong that she has to read the letter many times and reflect at length before accepting that Mr. Darcy is telling the truth.

If it had not been for Elizabeth's prejudicial judgment of Darcy's actions in these situations, would she have accepted Darcy's proposal of marriage? Such a question is difficult to answer, but now that all of her illusions about Darcy's bad character have been dispelled, it does not seem unlikely that she may yet fall in love with him. Austen therefore leaves the reader with the hope that their relationship may be renewed, and also with the hope that somehow Bingley and Jane will meet and fall in love again.

Volume II, Chapter 14 Summary:

Lady Catherine invites Elizabeth, Maria and the Collinses to dinner because she is bored now that her nephews have left. Elizabeth can't help thinking that she might have been attending this dinner as Lady Catherine's future niece, and amusing herself at how indignant Lady Catherine would be. Lady Catherine attempts to persuade Elizabeth and Maria to stay another fortnight, but Elizabeth insists that her father wants her to come home.

She spends much time over the next few days before her return home reflecting on the contents of the letter and on her past conduct. She does not regret her refusal of Darcy's offer, but does regret her own past actions. She is also depressed by the hopelessness of improving the character of her younger sisters, since her father only laughs at them and her mother is equally frivolous. She is also sad to think that Jane could have been so happy had it not been for the indecorum of her family.

Volume II, Chapter 15 Summary:

Elizabeth and Maria leave the Parsonage on Saturday morning, after lengthy parting civilities from Mr. Collins. Before returning to Hertferdshore, they stop at the Gardiner's to spend a few days there. Jane is to return home with them. Elizabeth is tempted to tell her all that she learned from Darcy, but decides to wait because she is not sure how much she should reveal.

Volume II, Chapter 16 Summary:

Upon reaching Hertfordshire they are greeted by Kitty and Lydia, who have prepared lunch for them at the inn where they have arranged to meet the carriage. Elizabeth is happy to hear that regiment will soon be leaving Meryton, although Kitty and Lydia are not equally pleased. Lydia hopes that Mr. Bennet will allow them all to go to Brighton for the summer since the officers will be there. During lunch Lydia tells Jane and Elizabeth that Miss King has left and that Wickham is therefore once again available. Lydia entertains them on the carriage home by relating stories of all the balls and dances they have attended with the officers in Meryton. When they arrive at Longbourn they have dinner with the Lucases, who have come to meet Maria. Lydia urges everyone to take a walk with her to Meryton, but Elizabeth stays home because she wants to avoid seeing Wickham.

Volume II, Chapter 17 Summary:

The next morning Elizabeth tells Jane about Darcy's proposal, and about the part of the letter regarding Wickham. Jane is shocked not as much about the proposal as about Wickham's being so bad, and tries to make excuses for him, but realizes that no excuse can be found. Elizabeth asks Jane whether or not she should let the rest of the town know about Wickham's true character. They decide it would be best to keep the matter quiet, since he is leaving soon and it will be extremely difficult to convince people without telling about his attempts to seduce Miss Darcy. Elizabeth decides that she should not tell Jane about the part of Darcy's letter which relates to her and Bingley.

After observing Jane at leisure, Elizabeth sees that she is not happy and is still very attached to Bingley.

Volume II, Chapter 18 Summary:

Kitty, Lydia and Mrs. Bennet are extremely disappointed because the regiment is leaving Meryton. Lydia receives an invitation from Mrs. Forster, the wife of the Colonel of the regiment, to accompany her to Brighton. Lydia is ecstatic.

Elizabeth entreats her father to prevent Lydia from going, explaining that such an experience will only increase her frivolousness. But her father does not listen and tells Elizabeth that Lydia will be fine in Brighton under the supervision of Colonel Forster and that she is too poor to be taken advantage of by any of the officers in the regiment.

Elizabeth sees Wickham frequently. He attempts to renew his attentions to her, but she represses them and is annoyed by them. On the last day of their stay in Meryton, they have a conversation in which Elizabeth speaks of her stay at the Parsonage and her enjoyment of Darcy's and Colonel Fitzwilliam's company. She leads Wickham to suspect that she knows the truth of his past. He pretends not to notice but stops distinguishing Elizabeth. At the end of the party Lydia returns to Meryton with Mrs. Forster in order to be able to set out with them for Brighton early in the morning.

Volume II, Chapter 19 Summary:

Elizabeth's father had married her mother because he was captivated by her beauty, but her weak understanding soon made him lose all real affection for her. Mr. Bennet derives his enjoyment from books and the country. Elizabeth has always recognized the impropriety of her father's behavior as a husband, and is now especially aware of the disadvantage that such a marriage has had on the children. She faults her father for not having used his talents to at least preserve the respectability of his daughters.


The days at Longbourn are far from enjoyable, with the constant lamentations of boredom form Mrs. Bennet and Kitty. Elizabeth consoles herself by looking forward to her tour of the Lakes with the Gardiners. After a few weeks things become more bearable at home, and Elizabeth hopes that Kitty may be improved by the time away from Lydia.

Elizabeth's vacation with the Gardiners is delayed and shortened on account of Mr. Gardiner's work commitments. In the course of the trip they pass near Pemberley and Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner want to go see it. Elizabeth does not want to go because of fear of seeing Darcy, but she finds out from the maid that the Darcy family is not at home.

Volume II, Chapters 14-19 Analysis:

These chapters serve mostly to call the readers' attention to the extreme frivolousness of Kitty and Lydia, especially Lydia. When they meet Elizabeth and Jane at the inn for lunch, they have to ask Elizabeth and Jane to pay the bill because they have spent all their money on whimsical purchases. On the ride home, Lydia speaks excitedly about her adventures in Meryton, boasting of all their frivolous and improper conduct, which includes dressing up one of the officers as a woman at one of the balls. Kitty, while the elder of the two, lacks Lydia's stubborn impudence but simply follows Lydia's lead in everything. Neither have received a decent education and have no sense of propriety.

Her sensibilities having been sharpened by Darcy's comments about her family in his letter, Elizabeth is extremely concerned about her younger sisters' conduct. Yet there seems that she can do little to remedy the situation, since Lydia refuses to listen to anyone for more than thirty seconds at a time, and Kitty imitates Lydia in everything.

The negligence of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet becomes especially clear in their allowing Lydia to go to Brighton with Mrs. Forster. Mrs. Bennet not only allows Lydia to go, but would actually like to go herself if she could, and is as excited as Lydia that she has been invited to accompany Mrs. Forster. Mrs. Bennet is completely insensible to harmful effects which a summer of flirtation and frivolity could have on her daughter at such an impressionable age. In fact, she sympathizes with Lydia because she had been just like her as a child. Mr. Bennet, on the other hand seems to want nothing more than simply to avoid being bothered by his younger daughters' frivolity. When Elizabeth advises him not to allow Lydia to go to Brighton, he simply comments that sending her to Brighton will be a good thing because "Lydia will never be easy till she has exposed herself in some public place or other, and we can never expect her to do it with so little expense or inconvenience to her family as under the present circumstances." When Elizabeth mentions that Lydia's actions are bound to have harmful effects on the reputation of herself and Jane, he simply makes jokes about it. In the end he concludes that if he were to forbid Lydia to go, "we shall have no peace at Longbourn." Mr. Bennet's negligence is perhaps worse than Mrs. Bennet's, since he recognizes the problems with Lydia's character but is unwilling to do anything to improve it.

The portrait of Lydia's flirtatious and frivolous character combined with the dangers Elizabeth perceives in her going to Brighton forebode serious trouble during Lydia's stay in Brighton.

Elizabeth's last encounters with Wickham demonstrate just how much her perception of him is changed now that she is free of the influence of vanity. "She had even learned to detect, in the very gentleness which had first delighted her, an affectation and a sameness to disgust and weary." Without the blinding effects of vanity she is able to see through his illusions of nobility.





Summary and Analysis of Volume III, Chapters 1-10


Volume III, Chapter 1 Summary:

Elizabeth is captivated by the beauty of Pemberley, and feels that it would not be bad to be the mistress of such a house. She almost has a feeling of regret. The housekeeper gives them a tour of the house and talks to them about Mr. Darcy and Miss Darcy. She describes Mr. Darcy as exceptionally sweet-tempered, generous and good-natured, remarking that she has "never heard a cross word from him." Elizabeth is surprised, having retained her assumption that Darcy is ill-tempered. Elizabeth is also impressed with Darcy's excellent treatment of his younger sister. After hearing so much praise of Darcy from his housekeeper, Elizabeth thinks of his regard for her with more warmth than ever.

As they go out to see the gardens, Mr. Darcy unexpectedly comes forward from the road. Both he and Elizabeth are ill at ease, but she is impressed at the genteel civility in his inquiries. After exchanging a few civilities he takes leave. Elizabeth is mortified and wonders what he might think of her for having come to visit the house.

Elizabeth is extremely distracted but attempts to be sociable and make conversation with her aunt and uncle as they walk through the garden. After a long while she is surprised to see Mr. Darcy coming toward them. They are both better prepared for this encounter. Mr. Darcy asks Elizabeth to introduce him to the Gardiners. In spite of the fact that they are a much lower class than he, he enters into conversation with them and even tells Mr. Gardiner that he is welcome to come to Pemberley and fish as long as he is in the area.

Elizabeth and Darcy begin walking together, and she informs him that she thought he would not be at home. He explains his reason for returning early and then asks her if he can introduce his sister to her when she arrives the next day. Elizabeth is surprised at this offer but accepts. When they reach the house they have an awkward conversation while waiting for the Gardiners to catch up with them, and then he sees them off with great politeness.

The Gardiners are very pleased and surprised at Darcy's civility, having heard from so many people, including Elizabeth, that he is so disagreeable, and still believing Wickham's story. Elizabeth tells them in a very guarded way that there is reason to believe that Darcy is not at fault in his dealings with Wickham.

Volume III, Chapter 1 Analysis:

Austen again presents her readers with strong dramatic irony by making Elizabeth's feelings for Darcy plain to the reader but incomprehensible to herself. It is clear that reflection on the contents of Darcy's letter have made Elizabeth change her feelings toward him considerably. When she visits Pemberley, she cannot help thinking of what it would be like to be the mistress of such a beautiful house. She tells herself that she does not regret her refusal of Darcy's proposal, but the more she sees of the house and the more she learns about his amiable and generous character from his housekeeper, the less firm her resolve against him becomes.

When Darcy runs into Elizabeth in the garden, she is surprised by his civility, and especially by his kind inquiries about her family. These inquiries are particularly noteworthy considering the harsh criticism which he made of her family during his proposal and in his letter. Further, when Darcy meets Elizabeth and the Gardiners later in their walk, Elizabeth is surprisingly pleased at how kind he is to Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, especially considering that these are precisely some of the relations which he had previously thought to be a reason for shame. Elizabeth is surprised that Darcy wants her to make his sister's acquaintance, but realizes what a compliment this is to her. She is flattered and gratified by her treatment of her and of her aunt and uncle, and her feelings are clearly warming up to him.

Darcy, for his part, seems to have changed considerably since the day he proposed to Elizabeth. His cool reserve, haughtiness of manner, and extreme consciousness of class differences seem completely gone. Elizabeth is puzzled at this change, and cannot think what the reason for it might be. Could her approbation of his rudeness when proposing to her have made such a huge impact? There seems to be no other possible explanation. Darcy's regard for Elizabeth seems to be in no way diminished.

Volume III, Chapter 2 Summary:

Mr. Darcy brings his sister to visit Elizzbeth at the inn the very morning of her arrival. Elizabeth is caught by surprise, not thinking that they will come until the next day. She is extremely nervous because she wants Georgiana to form a good opinion of her. The Gardiners begin to suspect that Darcy has a partiality for Elizabeth, seeing no other explanation for such attentions. Elizabeth is relieved to see that Miss Darcy is as nervous as she is. Miss Darcy is shy, attractive and graceful, with unassuming and gentle manners. Soon Mr. Bingley comes to visit as well. All of Elizabeth's anger at him disappears upon seeing him. The Gardiners, through their observations and conversation, become completely convinced that Darcy is in love with Elizabeth.

Elizabeth observes the conduct of Bingley and Georgiana toward one another, and is happy to find no sign of particular regard on the part of either. When Bingley has a moment to speak to Elizabeth without the others' hearing, he inquires about Jane and seems to regret that it has been so long since he has seen her.

Elizabeth is amazed at Darcy's civility toward the Gardiners, relations which he had previously spoken of with disdain, and she cannot imagine the reason for his change in manners. Before the visitors leave Darcy invites Elizabeth and the Gardiners to dinner at Pemberley, and they accept.

The Gardiners, seeing that Darcy is in love with Elizabeth, reevaluate their former negative opinion of him, which had been based on the accounts of their friends in Hertfordshire. They are satisfied that he is a much better man they had previously thought, and also find that Wickham is not held in such good esteem in the area.

Elizabeth stays awake trying to discern her feelings for Darcy. She realizes that she is grateful to him for having loved her and loving her still even after the rudeness of her rejection. She is extremely impressed by his change of character, and esteems him highly, but is still not sure whether or not she loves him.

Mrs. Gardiner decides that she and Elizabeth should wait on Miss Darcy the following morning in return for her great politeness in coming to see them immediately after her arrival.

Volume III, Chapter 2 Analysis:

Elizabeth's regard for Darcy seems to be increasing daily, though she is not quite aware of it. Her extreme nervousness and desire to make a good impression when Miss Darcy comes to visit belies the fact that she now wants to impress and please Mr. Darcy. He is continuously on her mind, so much so that she is kept awake at night trying to figure out her feelings for him.

Austen's portrayal of the interactions between Elizabeth and Darcy in these chapters foreshadows a second proposal.

Austen also gives the reader hope for renewed affections between Jane and Bingley. Upon observation, Elizabeth finds that Bingley and Miss Darcy clearly have no partiality toward one another. Moreover, Bingley's conversations with Elizabeth offer ample hints that he is still in love with Jane and would very much like to see her again.

Volume III, Chapter 3 Summary:

During their visit to Pemberley Miss Darcy receives them with civility, although she is very shy. Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley say very little, and the conversation is carried on mostly by Mrs. Annesley (an acquaintance), Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth. Elizabeth both hopes and fears that Mr. Darcy will join them.

After a while Mr. Darcy does join them, and his actions are closely scrutinized by Miss Bingley and Miss Hurst. When Miss Bingley notices that Mr. Darcy is trying to get Elizabeth and Georgiana to converse, she asks Elizabeth a question about the militia. Elizabeth answers with composure, and notices that both Mr. Darcy and Georgiana are pained by the allusion to Wickham.

After Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner take their leave, Miss Bingley speaks negatively about Elizabeth to Georgiana, but Georgiana's opinion is fixed firmly in Elizabeth's favor by her brother's commendations. Miss Bingley also repeats her criticisms of Elizabeth to Darcy, and after much provocation he coolly answers that he considers Elizabeth one of the most handsome women he has ever met, and then walks away.

Volume III, Chapter 3 Analysis:

Austen again brings the theme of class barriers to the fore in this chapter, demonstrating how the status accorded on the basis of class may have little or no connection to a person's virtue or merit. Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley are extremely class-conscious and look down upon Elizabeth and the Gardiners for their lower social status. Yet the very pettiness and lack of civility which Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley show are proof that they lack any genuine good breeding or nobility of character. Throughout the novel, Elizabeth has shown little concern for the merely superficial aspects of class barriers, and bases her judgments on what she believes to be the quality of a person's character.

While Mr. Darcy used to have an attitude about class similar to that of Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley, it seems that his relationship with Elizabeth has effected a substantial change in him. While he still respects status distinctions and rules of propriety, he is now able to look beyond class prejudices and to judge people according to their moral worth rather than their social class.

Volume III, Chapter 4 Summary:

Elizabeth receives two letters from her sister relating that Lydia has eloped with Wickham. At first they expected that the two were planning to go to Scotland to get married (because minors can marry without parental permission in Scotland). However, after gaining further intelligence they find that there is reason to doubt that Wickham has any intention of marrying her at all. Jane asks Elizabeth and the Gardiners to return home as soon as possible, and requests that Mr. Gardiner help her father search for Lydia and Wickham in London.

Elizabeth rushes to the door to go out to find Mr. Gardiner, but as she does so Mr. Darcy appears. She tells him with great agitation that she must go immediately in search of Mr. Gardiner, but he recommends that a servant be sent. That being done, Elizabeth collapses into a chair and when she is able to she explains the situation to Darcy. He is extremely distressed, thinking that if he had revealed more of what he knew about Wickham's character this could have been prevented. Elizabeth, observing Darcy, believes that such an action on her sister's part will make a renewal of Darcy's proposal impossible. Feeling this loss, she realizes that she loves him.

After a few minutes Darcy realizes that he is doing no good by his presence and takes his leave, promising to maintain secrecy on the matter and wishing that he could do more to help. Elizabeth watches him go with regret, doubting that they will ever meet again on such friendly terms.

Elizabeth has no doubts that Wickham does not plan to marry Lydia. She knows that Lydia would not have gone off with him if she were not under the pretense that they were going to be married, but Elizabeth also realizes that Lydia is easy prey for Wickham's deceptions.

The Gardiners quickly return and Elizabeth relates the sad news to them. Mr. Gardiner promises to do all he can to help, and they quickly prepare for their journey.

Volume III, Chapter 4 Analysis:

In early nineteenth-century England, a young lady's elopement is cause for great scandal to the entire family. The shock and dismay of Elizabeth and the entire family are quite understandable. Yet this event has been well prepared for in the novel by the descriptions of Lydia's flirtatious and frivolous character, and by knowledge of the dangers of Lydia's going to Brighton, which Elizabeth pointed out to her father. Upon hearing the news, Elizabeth is mortified not only for her sister's sake but also for her own sake, thinking that such an occurrence will make a renewal of Darcy's proposal impossible. It is ironic that only when she thinks all hope is lost of being married to him does she realize that she really does love him.

Mr. Darcy's reaction to the news, however, gives reason to believe that all hope is not gone for Elizabeth. His main concern is to comfort her and to express his desire of doing something to help the situation. Considering his previous connections to Wickham, there is reason to believe that he may have the ability to fulfill those desires.

Volume III, Chapter 5 Summary:

On the way back to Longbourn, Mr. Gardiner attempts to convince Elizabeth that Wickham must have a genuine intention of marrying Lydia, but Elizabeth, knowing what she does of Wickham, is not convinced. Elizabeth reproaches herself for not having revealed what she knew of Wickham's true character.

They arrive at Longbourn the next day and Jane is very happy to see Elizabeth. So far there is no new news about Lydia's whereabouts. Mrs. Bennet has taken things badly and will not leave her apartment. When they go to see her, she tells them that she blames the Forsters for neglect, not thinking that Lydia is the type of girl to do such a thing. She is alarmed that when Mr. Bennet finds them he will fight with Wickham and be killed. Mr. Gardiner tries to reassure her, and promises to do what he can to help Mr. Bennet in London. Kitty and Mary do not seem extremely upset over the situation.

When Elizabeth and Jane are alone they discuss what has happened in more detail. Jane shows Elizabeth the note which Lydia left for Mrs. Forster. Lydia's letter shows extreme thoughtlessness and frivolity, but also proves that she had every intention to marry Wickham.

Volume III, Chapter 5 Analysis:

While Mr. Gardiner entertains hopes that Wickham may be planning to marry Lydia, he does not know Wickham's true character. Elizabeth, realizing that Wickham has no reason to marry Lydia because the connection is not at all financially advantageous, is not so optimistic.

Mrs. Bennet's reaction is consistent with her character and reinforces her portrayal as a completely incompetent parent. Rather than trying to be of use and to strengthen her family on such a difficult occasion, she refuses to leave her apartment and worries herself with fanciful conjectures about a duel between Wickham and Mr. Bennet. She is irresponsible, and rather than helping her family is only more of a burden, leaving Jane to take care of everything.

Volume III, Chapter 6 Summary:

The next morning Mr. Gardiner sets off for London. Mrs. Gardiner plans to remain for a few more days at Longbourn in order to help Elizabeth and Jane.

All in Meryton quickly changed their opinion of Wickham from "an angel of light" to "the wickedest young man in the world," now finding fault with so many of his actions.

A letter from Mr. Gardiner arrives in a couple of days, explaining that they plan to inquire at every major hotel about Lydia and Wickham. Mr. Gardiner also plans to ask Mr. Forster if anyone in the militia has any idea of where he would be staying in London.

They receive a letter from Mr. Collins, offering condolences and also criticizing the lack of parental attention to Lydia. He also alludes to the fact that he is now glad Elizabeth turned down his proposal, since being married to her would connect him with this disgrace.

Another letter arrives from Mr. Gardiner saying that Mr. Forster has had no luck in finding any possible close friends or relations with whom Wickham and Lydia might be staying. He also mentions that Wickham has extra reasons for secrecy because of over 1,000 dollars in gaming debts, along with other debts to the town merchants.

Mr. Bennet decides to come home and leave the rest of the searching to Mr. Gardiner. At the same time, Mrs. Gardiner returns home to London with her children.

Elizabeth's misery at the situation is greatly increased by the knowledge that it probably ruins her chances of marriage to Darcy.

When Elizabeth speaks to her father, he tells her that he thinks himself completely to blame.

Volume III, Chapter 6 Analysis:

Mr. Bennet has been shocked out of his indolence by Lydia's elopement, and realizes only too late that he has been neglecting his duties as a father and that he is partially responsible for what has happened. He tries to make up for previous negligence by doing what he can to remedy the situation as much as possible and ensure that Wickham marries Lydia. Still, even now it is Mr. Gardiner who takes over the father's role in the Bennet family, continuing the search for Lydia while Mr. Bennet returns home.

Austen also provides a bit of humorous social commentary, remarking on how quickly the townspeople change their opinion of Wickham. Having previously considered him to be an "angel of light," they instantly reverse their opinion of him and think him to be the worst man in the world. Further, they all claim that from the beginning they were actually a bit suspicious of his character. Austen definitely does not have a high regard for the veracity or soundness of public opinion.

Volume III, Chapter 7 Summary:

Mr. Bennet receives an express letter from Mr. Gardiner, stating that he has found Wickham and that Wickham will agree to marry Lydia on condition that she receives her equal share of Mr. Bennet's wealth after his death along with 100 pounds per year. Mr. Gardiner assumes that Wickham's debts are not so bad as everyone had thought.

Mr. Bennet comments that Mr. Gardiner must have paid Wickham a large sum of money to make him comply, since what Wickham is asking is extremely little.

When Elizabeth and Jane relate the news to Mrs. Bennet, Kitty and Lydia, Mrs. Bennet is ecstatic. She begins to think about ordering the wedding clothes.

Volume III, Chapter 7 Analysis:

Mr. Bennet's assumption that Mr. Gardiner must have paid Wickham a large sum of money to get him to agree to marry Lydia makes perfect sense, considering the situation. Wickham probably has at least 2,000 pounds worth of debts, and seems prone to have particularly mercenary motivations in his relationships, as his sudden "affection" for Miss King shows. Yet while Mr. Bennet assumes that Mr. Gardiner himself must have given Wickham enough money to make marrying Lydia seem worth his while, the reader has reason to believe that someone else who has a great deal more money than Mr. Gardiner might be responsible‹that is, Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy's intervention is especially probable considering his sense of responsibility for having failed to reveal Wickham's true character and his attachment to Elizabeth.

Volume III, Chapter 8 Summary:

Mr. Bennet wants to find out how much Mr. Gardiner paid to get Wickham to agree to the marriage and to pay him back as much as possible.

After listening throughout dinner to Mrs. Bennet's talk of wedding plans and suitable houses in the neighborhood for Lydia and Wickham, Mr. Bennet informs her that he will not receive the couple at Longbourn, nor give Lydia money for wedding clothes. Mrs. Bennet is more disgraced by her daughter's lack of new clothes for the wedding than by her elopement.

Elizabeth reflects on the fact that with Wickham as a member of the family, there is no possibility that Darcy will propose to her again. His proposal of four months ago would now be most gratefully received. She realizes that Darcy is the man who would most suit her, and that their personalities would complement each other for their mutual advantage.

Another letter arrives from Mr. Gardiner. He reports that Wickham is planning to quit the militia and that has a promise of an ensigncy in a regiment quartered in the North. The letter also mentions Wickham will pay off all his debts both in Brighton and Meryton.

After entreaties from Elizabeth and Jane, Mr. Bennet decides to allow Lydia and Wickham to visit Longbourn before leaving for the North.

Volume III, Chapter 9 Summary:

When the couple arrives, they show no sense of shame whatsoever and Lydia shamelessly expects congratulations from all her sisters. Jane and Elizabeth are extremely distressed at Lydia's conduct.

Upon observance, Elizabeth finds that Wickham's affection for Lydia is not nearly so strong as her affection for him. Lydia relates to Elizabeth all the details of the wedding. She is completely ungrateful for what the Gardiners have done, and even complains that they would not let her go out while she was staying with them. Lydia mentions in passing that Mr. Darcy attended the wedding, but then says that she was not supposed to tell anyone. Elizabeth writes to Mrs. Gardiner asking for more details about why Mr. Darcy was at the wedding.

Volume III, Chapters 8-9 Analysis:

Mrs. Bennet's happiness about her daughter's marriage demonstrates her complete lack of sense and disregard for honor and virtue. She completely forgets the scandalous way her daughter has acted and begins to occupy herself by planning what material to buy for Lydia's wedding clothes. When Mr. Bennet tells her that he will not give any money for Lydia's wedding clothes, she is more embarrassed that Lydia will have new clothes at the wedding than at her daughter's immoral conduct. When Lydia visits Longbourn, her mother congratulates and pampers her, and does not offer even one word of remonstrance. Under the guidance of such a mother, it is no wonder that Lydia lacks any sense of morality or propriety.

Volume III, Chapter 10 Summary:

Mrs. Gardiner's letter arrives, explaining all the particulars with regard to Mr. Darcy's involvement in the wedding. Mr. Darcy was the one who found out Wickham's whereabouts by bribing Miss Younge (the woman who had helped Wickham to seduce Georgiana) to tell him. When Darcy found the couple, he tried to convince Lydia to leave, but she refused. That being the case, Darcy tried to get Wickham to marry Lydia, which Wickham had no intention of doing. Darcy offered Wickham money in order to persuade him to marry Lydia. Darcy then waited until Mr. Bennet had left for Longbourn and went to inform Mr. Gardiner of all that had occurred, explaining that he felt guilty for not having exposed Wickham's character sooner.

Mrs. Gardiner concludes the letter stating that she is sure Darcy's actions are motivated by his love for Elizabeth, and relates to Elizabeth how much she thinks that he would be a good match.

In reflecting on the letter, Elizabeth is sensible of all the mortification and suffering which Darcy must have gone through in the process of getting Wickham to marry Lydia. She does not think, however, that his regard for her could possibly be the primary motive, and she still does not think that there is any hope that he will marry her.

Elizabeth's reflections are interrupted by Wickham. They have a guarded conversation in which she makes it clear that she knows more about Wickham's true past than he would like, but she avoids provoking him for Lydia's sake.

Volume III, Chapter 10 Analysis:

Lydia's comment in chapter 9 that Darcy attended the wedding seems to allow for no explanation other than Darcy's involvement in getting Wickham to marry her. When Mrs. Gardiner's letter arrives detailing all of Darcy's actions, all that the reader has been lead to suspect is confirmed.

Austen's novels develop an implicit theory of moral virtue, in which the virtues consist of what is necessary to live well within a community. The community, through word and example, inculcates those virtues in its members. A serious breach of virtue on the part of one person is an injury not only to that person's character, but to the character of all his/her close relations, since those relations have an obligation form and educate their children in such a way that they will be virtuous. In Lydia's case, her lack of virtue seems in large part the result of her mother's foolishness and her father's indolence.

Elizabeth, while happy that Lydia and Wickham will be married and further scandal prevented, is now sure that Darcy will never marry her and suffer through being Wickham's brother-in-law. Now that she feels Darcy would never marry her, she sees how perfect they would be for each other and would readily say yes to his previous proposal. Yet unfortunately, it is too late‹or at least Elizabeth thinks so. Elizabeth does not believe that Darcy's assistance to Lydia was motivated by his regard for her, but this does seem to be a very likely motivation.





Summary and Analysis of Volume III, Chapters 11-18


Volume III, Chapter 11 Summary:

Lydia and Wickham leave for Newcastle, where his new regiment is stationed. Lydia's good-byes are not very affectionate. Mrs. Bennet is sad that she will not be able to see her daughter for a long time.

Mrs. Bennet hears from Mrs. Phillips that Mr. Bingley is planning to return to Netherfield in a few days. Jane tells Elizabeth that she does not want to see much of him. Elizabeth, however, after having seen him while on vacation with the Gardiners, is sure that he is still partial to Jane, and thinks that perhaps Mr. Darcy may have told Bingley that he now approves of the match.

Mrs. Bennet plans to invite Bingley to dinner. Jane is obviously disturbed by his coming and is pained by the constant mention of his name.

Mr. Bingley and Darcy come to pay a visit at Netherfield. Elizabeth begins to hope that Darcy's affections for her are not shaken. When they come in, Elizabeth is pained by Mrs. Bennet's cold reception of Darcy in comparison with Mr. Bingley, considering how much she owes to Darcy. Elizabeth is also mortified by her mother's jubilant announcement of Lydia and Wickham's marriage. Darcy speaks little during the visit. When the gentlemen are leaving Mrs. Bennet invites them for dinner.

Volume III, Chapter 12 Summary:

During the dinner party, Bingley sits next to Jane and Elizabeth is convinced that he still admires her. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are sitting too far apart to be able to speak, and circumstances prevent them from conversing after dinner. Elizabeth is anxious and annoyed because she wants to speak with him very badly. Mrs. Bennet is extremely pleased with the dinner and is sure that Bingley and Jane will soon be married. Mr. Darcy is going back to London but will return in 10 days.

Volume III, Chapter 13 Summary:

After a few days Mr. Bingley calls again, and the day after he joins them again for dinner. Mrs. Bennet contrives to get Jane and Bingley alone together, but is unsuccessful. The next morning Mr. Bingley joins Mr. Bennet to go hunting, and he then stays for dinner. Mrs. Bennet is this time successful in arranging for Jane and Bingley to be left alone together. When Elizabeth walks into the drawing room she finds them there alone in earnest conversation. Bingley quickly leaves and Jane tells Elizabeth that she is the happiest woman in the world. Jane then goes to tell her mother, and Bingley, who had gone to speak with Mr. Bennet, returns and receives Elizabeth's congratulations. All are very happy. Bingley now comes to visit Netherfield every day.

Volume III, Chapters 11-13 Analysis:

The events of these few chapters should be of no surprise to the reader, as Austen has provided ample hints to foreshadow their occurrence. The events pass by quickly, and the plot now accelerates to the end, falling naturally from the climax to the conclusion as if by the force of gravity. From the accounts of Bingley when Elizabeth sees him in Derbyshire and from Darcy's letter, the reader is aware that Bingley's affections for Jane have not subsided and that the only reason he did not propose was that Darcy had advised him not to because he believed Jane was indifferent to Bingley. Yet now that Darcy is in love with Elizabeth and knows from Elizabeth that Jane is in love with Bingley, it seems likely that he will now offer Bingley the opposite advice. Bingley's return to Netherfield is obviously for the purpose of seeing Jane again, ascertaining whether or not she still loves him, and proposing if it seems that she does. The obstacles to Bingley and Jane's marriage were merely external ones, and once those obstacles were removed, their union was inevitable.

Darcy's accompanying Bingley to Netherfield likewise seems to have no other object but a chance to renew his offer of marriage to Elizabeth. The obstacles in their relationship are not so easy to overcome, because they are the internal obstacles of pride and prejudice. At this point, however, those obstacles have been mostly overcome. Elizabeth's prejudice has been slowly removed by her reflection on Darcy's letter, and Darcy's treatment of Elizabeth and the Gardiners demonstrates that his pride has been considerably abated as well. All that remains is for the two of them to become aware of each other's changes in attitude and mutual regard for one another.

Volume III, Chapter 14 Summary:

Early the next morning Lady Catherine unexpectedly comes to visit. Lady Catherine is, as usual, domineering and arrogant in her conversation. She tells Elizabeth she would like her company for a walk outside. Lady Catherine tells Elizabeth that she has come because of rumors that Darcy and Elizabeth will soon be married. Elizabeth answers her inquiries curtly and without revealing the fact that Darcy has not proposed to her again. Lady Catherine tries to forbid Elizabeth to marry Mr. Darcy, but Elizabeth is insensible to her entreaties and threats. Lady Catherine is furious and leaves.

Volume III, Chapter 14 Analysis:

Lady Catherine's visit strengthens the readers' suspicions that an engagement between Darcy and Elizabeth is imminent. Ironically, Lady Catherine's attempt to prevent Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage only serves to give hope to Elizabeth of Darcy's continued affection. While Elizabeth is uneasy that Lady Catherine's influence may prevent Darcy's proposal, it is likely that it will only do the opposite by likewise giving him hope of Elizabeth's affection. Lady Catherine thus unwittingly plays the part of facilitating their marriage through her very attempt to prevent it.

Volume III, Chapter 15 Summary:

Her conversation with Lady Catherine throws Elizabeth into a great discomposure of spirits. She is not sure what the cause of Lady Catherine's suspicion is, but she is uneasy about the fact that Lady Catherine will surely try to influence Darcy not to propose.

Mr. Bennet tells Elizabeth that he wants to speak with her and relates to her the contents of a letter from Mr. Collins in which he says that he has heard that Mr. Darcy may propose to Elizabeth and advises Elizabeth not to accept because of Lady Catherine's disapprobation. Mr. Bennet thinks the letter is extremely amusing because he still thinks that Darcy is indifferent to Elizabeth and that Elizabeth hates Darcy.

Volume III, Chapter 15 Analysis:

Mr. Collins' letter and Mr. Bennet's reaction to it is a source of great awkwardness for Elizabeth. She does not want to tell her father about her changed feelings for Mr. Darcy before knowing whether or not he still wants to marry her. The fact that Mr. Bennet and the rest of the family hate Darcy and thinks that Elizabeth hates him as well may make it difficult for them to accept Elizabeth and Darcy's engagement. The letter is, at the same time, a further confirmation for both Elizabeth and the reader that a second proposal from Darcy is imminent.

Volume III, Chapter 16 Summary:

Within a few days Mr. Darcy returns to Netherfield and he and Mr. Bingley come to Longbourn early in the day. Jane, Bingley, Darcy, Elizabeth, and Kitty take a walk. Jane and Bingley lag behind the rest, and eventually Darcy and Elizabeth are left to walk together alone as well. As soon as they are alone Elizabeth expresses to Darcy her gratitude for his assistance in the affair with Wickham and Lydia. Darcy replies that he wishes she had not found out, but adds that what he did was done for Elizabeth's sake. Elizabeth cannot say a word. Darcy tells her that his affections are no different than they were when he proposed, and asks her to tell him if hers are the same as well. Elizabeth informs him that her sentiments have changed and that she will now gladly receive his assurances of continued affection. He is overcome with delight upon hearing this and speaks warmly and fervently about his love. Lady Catherine's attempt to dissuade him from proposing only had the effect of giving him hope by letting him know that Elizabeth was not decided against marrying him.

They speak about the last proposal, both apologizing for their lack of civility. Mr. Darcy had been tortured by Elizabeth's reproof "had you acted in a more gentleman-like manner." This and her other reproofs on that night humbled him and led him to realize his selfishness and conceit. Elizabeth tells Darcy that his letter slowly removed all her former prejudices. When Darcy met Elizabeth at Pemberley, he wanted to show her immediately that he had changed as a result of her just reproofs.

Darcy tells Elizabeth that before leaving for London he had told Bingley that he had been wrong in interfering with Bingley's relationship with Jane and that he was now sure that Jane was really attached to him. This assurance from Darcy gave Bingley the encouragement he needed to make the proposal.

Volume III, Chapter 16 Analysis:

In these last chapters of the novel, all the events that have long been anticipated finally fall into place and Austen ties together the remaining loose strings of the novel.

Darcy's second proposal to Elizabeth and their conversation regarding how much has changed since the first proposal serves to confirm how the obstacles of pride and prejudice have all been removed. Darcy admits to Elizabeth that her reproofs to him in refusing her proposal, particularly her statement, "had you acted in a more gentlemanlike manner," affected him profoundly. With time, he realized that Elizabeth had been right and he began to attempt to change. The source of Darcy's pride, we find, is his upbringing, which taught him to scorn everyone outside of his own circle. He was unable to see his faults himself, but when Elizabeth pointed them out to him, he slowly came to realize that he needed to change. This progression can be seen as an example of Austen's Aristotelian ethics. For Aristotle emphasizes that one of the most important things about friendship is that friends help each other to see and remedy their faults of character.

Further, since Elizabeth's prejudice has been removed by what Darcy revealed to her in his letter and by her new observations of him at Pemberley, observations which were no longer biased by vanity as they had been before. Without these prejudices she sees how complementary their personalities are and how mutually beneficial the marriage would be for each of them. Elizabeth's liveliness of character would counteract his tendency to be overly serious, and his excellent education and superior knowledge of the world would highly beneficial for the improvement of her character as well.

Volume III, Chapter 17 Summary:

At night, when she is finally able to speak with Jane alone, Elizabeth tells her what has happened. Jane is incredulous. But eventually Elizabeth convinces her that she is serious and that she really does love Darcy. Elizabeth explains her reasons for previously concealing her affection, and reveals to Jane what Darcy did for Lydia. Jane is extremely happy for her, and they spend half the night talking.

The next morning Mrs. Bennet is annoyed on seeing that Mr. Darcy has again accompanied Bingley to Longbourn, and suggests that Elizabeth go for a walk with him to keep him out of Jane and Bingley's way. Elizabeth is quite happy to comply. Bingley greets Elizabeth with such warmth that she is sure he knows of her engagement. During their walk Elizabeth and Darcy decide that Darcy will ask Mr. Bennet's consent in the evening and that Elizabeth will speak to her mother.

After Mr. Darcy speaks with Mr. Bennet, Darcy tells Elizabeth that her father wants to speak with her. Mr. Bennet is shocked because he thinks that Elizabeth hates Darcy. After long explanations she assures Mr. Bennet of her affection for him. She also tells him of what Darcy did for Lydia. He is surprised and happy for his daughter.

At night Elizabeth tells her mother of the engagement. Her mother is shocked but extremely happy in thinking of how rich Darcy is. Her former dislike of him is completely forgotten.

The next day her mother acts remarkably well toward Darcy, and her father tries to get to know him better and is pleased with him.

Volume III, Chapter 17 Analysis:

The reactions of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet to the news of Elizabeth's engagement are completely in character. Mr. Bennet wants to be sure that Elizabeth is really marrying for love, knowing that his daughter will be miserable in a marriage if she does not genuinely regard and esteem her husband. He does now want Elizabeth to end up as he did, with a spouse completely unsuited to his personality.

Mrs. Bennet's reaction is of course a happy one. Her desire throughout the novel has been only to get her daughters to be married as quickly as possible. All of her former hatred for Darcy immediately disappears, and she is proud that Elizabeth has managed to capture such an extremely wealthy man. Mrs. Bennet, unlike Mr. Bennet, Elizabeth and Jane, views marriage simply as a means to the acquisition of wealth and material comfort

Volume III, Chapter 18 Summary:

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy converse playfully about how he fell in love with her in the first place and why he took so long to propose the second time. He tells her that his second proposal was all thanks to Lady Catherine, her warning having given him hope of Elizabeth's affection. Elizabeth asks him when he will tell Lady Catherine the news, and he goes off to write to her, while Elizabeth goes to write to Mrs. Gardiner.

Miss Bingley's reactions to Mr. Bingley's engagement to Jane are affectionate and insincere. Miss Darcy's reaction to news of Mr. Darcy's engagement is one of genuine delight.

The Collinses come to stay at Lucas Lodge because Lady Catherine is so angry at the engagement. Darcy deals well with the obsequiousness of Mr. Collins, along with the vulgarity of Mrs. Philips and Mrs. Bennet.

Mrs. Bennet is extremely happy and proud at her daughters' marriages.

Mr. Bennet misses Elizabeth and often goes to visit her at Pemberley.

Bingley and Jane leave Netherfield after a year and move to Derbyshire, because their closeness to Mrs. Bennet and the Meryton relations is too much to bear even for them.

Kitty now spends most of her time with her sisters, and is much improved by their example and society.

Mary stays at home and keeps her mother company on her visits.

Lydia soon writes to Elizabeth to congratulate her and ask her to see if Mr. Darcy will use his money and influence to help Wickham. Elizabeth replies negatively, but does send Lydia money that she saves by economizing in her private expenses.

Miss Bingley drops her resentment of Darcy's marriage because she wants to retain the right of visiting Pemberley.

Georgiana and Elizabeth become very close and very fond of one another.

Relations with Lady Catherine were broken off for a while, but Elizabeth finally convinces Darcy to attempt a reconciliation, and Lady Catherine comes to visit them.

Darcy and Elizabeth are always on intimate terms with the Gardiners, to whom they are grateful for having brought them together.

Volume III, Chapter 18 Analysis:

In the end, Elizabeth and Jane‹the two characters who are unwilling to compromise their principles‹are the ones who end up happiest. Lydia, who gives herself up completely to frivolity and immorality, will have to live with a husband who is deceitful and not really in love with her. Charlotte, who gives in to the temptation of marrying simply for pragmatic financial reasons, will have to bear with the insufferable formality and long-windedness of Mr. Collins for the rest of her life. Ironically, precisely through their refusal to turn marriage into a business transaction, Elizabeth and Jane end up with husbands who are both very wealthy and perfectly suited to their characters.








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