Character Analysis in Pride and Prejudice
Character Analysis Examples in Pride and Prejudice:
"poor nerves.”..." See in text (Chapter I)
Having “poor nerves” in this case suggests that Mrs. Bennet is inclined to have panic attacks; however, she clearly uses her nervousness to control other people. If things do not go her way, she becomes something of a hypochondriac who suffers from more than just anxiety: “‘Ah,” as she says to Mr. Bennet, “‘you do not know what I suffer!’” To her, nervousness is almost a sort of illness. She uses this “illness” to manipulate others because she expects them to do whatever it takes to make her feel better.
"abuse..." See in text (Chapter I)
“Abuse” in this case means speaking against or putting down as opposed to physical abuse. Of course, Mrs. Bennet is being hypocritical; though Mr. Bennet has openly favored Elizabeth over his other daughters, Mrs. Bennet has just done the same thing by favoring Jane and Lydia.
"Mr. Bennet..." See in text (Chapter I)
Mr. Bennet is being prideful but not as obviously as Mrs. Bennet. His refusal to take Mrs. Bennet seriously suggests that he feels he is above (or too good for) his wife’s concerns. When she urges him to visit Mr. Bingley for the sake of his daughters, he tells her that she and the girls should go on their own—which would have been quite scandalous—and jokes that Mr. Bingley would probably prefer Mrs. Bennet.
"his wife..." See in text (Chapter I)
The themes of pride and prejudice have already begun to take shape in Mrs. Bennet’s character by the end of the first chapter. For example, she exhibits prideful behavior when she implies that her daughters are more deserving of Mr. Bingley than other eligible daughters in the neighborhood. She is also being prejudicial because she believes other girls, such as the Lucases, are inferior to her daughters—though she doesn’t have any real reason for thinking this way.
"“Bingley.”..." See in text (Chapter I)
“Bingley” is the name of one of a town in northern England that prospered during the Industrial Revolution.Though we are not told whether Mr. Bingley comes from Bingley the town, his name strongly associates him with the growth of industrial manufacturing. This further supports our identification of the Bingleys with the nouveau riche (newly rich people who made their fortunes from trade) because they probably made their money from manufacturing.
"caprice..." See in text (Chapter I)
“Caprice” means an unpredictable or inconsistent change of mood, behavior, or opinion. Mr. Bennet is capricious because his feelings and thoughts tend to change without apparent reason, sometimes on a whim.
"chaise-and-four..." See in text (Chapter I)
A “chaise-and-four” is a carriage (or chaise) that is drawn by four horses. It was a standard mode of transportation for families that were well-off, though not extraordinarily wealthy. The fact that Mr. Bingley owns a chaise-and-four indicates that he is both financially stable and socially respectable.
"its solace was visiting and news...." See in text (Chapter I)
That is, Mrs. Bennet’s priorities and interests are fairly trivial. Though her instinct to secure sensible marriages for her daughters is well-founded, it does not seem to be based on intelligent reflection. Instead, she just seems self-involved and silly.
"But if we do not venture, somebody else will;..." See in text (Chapter II)
Mr. Bennet departs from his usual indifference and sarcasm. He reveals that he does in fact understand the importance of making Mr. Bingley’s acquaintance first, as well as being the ones who introduce him to others. That way, the Bennets will always be his original (and potentially closest) acquaintances, giving the Bennets an advantage over the Longs. This may be the reason Mr. Bennet was one of the first people to visit Mr. Bingley.
"for she will not know him herself.”..." See in text (Chapter II)
Mrs. Bennet’s quickness (at least when it comes to arranging marriages) poses an interesting implication: it is possible that she is actually capable of intelligence but has not had the opportunity to develop her other mental faculties. In Austen’s time, middle and upper class women were typically confined to their homes and not allowed to work or even pursue much of an education. Mrs. Bennet’s entire life has been centered on child-rearing and managing the house, so it makes sense that she has a strategy for marrying off her daughters.
"she will not know him herself.”..." See in text (Chapter II)
Though Mrs. Bennet tends to be short-tempered, nervous, and perhaps not very intelligent, she appears to be very good at strategizing when it comes to finding husbands for her daughters. Mr. Bennet can amuse himself by drawing out the news that he has visited Mr. Bingley, but she carefully keeps track of the order of events and their possibilities.
"“she times them ill.”..." See in text (Chapter II)
Interestingly, neither Kitty nor Mrs. Bennet acknowledge Mr. Bennet’s sarcasm. Their lack of response does not necessarily mean that they do not know he is teasing them. They likely ignore Mr. Bennet because they do not take him seriously; this invites us to question or even criticize his casual and uninterested response to most situations.
"though to the last always assuring his wife that he should not go;..." See in text (Chapter II)
It is comical that Mr. Bennet was one of the first to wait on Mr. Bingley because his argument with Mrs. Bennet was based on his staunch refusal to make the visit. Mr. Bennet clearly enjoys teasing his wife; he always intended to make the visit, but made a point to assure Mrs. Bennet that he wouldn’t go. He is perhaps a little irritated by her “poor nerves,” since she tends to use them to get her way. He may also find her amusing because it is easy to get a rise out of her.
"I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men...." See in text (Chapter III)
Mr. Darcy snobbishly refuses to dance with any woman who is not of his own party—especially the Bennet girls. Elizabeth seems unworthy for three different reasons: her social status (which is lower than his), her beauty, and her apparent unpopularity. She is not as highly sought-after as her beautiful sister, so Mr. Darcy sees no reason to "give consequence" to her.
"Longbourn..." See in text (Chapter III)
“Longbourn” is the fictional village where the Bennets live. Its name suggests the Bennets’ long lineage; their family has lived in the area for many generations. Austen may also be hinting at the Bingleys’ nouveau riche status: they are newly rich (they don’t come from an old, noble family) and are new to the area. The Bingleys and Bennets are almost complete opposites.
" talked of giving one himself at Netherfield..." See in text (Chapter III)
Mr. Bingley offers to host a private ball, which differs from an assembly because the Bingleys can be selective about invitations. This not only makes the event quite exclusive, but it shows how unusual Mr. Bingley’s behavior is: he is inviting common people to an event they would not normally attend. Mr. Bingley’s conduct suggests that, while he is wealthy, he is not truly of an aristocratic class. Someone like Mr. Darcy, who comes from an ancient noble family, would know better. Still, Mr. Bingley’s apparent unawareness of social differences is one of the qualities people like most about him.
"amiable..." See in text (Chapter III)
“Amiable” seems to mean more than just “pleasant” and “friendly.” For Austen, it encompasses more comprehensive character traits like trustworthiness and good-heartedness. Mr. Bingley’s amiability extends beyond mere actions (which can be artificial): he is truly a gentleman.
"he is a most disagreeable, horrid man,..." See in text (Chapter III)
Mr. Darcy’s character sharply contrasts with Mr. Bingley’s. Instead of having “easy, unaffected manners,” he is arrogant and generally rude. Austen invites us to consider what it means to be a gentleman: is it being a wealthy aristocrat or being genuinely gracious and kind-hearted? Mr. Bingley seems like a real gentleman, while Mr. Darcy only has the appearance of one.
"he is a most disagreeable, horrid man..." See in text (Chapter III)
One of the reasons people dislike Mr. Darcy is because he refuses to be “introduced” to any other lady. This means he doesn’t want to dance with anyone else—he probably thinks he is better than everyone because he is the highest-ranked person in the room. However, there are already too few men available to dance with all of the ladies. This makes Darcy’s rudeness even more offensive.
"their brother felt authorized..." See in text (Chapter IV)
Mr. Bingley apparently depends on his sisters’ approval when he’s making certain major-life decisions. Austen is reversing the power dynamic between men and women: In a patriarchal society like England’s, it does not matter what the Bingley sisters think. In Pride and Prejudice, however, they seem to have a lot of social sway—especially in the marriage market.
"easiness, openness, and ductility of his temper..." See in text (Chapter IV)
Mr. Bingley’s affection for Mr. Darcy gives us a hint that Mr. Darcy isn’t as unpleasant as he seems to be at first. However, Mr. Darcy’s reasons for being friends with Mr. Bingley (according to the narrator) suggest that he likes that Mr. Bingley is easy to influence.
"His sisters were very anxious for his having an estate of his own..." See in text (Chapter IV)
Mr. Bingley’s sisters want him to buy Netherfield and become an established member of the landed gentry. They may be self-conscious about their family’s nouveau riche status; no matter how rich they are, they are technically of a lower class than families like the Bennets who have been part of the landed gentry for centuries. Jane is actually of a higher class than Mr. Bingley, but her family’s general foolishness (her mother’s frequently inappropriate behavior and her father’s refusal to take anything seriously) put any match between them in jeopardy.
"whether he might not spend the remainder of his days at Netherfield..." See in text (Chapter IV)
Mr. Bingley does not seem to care about buying an estate and establishing himself as a member of the landed gentry. Even though the Bingleys are wealthy, they are not technically aristocrats; they would have to purchase an estate like Netherfield and establish themselves in the neighborhood. Mr. Bingley’s nonchalance suggests that social mobility, which enables non-noble families like the Bingleys to acquire wealth and status through trade, is eroding the traditional hierarchy. It does not seem to matter whether or not a family of status is actually noble.
"their brother's fortune and their own had been acquired by trade..." See in text (Chapter IV)
The Bingley sisters seem to forget that their family’s wealth came from manufacturing. They look down on others, especially the Bennets, who are actually of a higher class (even though they are not as wealthy) because they are part of the landed gentry.
"Their manners are not equal to his..." See in text (Chapter IV)
Elizabeth, who has not had much direct interaction with the Bingley sisters, is quick to level judgment against them. Her criticism of their manners during the assembly is a sort of prejudice: she relies on first impressions and appearances to form judgments even though she may not have the entire story.
"With your good sense..." See in text (Chapter IV)
Elizabeth is indirectly pointing out Jane’s “reverse prejudice”: Jane believes the best in everyone without having a good reason for doing so. This is just as dangerous as believing the worst in people without justification. Jane is putting herself at risk; if she is not cautious, she can be taken advantage of.
"No thanks to his gallantry for that...." See in text (Chapter IV)
Elizabeth’s witty comments about Mr. Bingley’s preference for Jane reveal her gift for picking up on the ulterior motives. Elizabeth is often in a prime position to identify these motives because, in addition to being generally clever, she rarely receives the attention that Jane does.
"No thanks to his gallantry for that..." See in text (Chapter IV)
Though Elizabeth thinks that Mr. Bingley asked Jane for a second dance because Jane is (in Elizabeth’s opinion) superior to all other women, she also hints that his preference has everything to do with Jane’s physical beauty. While Jane is busy praising Mr. Bingley for personal attributes like good humor and sensibility, Elizabeth suspects that his supposed gallantry stems from nothing more than physical attraction.
"“He is just what a young man ought to be,”..." See in text (Chapter IV)
Jane focuses on Mr. Bingley’s personal qualities instead of his wealth or good looks. She seems blind to superficial attributes, unlike most people in the novel; however, she also tends to ignore character flaws. Jane is more naive than objective.
"Mrs. Long does not keep a carriage..." See in text (Chapter V)
Mrs. Long can’t afford her own carriage, so she had to hire one for the assembly. (A “hack chaise” is a hired carriage.) Mrs. Bennet mentions this for two reasons. First, she reinforces her negative judgment of Mr. Darcy, whom she implies is so arrogant that he refuses to associate with someone who can’t afford a carriage. Second, she subtly one-ups Mrs. Long; unlike the Longs, the Bennets can afford their own carriage.
"he never speaks much unless among his intimate acquaintance...." See in text (Chapter V)
Jane, who is quick to see the good in everyone, suggests that Mr. Darcy may actually be shy rather than prideful. Though his refusal to socialize outside his group of friends might seem like snobbishness, it could just as well be nervousness. Jane implies that first impressions are not reliable.
"he is such a disagreeable man that it would be quite a misfortune to be liked by him...." See in text (Chapter V)
Mr. Darcy is so wealthy that it is difficult to imagine any woman finding it “a misfortune to be liked by him.” He would be Mrs. Bennet’s ideal son-in-law—even more so than Mr. Bingley, who is only half as wealthy as Mr. Darcy and has no noble blood. Mrs. Bennet’s dislike of Mr. Darcy, while understandable given his rudeness, reveals how prideful she. Since her primary goal is to secure wealthy marriages for her daughters, who will be destitute if they do not marry well, judging Mr. Darcy is a matter of pride.
"civil, self-command..." See in text (Chapter V)
Mrs. Bennet’s civility is as transparently artificial as Sir Lucas’s. She wants Lady Lucas to compliment her, and Lady Lucas quickly falls for it. Mrs. Bennet clearly believes that Jane has won Mr. Bingley’s admiration.
"twenty-seven..." See in text (Chapter V)
A woman’s marriage prospects would have diminished significantly by the age of 27. Charlotte may be having difficulty finding a husband because her father cannot afford a sizable dowry. If she cannot marry, she will be dependent on her father for the rest of her life—which makes her a liability to her family. Mrs. Bennet’s preoccupation with finding husbands for her daughters is therefore well-founded.
"occupy himself solely in being civil to all the world..." See in text (Chapter V)
Austen contrasts Sir Lucas’s artificial civility, which is nothing more than pretending to be genteel, with Mr. Bingley’s “easy, unaffected manners.” While Mr. Bingley is genuine, both men emulate the aristocracy in their own ways: Mr. Bingley is wealthy but not noble, and Sir Lucas is noble but not really wealthy—or at least not wealthy enough to stop working.
"Lucas Lodge..." See in text (Chapter V)
Sir Lucas’s ego is so large that he actually named his house after himself. Lucas Lodge is not an estate, however; it is merely a small house attached to the gates of a larger country house. By naming his house after himself, Lucas further demonstrates how artificial his pretensions are: families like the Bingleys or the Darcys don’t have estates named after themselves.
"unshackled by business..." See in text (Chapter V)
Upper-class families (aristocratic or not) exhibited their wealth in part by living lives of indulgence. Men like Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy are so rich that they don’t have to work. Sir Lucas, however, is not quite as wealthy. He refuses to work because working indicates that he is not as superior as he pretends; in reality, he is yet another character obsessed with class-emulation.
"a disgust to his business and to his residence in a small market-town;..." See in text (Chapter V)
Sir William Lucas’s wealth originated in trade, just as the Bingley family’s did. Once he was knighted, however, Sir Lucas became a member of the aristocracy—he is not merely wealthy, like the Bingleys. He is obsessed with achieving his ideal of what it means to be genteel, and his “occupation” of being civil to everyone is clearly artificial. Instead of remaining in business to continue building his wealth, he has retired to an expensive lifestyle that will very likely deplete his children’s future inheritance.
"her wit flowed long...." See in text (Chapter VI)
Miss Bingley is going on and on about her disapproval of the Bennet family. In addition to being jealous of Elizabeth, she may be insecure about the social status of the Bingley family. As ill-mannered as the Bennets are, they are still members of the landed gentry—and the Bingleys are not.
"all was safe..." See in text (Chapter VI)
Mr. Darcy is probably getting annoyed with Miss Bingley’s excessive criticism of the Bennets, but is too polite and courteous to say anything. Miss Bingley is likely jealous that Elizabeth has won (however unintentionally) Mr. Darcy’s regard.
"You will have a charming mother-in-law..." See in text (Chapter VI)
Miss Bingley insults the Bennet family by highlighting Mrs. Bennet’s frequently inappropriate behavior. She hopes that Mr. Darcy will decide that marriage with Elizabeth is not only beneath him, but also humiliating.
"when am I to wish you joy?..." See in text (Chapter VI)
Miss Bingley somewhat sarcastically rushes to the conclusion that Mr. Darcy plans to marry Elizabeth. In Austen’s time, however, a man expressing interest in a woman was often synonymous with professing an intention to marry her. Miss Bingley has no doubt that Elizabeth would jump at the opportunity to marry a rich aristocrat like Mr. Darcy.
"complacency..." See in text (Chapter VI)
“Complacency” means being tranquilly pleased with someone or something. Mr. Darcy doesn’t seem to care that Elizabeth is intentionally offending him—he still finds her appealing. His “complacency” suggests that he is starting to develop romantic feelings for her.
"I have not the least intention of dancing...." See in text (Chapter VI)
Elizabeth is being very rude. A woman wasn’t supposed to directly reject a gentleman’s offer to dance. Elizabeth should have pretended that she didn’t feel well—a headache, for example, would have been an acceptable excuse not to dance. She implies that she doesn’t want to dance with Mr. Darcy specifically.
"Do you often dance at St. James'?..." See in text (Chapter VI)
Sir William has revealed himself to be unfashionable by asking Mr. Darcy if he has ever danced at St. James’s Court. Men like Mr. Darcy would never dance at St. James’s Court because it was stuffy and boring. If Sir William is truly as aristocratic as he pretends to be, he would not have made this mistake.
"silent indignation..." See in text (Chapter VI)
Mr. Darcy’s “satirical eye” judges the unpolished members of society. His prejudice ultimately isolates him, however, and probably makes him feel even more awkward and uncomfortable. He isn’t allowing himself to have fun and relate to those around him.
"worked hard for knowledge and accomplishments..." See in text (Chapter VI)
Mary seems to have gone above and beyond the acceptable level of feminine accomplishments here: She “worked hard for knowledge” instead of simply learning enough to be charming. While Elizabeth’s playing is purely entertaining, Mary’s is skillful—which her audience doesn’t seem to like. People expected women to provide amusement rather than skill.
"But if he does it any more, I shall certainly let him know that I see what he is about. He has a very satirical eye, and if I do not begin by being impertinent myself, I shall soon grow afraid of him...." See in text (Chapter VI)
Being “satirical” here means having a critical or mocking attitude towards people or situations perceived as foolish or immoral. Mr. Darcy has a “satirical eye” because he is very critical of his social inferiors. Elizabeth thinks she must be equally rude, otherwise he will always have the advantage.
"Vingt-et-un better than Commerce..." See in text (Chapter VI)
Jane and Mr. Bingley prefer Vingt-et-un, which relies more on chance instead of actively trading to get the best hand. Preferring chance over strategy mirrors their approach to romance: neither Jane nor Mr. Bingley actively pursue one another and seem to rely on meeting in groups in order to spend time together.
"When she is secure of him..." See in text (Chapter VI)
Charlotte Lucas does not seem interested in Elizabeth’s romantic ideals. She thinks the risk of becoming a spinster outweighs the need for love and happiness; Jane should therefore “secure” Mr. Bingley’s proposal before she loses all hope of marriage.
"she may lose the opportunity of fixing him..." See in text (Chapter VI)
Jane is in a difficult position. She will be considered unladylike if she openly displays her interest in Mr. Bingley, but she could lose him as a suitor if she doesn’t (subtly) let him know that she cares about him.
"they had, in fact, nothing to do elsewhere...." See in text (Chapter VII)
The Bingley sisters don’t have much to entertain them while the gentlemen are out. They only appear interested in Jane (and, in this case, Elizabeth) when they are bored. They might be lonely and tired of each other’s company, too.
"jumping over stiles and springing over puddles..." See in text (Chapter VII)
Elizabeth is much more active than most young ladies at this time. Middle- and upper-class ladies were supposed to lead sedentary lives indoors; rigorous physical exercise was considered unladylike and only fitting for working-class women. Elizabeth, however, never seems to care about how she is perceived.
"we may see something of Captain Carter..." See in text (Chapter VII)
Lydia has ulterior motives for accompanying Elizabeth: she hopes to see Captain Carter. She and Mrs. Bennet are similar; they are both preoccupied with other projects and don’t seem to understand that Jane’s health could be in danger.
"You will not be fit to be seen..." See in text (Chapter VII)
Mrs. Bennet, who is always concerned about appearances, doesn’t want Elizabeth to show up at Netherfield covered in mud. She is more concerned about the Bingleys’ perception of Elizabeth’s dress than she is about Jane’s health. Mrs. Bennet is completely oblivious, however, to the Bingleys’ frequent disapproval of her own behavior.
"under your orders.”..." See in text (Chapter VII)
Mr. Bennet is teasing his wife, but he also reveals that he is aware that she has intentionally endangered her daughter’s health by sending her to Netherfield on horseback in the rain. He seems amused rather than outraged, though.
"People do not die of little trifling colds...." See in text (Chapter VII)
Once again, Mrs. Bennet is disconnected from reality. Colds could easily turn into serious, potentially fatal illnesses such as pneumonia—as they can today. Though Jane is not in great danger, she is in some danger. Mrs. Bennet doesn’t seem to see this because she is excited that Jane will have to stay at Netherfield even longer.
"your father cannot spare the horses..." See in text (Chapter VII)
Mr. Bennet’s horses are currently pulling carts out in the fields because it is harvest time. The horses’ absence is another subtle indication of the Bennets’ wealth, or lack thereof. They would have a spare set of horses if they were truly well-off.
"you had better go on horseback..." See in text (Chapter VII)
Mrs. Bennet wants Jane to go to Netherfield on horseback because she hopes the rain will prevent her from returning home that evening. It’s likely that Jane will see Mr. Bingley if she has to stay overnight, and Mrs. Bennet wants to hurry their courtship along.
"What does he say..." See in text (Chapter VII)
Mrs. Bennet is once again disconnected from reality. It would be in poor taste for a gentleman to write a lady unless they were engaged. Mr. Bingley, who is well-mannered and respectable, is certainly not writing to Jane. Mrs. Bennet seems oblivious to decorum in her quest to have her daughter marry such a wealthy man.
"uncommonly foolish...." See in text (Chapter VII)
Mr. Bennet enjoys teasing and criticizing his daughters, but never actually attempts to correct their behavior. He seems to recognize that Catherine and Lydia are spending an inappropriate amount of time around the soldiers, but he never insists that they stop. Though he likely doesn’t intend to be a negligent parent, his refusal to be serious inadvertently puts them at risk.
"ensign..." See in text (Chapter VII)
An ensign is the lowest ranking officer. Lydia and Catherine (Kitty) are so obsessed with the officer’s dashing, fashionable uniform that they don’t notice how low-ranking he is. Their constant preoccupation with appearances suggests silliness, frivolousness, and shallowness.
"milliner's shop..." See in text (Chapter VII)
A milliner sells hats, articles of clothing, and other fancy-but-frivolous goods like ribbons and gloves. Lydia and Catherine are portrayed as silly and shallow because they are attracted to showy, useless, impractical bits of clothing.
"attorney at Meryton..." See in text (Chapter VII)
Mrs. Bennet comes from a middle-class family. Mr. Bennet is a member of the landed gentry, so he married beneath himself when he married Mrs. Bennet. The marriage, which would have been looked down upon by upper-class individuals, is an example of Mr. Bennet’s foolishness and refusal to take things seriously.
"Mr. Jones..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
The Bingley sisters want to send for a physician to show off their wealth. The apothecary, Mr. Jones, is cheaper but perfectly qualified to care for someone with a cold. The Bingley sisters, who don’t think “country advice could be of any service,” only want to hire a physician out of snobbery.
"duets after supper..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Mr. Bingley is uncomfortable because he is anxious about Jane’s health. His sisters, however, are clearly pretending to care; if they were truly upset, they would not be easily comforted by singing duets after supper.
"Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable.”..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Miss Bingley is being incredibly hypocritical and clearly does not understand Elizabeth at all. Elizabeth doesn’t care what men think of her, and she certainly doesn’t worry about whether Mr. Darcy approves of her or not. Miss Bingley, however, seems willing to do or say whatever will ingratiate her most with Mr. Darcy because she wants him to marry her.
"undervaluing their own;..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Miss Bingley is being incredibly hypocritical and clearly does not understand Elizabeth at all. Elizabeth doesn’t care what men think of her, and she certainly doesn’t worry about whether Mr. Darcy approves of her or not. Miss Bingley, however, seems willing to do or say whatever will ingratiate her most with Mr. Darcy because she wants him to marry her.
"Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley both cried out against the injustice of her implied doubt,..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Miss Bingley is so eager to agree with everything Mr. Darcy says that she has contradicted herself. She initially agreed with him that she only knew half a dozen truly accomplished women, but she is so insistent on disagreeing with Elizabeth that she immediately changes positions. Mr. Darcy doesn’t seem to notice her, however; he is more intrigued by Elizabeth because she challenges his arguments.
"you must comprehend a great deal in your idea of an accomplished woman.”..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Mr. Darcy has openly challenged society’s definition of an accomplished woman—women who paint and net purses are not really impressive. Elizabeth suggests that his idea of an accomplished woman is perhaps more of an ideal than a reality.
"spring..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Miss Bingley saw Miss Darcy during the London Season in the spring. Miss Bingley is showing off both her personal relationship with the Darcys and her fashionability because only the polite classes attended the London Season.
"imitation..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Mr. Bingley seems to recognize that his family can’t possibly acquire the prestige of the Darcys by imitation. However, the Bingleys wouldn’t be any more aristocratic if they bought Pemberley because they have only recently become wealthy. In Austen’s time, people argued about whether wealth was synonymous with nobility; it is clear that Austen herself doesn’t think the two are equal.
"Charles..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
The Bingleys aspire to Mr. Darcy’s wealth and status because he is the only genuinely aristocratic member of the group. The Bingleys are newly rich, so they don’t have any of the prestige that the Darcys do—like generations-old libraries. Their only option is imitation.
"Eliza Bennet..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Miss Bingley is being rude. Using the name “Eliza” for Elizabeth is overly familiar and disrespectful; only close friends and family members could use nicknames. Miss Bingley is very likely trying to disrespect Elizabeth in front of the others.
"renewal of tenderness,..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
The Bingley sisters’ “renewal of tenderness” is clearly artificial; they return to Jane’s bedside because they have nothing else to do while the gentlemen are drinking in the dining room. They do not care about her.
"Cheapside...." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Cheapside is a street in London and, both today and in Austen’s time, the financial center of the city. It was considered unfashionable to live anywhere near Cheapside because of its association with trade. The Bingley sisters’ snobbery is hypocritical because their family’s wealth originated in trade.
"I wish with all my heart she were well settled...." See in text (Chapter VIII)
The Bingley sisters have been pretending to like Jane by inviting her to Netherfield and acting concerned about her health. They clearly believe, however, that she is an improper match for their brother—they have essentially been leading her on.
"brightened by the exercise...." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Mr. Darcy shocks Miss Bingley by revealing that he isn’t offended by Elizabeth’s long walk to Netherfield. He is acting out of character—we could easily imagine Mr. Darcy being very critical if it was anyone else. His surprising response strongly suggests that he is quite smitten with Elizabeth.
"abominable sort of conceited independence,..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
The Bingley sisters seem to misunderstand Elizabeth’s reasons for visiting Netherfield. They think walking three miles in the mud and showing up at their house in the middle of breakfast is rude and defiant (a display of “conceited independence”). Neither of the Bingley sisters consider the possibility that Elizabeth made the arduous journey because she is concerned about Jane.
"this adventure has rather affected your admiration of her fine eyes.”..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Miss Bingley is apprehensive that Mr. Darcy is falling in love with Elizabeth, so she hopes that Elizabeth’s improper appearance during their breakfast has extinguished his feelings. Miss Bingley wants to marry Mr. Darcy and clearly thinks Elizabeth would be a poor match for him.
"“You observed it, Mr. Darcy, I am sure,”..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Miss Bingley counts on Mr. Darcy to join her in criticizing Elizabeth because she knows her brother won’t participate. Mr. Bingley is either too polite or too oblivious to social customs and expectations to feel strongly about Elizabeth’s appearance.
"Miss Bingley was engrossed by Mr. Darcy,..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Miss Bingley believes she is the best match for Mr. Darcy. She is probably becoming more anxious about her prospects because Mr. Darcy is clearly attracted to Elizabeth. Though the Bingleys are wealthy, they are not (like the Bennets) members of the landed gentry; Miss Bingley is no more suitable a match for Mr. Darcy than Elizabeth.
"an indolent man, who lived only to eat, drink, and play at cards,..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Mr. Hurst, who lives only for the luxuries in life, epitomizes the stereotypical man of society. He is lazy, shallow, and obsessed with eating, drinking, and gambling. Though he is essentially worthless, society considers him fashionable because his easy life indicates wealth and status. His character, especially when contrasted with the graciousness of Mr. Bingley, is a criticism of upper-class values.
"the gown which had been let down to hide it not doing its office.”..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
The Bingley sisters imply that Elizabeth is ill-bred. Her disheveled appearance—her windswept hair and flushed cheeks—not only suggests that she is of an inferior class, but also that she is sexually audacious. Mr. Darcy, however, is not bothered by Elizabeth’s presentation. Given that he is the highest-ranking of the party, and that he is otherwise easily offended, his lack of disapproval suggests that the Bingley sisters are overreacting.
"His anxiety for Jane was evident,..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Mr. Bingley’s genuine concern for Jane starkly contrasts with his sisters’ falseness. The Bingley sisters pretend to care about Jane’s condition when they are bored or otherwise motivated to appear interested. Mr. Bingley is a true gentleman; he does not have to perform the way his sisters do because he actually feels empathy and regard for Jane Bennet.
"restored Elizabeth to the enjoyment of all her original dislike...." See in text (Chapter VIII)
Elizabeth’s initial prejudice against the Bingley sisters was correct. They pretended to care about Jane’s health, probably because they were bored (the gentlemen were out socializing) and wished to appear well-mannered.
"repeated three or four times how much they were grieved, how shocking it was to have a bad cold, and how excessively they disliked being ill themselves..." See in text (Chapter VIII)
This is another example of free, indirect discourse. The narrator is giving us the Bingley sisters’ speech as though they are speaking themselves. Given that they promptly “thought no more of the matter,” it’s clear that the Bingley sisters are being far from genuine. They do not care about Jane’s health.
"some time afterward..." See in text (Chapter IX)
Mr. Bingley continues to distinguish himself from his arrogant, shallow sisters. His concern for Jane is genuine; he has presumably been worrying about her all night and couldn't wait another moment to obtain an update about her recovery. His sisters, however, seem to have sent their inquiries as an afterthought.
"her two youngest girls..." See in text (Chapter IX)
The youngest Bennet sisters have already shown themselves to be somewhat silly, shallow, and boy-obsessed. We can assume that they have selfish reasons for accompanying their mother to Netherfield and don't really care much about how Jane is recovering.
"apparent danger..." See in text (Chapter IX)
Mrs. Bingley apparently does care about Jane's welfare; however, her obsession with matchmaking often distracts her from the risks she takes with her daughter's safety. She clearly doesn't think it was immoral to send Jane out into the rainy night so she'd be stranded at Netherfield.
"with hopes..." See in text (Chapter IX)
Mr. Bingley continues to demonstrate his genuine, gentlemanly kindness. He simultaneously hopes for Jane's improvement without hurrying her departure from Netherfield, and doesn't treat her mother with disdain like his sisters do.
"cold civility..." See in text (Chapter IX)
Miss Bingley's "cold civility," or forced politeness, starkly contrasts with her brother's genuine hospitality. Once again, she reveals her arrogance and artificial kindness toward the Bennets (especially Jane).
"such good friends..." See in text (Chapter IX)
Mrs. Bennet reveals a second motive behind sending Jane to Netherfield on a rainy night: forging a friendship between the Bennets and the Bingleys. Even if Jane and Mr. Bingley do not marry, Mrs. Bennet recognizes that the Bingleys are powerful connections for as long as they remain in the neighborhood.
"they are nothing to her...." See in text (Chapter IX)
Mrs. Bennet treats her daughters like products to be pushed on potential suitors. Jane is the most docile and beautiful of the Bennet sisters, and therefore the most likely to secure a suitable match. Mrs. Bennet displays poor breeding and lack of tact by putting down her other girls just to make Jane seem more attractive.
"quitting..." See in text (Chapter IX)
Mrs. Bennet doesn't want Mr. Bingley to leave Netherfield because she wants him to stay and marry Jane. The Bingley sisters share a similar anxiety; they want their brother to stay and become an established member of the landed gentry. Of course, the Bingleys do not think Jane is a suitable match for their brother, so they are not interested in Mrs. Bennet's concerns.
"deep, intricate character..." See in text (Chapter IX)
Elizabeth seems to enjoy sketching characters of others. Though her assessments are usually correct about simple characters like the Bingleys, she struggles with complex characters like Mr. Darcy. Her snap judgments of complex characters are more likely to lead to prejudice.
"Everybody was surprised..." See in text (Chapter IX)
Everyone is shocked that Mrs. Bennet speaks to Mr. Darcy in such a disrespectful manner. She is intent on disliking him, to the point of overreacting. Mr. Darcy, however, doesn't rise to the bait and simply turns away.
"So much the man of fashion!..." See in text (Chapter IX)
Mrs. Bennet reveals how clueless she is by claiming that Sir William Lucas is fashionable and genteel. Sir William is actually quite unfashionable and only pretends to be genteel. Suggesting that Sir William is on equal footing with Mr. Darcy, who is from an old aristocratic family, is nothing short of ridiculous.
"I can be equally happy in either.”..." See in text (Chapter IX)
Mr. Bingley can’t seem to form a negative opinion about anything, so it’s difficult to determine whether he is being genuine. He may be trying to diffuse an argument that seems to be arising between Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Darcy.
"my daughters are brought up differently...." See in text (Chapter IX)
Genteel young ladies would not be raised to cook and clean like housemaids; instead, they would be trained to oversee households and engage in ladylike activities like dancing and playing the piano. Mrs. Bennet strongly (and tactlessly) implies that the Lucases are inferior to the Bennets because the Lucas girls have to do things like bake mince pies. The Bennets probably can’t afford to hire a cook, but Mrs. Bennet is so concerned with appearances that she’s willing to stretch their budget.
"“Oh, dear, yes; but you must own she is very plain...." See in text (Chapter IX)
Mrs. Bennet’s focus is always on securing a match between Mr. Bingley and Jane. She can’t compliment another girl without owning that Jane is prettier, even if the girl in question is a close family friend.
"he wrote some verses on her, and very pretty they were.”..." See in text (Chapter IX)
Mrs. Bennet seems to be advertising Jane’s desirability. Jane doesn’t have a sizable dowry, so beauty is her main selling point. Mr. Bingley seems to be falling for it, however; he is clearly smitten with Jane.
" lest her mother should be exposing herself again...." See in text (Chapter IX)
Elizabeth is worried that her mother will embarrass herself—and the Bennet family—once again. Mrs. Bennet has very little self-awareness and has no idea that the Bingleys and Mr. Darcy think so poorly of her.
"to give a ball at Netherfield...." See in text (Chapter IX)
Kitty and Lydia only accompanied their mother because they wanted to ask Mr. Bingley about the ball he promised to host at Netherfield. Neither Mrs. Bennet nor her youngest daughters seem concerned about Jane.
"But you would not wish to be dancing while she is ill?”..." See in text (Chapter IX)
Mr. Bingley politely and good-naturedly reminds Lydia that it would be in poor taste to host a ball at Netherfield while Jane is ill. Though he may suspect that Lydia doesn’t care about her sister, he is likely oblivious to her selfishness—as he is with his sisters’ arrogance.
"Lydia was a stout, well-grown girl of fifteen..." See in text (Chapter IX)
“Stout” means healthy and strong here, as opposed to stocky. Lydia, who is “well-developed” with “high animal spirits,” is sexualized far more than the other Bennet sisters. She is obsessed with men (specifically officers) and neither of her parents seem concerned about her overt flirtatiousness.
"witticisms on fine eyes...." See in text (Chapter IX)
Mr. Darcy’s growing affection for Elizabeth cannot be extinguished easily, even in the face of her mother’s embarrassing behavior. Elizabeth, however, doesn’t notice or care what the Bingleys or Mr. Darcy think of her. She’s focused on caring for Jane.
"“Have you anything else..." See in text (Chapter X)
Mr. Darcy continues to be sarcastic in his conversations with Miss Bingley. He is fully aware of her jealousy towards Elizabeth and seems to be amused by her suggestions for his domestic happiness.
"your lady ..." See in text (Chapter X)
Miss Bingley tries to convince Mr. Darcy that he would be miserable if he married Elizabeth Bennet. She does so, however, by sarcastically inviting him to imagine finding happiness in correcting Mrs. Bennet's horrible manners, the youngest Bennet sisters' obsession with officers, and Elizabeth's "'conceit and impertinence.'" Miss Bingley suggests that Mr. Darcy will have to correct these flaws or be disgraced by them.
"some danger...." See in text (Chapter X)
Mr. Darcy's pragmatic approach to forming attachments is especially apparent here. He hasn't met a woman like Elizabeth before; she is intelligent, witty, and challenges him. He is "bewitched"; if she were of his class, he would be in danger of being overwhelmed—but not by passion. Reason-driven Mr. Darcy would be overwhelmed by objective reasons to marry her.
"some surprise..." See in text (Chapter X)
Mr. Darcy is either surprised that any woman (much less one of the Bennet sisters) would refrain from jumping at the opportunity to dance with him, or that Elizabeth is behaving in an unfriendly way at all. Mr. Darcy seems oblivious to feelings and focuses more on reason and observation; Elizabeth, while certainly sarcastic, is otherwise polite towards him. He may not realize how much she dislikes him.
"so great a man..." See in text (Chapter X)
Though Elizabeth clearly dislikes Mr. Darcy, she is fully aware of his power and status. Her disdain for him in the face of this knowledge suggests that she places very little value on wealth and prestige; however, she may also be allowing her negative feelings to impact her judgment instead of recognizing the opportunity inherent in being admired by a man like Mr. Darcy.
"the influence of friendship and affection..." See in text (Chapter X)
Elizabeth prioritizes emotion over reason, while Mr. Darcy favors reason over emotion—and both tend to misinterpret social situations because of it. Elizabeth's negative feelings blind her to Mr. Darcy's true character because she always interprets his actions as snobbishness and isn't open to any other possibility. Mr. Darcy's insistence on rationality blinds him to people's feelings; he can't imagine a scenario where being guided by emotion can lead a person to make a wise decision.
"atoned for..." See in text (Chapter X)
Elizabeth suggests that Mr. Darcy's criticism is unduly harsh and potentially unreasonable. If Mr. Bingley is rash in his decision-making, it would be wise for him to at least listen to someone else's advice. Mr. Darcy seems to suggest that it would be better for Mr. Bingley to obstinately stick to his resolve even if his plans are foolish.
"at another word..." See in text (Chapter X)
Mr. Darcy suggests that Mr. Bingley isn't consistently in control of his actions and is particularly susceptible to being influenced. Mr. Darcy hints at his own profound influence over Mr. Bingley and the role his influence will play later in the novel. Mr. Bingley doesn't seem to be a man of conviction; only a man of intense feelings who can be easily swayed.
"no real advantage..." See in text (Chapter X)
Mr. Darcy argues that Mr. Bingley takes pride in his "rapidity of thought" because he thinks that, at the very least, he is being "highly interesting." Mr. Darcy insists that impetuosity is actually irresponsible because it "must leave very necessary business undone" and doesn't offer any real advantages.
"the appearance of humility...." See in text (Chapter X)
Both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy agree that Mr. Bingley's humility isn't genuine. As usual, Elizabeth is playful and succinct in her observation, while Mr. Darcy is serious and a bit patronizing. Mr. Darcy's eloquence hints at his tendency to take himself too seriously (that is, his pridefulness).
"“My ideas flow so rapidly..." See in text (Chapter X)
Mr. Bingley is impetuous. Most of his judgments are made on a whim: he looked at Netherfield for only a half hour before deciding to rent it, and told Mrs. Bennet that he could easily leave on a moment's notice.
"defer your raptures..." See in text (Chapter X)
Mr. Darcy, like Mr. Bennet, is sarcastically polite–though he doesn't tease in the way Mr. Bennet does. Mr. Darcy tolerates Miss Bingley's attention but doesn't seem to enjoy it. His sarcasm is especially evident a few lines later, when Miss Bingley praises the "charming long letters" he writes to his sister. If Mr. Darcy writes such long letters, he would certainly have room to communicate Miss Bingley's "raptures."
"improvement on the harp..." See in text (Chapter X)
Miss Darcy's skills are quintessential female accomplishments. She plays a particularly ladylike (as well as high-status) instrument and designed a table that is likely more ornamental (showy) than useful. She is exactly as accomplished as an aristocratic young lady should be.
"exactly in unison..." See in text (Chapter X)
Miss Bingley is overtly flirting with Mr. Darcy even though he isn't encouraging her. Elizabeth's opinion of Miss Bingley is likely correct; she is needy, shallow, and arrogant. However, Elizabeth's observations may be fueling her prejudice against Mr. Darcy; she seems to interpret his curt responses as rudeness, when he is probably trying to politely hint to Miss Bingley that he is not interested.
"My good opinion once lost is lost forever.”..." See in text (Chapter XI)
Mr. Darcy reveals that he is fairly apt at assessing his own character, even if he considers pride to be a positive attribute. He recognizes that he tends to be resentful; however, admitting that his "good opinion once lost is lost forever" suggests that he is somewhat prideful because he implies that his "good opinion" is worth securing.
"pride..." See in text (Chapter XI)
Mr. Darcy fails to see that pride is actually one of his major flaws. He considers pride to be indicative of superiority—that it is deserved and called for. He doesn't think his pride is excessive or uncalled for; it is instead an effect of "'a real superiority of mind.'"
"as I sit by the fire..." See in text (Chapter XI)
Mr. Darcy shows off his ability to read people's intentions, though Miss Bingley's are easy to uncover. He is likely more interested in engaging—or simply admiring—Elizabeth than he is in humoring Miss Bingley. He is likely also curious about how Elizabeth will respond.
"our surest way of disappointing him..." See in text (Chapter XI)
Elizabeth likely understands exactly what Miss Bingley's goal is: to get Mr. Darcy's attention. Elizabeth, however, is not interested in playing along; she doesn't care what either Miss Bingley or Mr. Darcy think, and she doesn't want to further encourage Miss Bingley.
"the real object of her civility..." See in text (Chapter XI)
Miss Bingley is trying to get Mr. Darcy's attention by walking around the room, which presumably allows her to show off her elegant figure. Strangely, however, she requests that Elizabeth—who is the actual object of Mr. Darcy's affection—accompany her. It's possible that she is trying to showcase her superiority while Mr. Darcy is watching.
"rather a punishment than a pleasure.”..." See in text (Chapter XI)
Once again, Miss Bingley transparently caters to Mr. Darcy in an attempt to secure his affections. She undoubtedly recalls how disdainful he was of others at the public assembly on the evening they met the Bennet sisters.
"there is no enjoyment like reading!..." See in text (Chapter XI)
Miss Bingley very recently criticized Elizabeth for preferring to read instead of playing cards. Miss Bingley's attempts to secure Mr. Darcy's favor are especially transparent—and emphasize the genuine compatibility between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, who both genuinely prefer to read.
"which she had only chosen because it was the second volume of his,..." See in text (Chapter XI)
Miss Bingley is only reading because Mr. Darcy is reading. All of her actions seem bent on either winning Mr. Darcy's attention or amusing herself in his absence. Mr. Darcy, however, considers reading to be a crucial component to female education; he previously argued that a lady cannot be accomplished if she is not well-read. Miss Bingley's feigned reading only underscores her falseness.
"with great delight..." See in text (Chapter XI)
Though Elizabeth and Mrs. Bennet both delight in the romance growing between Jane and Mr. Bingley, their motivations starkly contrast. Mrs. Bennet, though not a generally clever woman, understands the practical necessity of matching her daughter with a rich man. Elizabeth is romantic and champions emotion over reason; she enjoys seeing her sister happy.
"Bingley's salutation..." See in text (Chapter XI)
Mr. Bingley's genuine regard for Jane is a prime example of his impetuosity. He is certainly kind and courteous, and likely means every word. However, as Mr. Darcy has previously pointed out, Mr. Bingley is motivated almost entirely by the strength of his emotions. One might expect him to lose interest as quickly as he gained it.
"nstantly turned toward Darcy..." See in text (Chapter XI)
Our experience of Miss Bingley up to this point strongly implies that her infatuation with Mr. Darcy is driven by her interest in his money and rank. However, her desperate attempts to gain his attention do not suggest clever strategizing; she may, in her way, love him somewhat genuinely.
"when the gentlemen entered..." See in text (Chapter XI)
Once again, the presence of the gentlemen profoundly influences the Bingley sisters' interest in Jane. They invited her to Netherfield in the first place because the gentlemen were out, so they were bored. Jane's presence only serves to entertain them when their brother and Mr. Darcy are absent.
"many professions of pleasure..." See in text (Chapter XI)
As previous chapters have demonstrated, Bingley sisters look forward to Jane's and Elizabeth's departure; they don't care about Jane's wellbeing otherwise. They continue vacillate between revealing their true feelings about the Bennets (often through haughtiness directed at Elizabeth) and pretending to be courteous and thoughtful.
"laconic ..." See in text (Chapter XII)
Laconic means "brief" or "concise." Mr. Bennet usually doesn't make much of a show of his happiness if something surprises or pleases him; however, he missed Jane and Elizabeth so much that he acts out of character.
"elevate her with the hope..." See in text (Chapter XII)
Mr. Darcy is clearly unaware that Elizabeth greatly dislikes him. Even if he tried to encourage her, Elizabeth is unlikely to reciprocate. Mr. Darcy's attempt at discouragement will likely only deepen her disdain of him.
"She attracted him more than he liked,..." See in text (Chapter XII)
Mr. Darcy is concerned about his growing feelings for Elizabeth. He understands that a union between them could be disgraceful to his family; though the Bennets are members of the landed gentry, they are not a prominent or powerful family. The foolishness and poor judgment of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, as well as the two youngest Bennet sisters, further sully Mr. Darcy's opinion of them. Mr. Darcy is relieved that Elizabeth is leaving because she won't be around to tempt him into proposing.
" repeatedly tried to persuade..." See in text (Chapter XII)
Though Mr. Bingley genuinely cares for Jane's health, he seems to have the same goal of Mrs. Bennet: to extend Jane's stay at Netherfield so he can continue to have access to her. Like Mrs. Bennet, he doesn't appear concerned about what Jane wants or feels comfortable with.
"jealousy and dislike of one sister..." See in text (Chapter XII)
The narrator here directly identifies Miss Bingley's dislike for Elizabeth as a form of jealousy. Miss Bingley clearly views Elizabeth as a rival for Mr. Darcy's affection and wishes Jane to leave so Elizabeth will leave with her.
"propitious..." See in text (Chapter XII)
Propitious here means "promising" or "favorable." Mrs. Bennet is loathe to allow Elizabeth and Jane (particularly Jane) to return home because she wants Mr. Bingley to fall deeply in love with her. Elizabeth, however, wants very much to return home.
"calculated..." See in text (Chapter XII)
Mrs. Bennet continues to calculate ways to prolong Jane's stay with the Bingleys. She does not seem concerned about her daughters' discomfort at remaining at Netherfield. Her sole focus is on securing a match between Jane and Mr. Bingley.
"to beg that the carriage might be sent for them..." See in text (Chapter XII)
Elizabeth is clearly uncomfortable remaining at Netherfield any longer. She likely feels that she and Jane have overstayed their welcome and possibly suspects that her mother fully intended for Jane to remain at Netherfield so Mr. Bingley could fall in love with her more rapidly.
"with some asperity..." See in text (Chapter XIII)
Respectable upper-class young women were never taught how to cook or clean; instead, they were taught how to manage the household staff. Mr. Collins' desire to know which of the Bennet sisters cooked dinner meal implies that the Bennets are not well-off enough to employ a cook, and therefore not respectable upper-class people. He is either oblivious to etiquette or attempting to distinguish himself by subtly putting the Bennets down.
"I am impatient to see him.”..." See in text (Chapter XIII)
Mr. Bennet regards Mr. Collins as a constant source of amusement, even though Mr. Collins is the man who will inherit Longbourn after Mr. Bennet dies. Mr. Bennet still does not seem to take the situation seriously.
"Saturday sennight..." See in text (Chapter XIII)
"Sennight" (also spelled "se'nnight," "se'ennight," or "sev'nnight") is an archaic term meaning one week, or seven days and nights. The word was archaic during the time in which Pride and Prejudice was set; Mr. Collins's use of the word further underscores his stuffiness and arrogance.
"And what can he mean by apologizing for being next in the entail?..." See in text (Chapter XIII)
Elizabeth astutely and literally reads Mr. Collins from the beginning. She understands that he has no more control over the entail than Mr. Bennet does. Apologizing merely inflates his ego by making it seem as though he has the power to change an unchangeable legal reality.
"bounty and beneficence..." See in text (Chapter XIII)
Mr. Collins uses alliteration ("bounty and beneficence," "earnest endeavor," etc.) to appear distinguished and elegant. Austen satirizes his style, however; his letter is poignantly arrogant and condescending.
"Right Honorable Lady Catherine De Bourgh..." See in text (Chapter XIII)
Lady Catherine de Bourgh was the wife of a baronet, who is a member of the semi-nobility. She is the daughter of an, earl, however, which is higher-ranking; therefore, she prefers to be called "Lady Catherine" instead of "Lady de Bourgh." Lady Catherine's attention is undoubtedly very valuable; Mr. Collins, however, must be careful to always seek her approval if he plans to maintain her patronage.
"the guilt..." See in text (Chapter XIII)
Mr. Bennet is teasing Mrs. Bennet once again. Mr. Collins has no more control over the entail than Mr. Bennet does; Longbourn will be transferred to the next direct male heir when Mr. Collins dies, too.
"Lydia..." See in text (Chapter XIV)
Lydia Bennet's name and character may have been based on Richard Sheridan's play, The Rivals (1775). In the play, Lydia Languish uses Fordyce's Sermons to distract her guardian's attentions from the novels her maid brought her from a circulating library—and shows her disdain for the Sermons by using its pages as curling papers. Lydia Languish also has a penchant for soldiers, as Lydia Bennet does.
"backgammon..." See in text (Chapter XIV)
Mr. Collins is being hypocritical. He is deeply offended that Lydia interrupted him and criticizes her (and, by addressing "young ladies" in general, her sisters) for not preferring "books of a serious stamp." However, now he wants to play a board game with Mr. Bennet. Mr. Collins is only offended that Lydia drew attention away from him during the reading.
"Richard..." See in text (Chapter XIV)
At the time of Pride and Prejudice, one would only call a servant by his or her first name; it was considered impolite to address a higher-ranking individual with such familiarity. The fact that Lydia would interrupt Mr. Collins (however ridiculous he is in reading them a sermon about how young ladies should dress and behave) to gossip about servants emphasizes her frivolousness.
"vouchsafed..." See in text (Chapter XIV)
"Vouchsafe" means to grant or bestow a favor or gift upon a person. Though Mr. Collins hasn't seen "anything but affability" in her, Lady Catherine is clearly being patronizing. She intrudes (rather rudely) on him to make personal suggestions about marriage and even household decorations.
"appearance..." See in text (Chapter XV)
The narrator makes a point to fixate on Mr. Wickham's superficial first impressions: his "fine countenance," "good figure," and "very pleasing address." The emphasis on superficiality suggests that Mr. Wickham is perhaps not all he seems to be.
"was now high in her good graces...." See in text (Chapter XV)
Mrs. Bennet's fickleness is also apparent. She and Mr. Collins are quite similar; neither are particularly sensible and "the deficiency of nature had been but little assisted by education or society" in Mrs. Bennet's case as much as Mr. Collins's. Mrs. Bennet isn't interested in her daughters marrying for love, and she sees nothing wrong with Mr. Collins's rapid switch from Jane to Elizabeth.
"Mr. Collins had only to change from Jane to Elizabeth..." See in text (Chapter XV)
Mr. Collins's practicality and fickleness (as well as his lack of genuine interest in any of the Bennet daughters) is astonishingly apparent here. He changes his choice as quickly as Mrs. Bennet stirs the fire.
"tete-a-tete..." See in text (Chapter XV)
"Tete-a-tete" is a French word that means "head-to-head" or "one-on-one." Mr. Collins meets with Mrs. Bennet privately to hint at his intentions to marry one of her daughters—Jane, specifically, because she is the loveliest. He (arrogantly) believes that he is doing the Bennet family a charitable favor, though his preference for the prettiest daughter hardly qualifies as charity.
"amends..." See in text (Chapter XV)
As Elizabeth has already observed, it is odd for Mr. Collins to feel the need to make amends for an entailment over which he has no control; he can't help being the next male in line to inherit Longbourn. His intentions are hardly "excessively generous" or "disinterested," however; he intends to marry anyway and he views a match with one of the Bennet daughters as a practical means of reconciliation with Mr. Bennet.
"Having now a good house and a very sufficient income, he intended to marry..." See in text (Chapter XV)
Mr. Collins fulfills the first line of the novel: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." The previously-established fact that he is a pompous and insensible man suggests that this "truth universally acknowledged" might not be a positive one; Mr. Collins seeks a wife for practical purposes, after all, and not for love.
"please where he chooses..." See in text (Chapter XVI)
Mr. Wickham suggests that Mr. Darcy is never genuine; instead, he only cultivates friendships with people he thinks are worth his attention. He is therefore capable of pleasing others, but only if it serves him. Mr. Wickham's account of Mr. Darcy aligns with Elizabeth's existing opinions, so she isn't inclined to question them.
"very countenance..." See in text (Chapter XVI)
The narrator reveals that Elizabeth has formed an opinion of Mr. Wickham that is based on first impressions—specifically, his good looks. This suggests that Elizabeth might not always base her opinions (positive or negative) on legitimate reasons. Elizabeth's judgment of Mr. Wickham might be viewed as a reverse prejudice.
"warmly..." See in text (Chapter XVI)
"Warmly" here means "angrily" or "with temper." Elizabeth, who is already predisposed to dislike Mr. Darcy, is happy to accept Mr. Wickham's account as the truth.
"comparison..." See in text (Chapter XVI)
Middle-class families, who were relatively new to the traditional English social hierarchy, often attempted to distinguish themselves from the lower classes by imitating the wealth and splendor of the rich. Mr. Collins's compliment is well-received because he assures Mrs. Philips that her home is up to the standard of the highest class. However, Mr. Collins is likely exaggerating his compliment because he is eager to please.
"look and behavior...." See in text (Chapter XVII)
The narrator continues to emphasize Elizabeth's reliance on outward appearances to form her opinions. If Mr. Darcy appears uncomfortable or quiet, for example, it is considered a confirmation of his guilt. Elizabeth refuses to consider any other possibility.
"of seeing a confirmation..." See in text (Chapter XVII)
Elizabeth clearly takes pleasure in having her opinions about Mr. Darcy confirmed. She enjoys disliking him and is clearly invested in the truth of Mr. Wickham's story.
"One does not know what to think.”..." See in text (Chapter XVII)
Jane continues to believe the best in everyone; in this case, however, it ensures her objectivity. She isn't quick to accept that Mr. Darcy mistreated Mr. Wickham; however, she doesn't seem to think that Mr. Wickham is capable of telling a lie. She is dispassionate and doesn't seem invested in Mr. Darcy's rightness or wrongness either way.
"truth in his looks...." See in text (Chapter XVII)
Elizabeth naively supports her acceptance of Mr. Wickham's story by insisting that, because he looked trustworthy, he must have been telling the truth. Elizabeth is blind to her own prejudice here: Regardless of whether Mr. Wickham is lying or not, she will not consider the possibility that Mr. Darcy is not in the wrong.
"Oh no..." See in text (Chapter XVII)
Though Jane apparently considers Mr. Wickham to be trustworthy, she is unwilling to automatically accept that Mr. Darcy is a villain. She insists that Elizabeth be objective and consider the possibility that Mr. Wickham misrepresented Mr. Darcy—or that someone has misrepresented Mr. Darcy to Mr. Wickham.
"amiable appearance..." See in text (Chapter XVII)
The narrator continues to emphasize the reason behind Elizabeth's and Jane's trust in Mr. Wickham: he is handsome and appears to be friendly and trustworthy. By underscoring Mr. Wickham's "amiable appearance," however, the narrator hints that he is perhaps not as trustworthy as the Bennet sisters believe.
"introduce yourself..." See in text (Chapter XVIII)
It is a major breach of etiquette for Mr. Collins to introduce himself to Mr. Darcy without a formal introduction made by a suitable third party. Mr. Darcy is by far the social superior, so a man like Mr. Collins must be introduced by an existing acquaintance.
"against another..." See in text (Chapter XVIII)
Mr. Darcy's strong feelings for Elizabeth prevent him from staying angry with her for long. Though the narrator doesn't specify the person to whom Mr. Darcy transfers his anger, we can assume it's Mr. Wickham.
"performance..." See in text (Chapter XVIII)
"Performance" here refers to Elizabeth's sketching of characters. Mr. Darcy suspects that, if Elizabeth "sketches" his character based on conflicting accounts from others, she will not form an accurate (or positive) judgment of his character.
"teased..." See in text (Chapter XVIII)
"Teased" here means "irritated" or "annoyed." Elizabeth is annoyed because Mr. Collins is completely oblivious to social decorum, and he continues to pressure her to dance with him.
"certain desirable event..." See in text (Chapter XVIII)
Once again, Sir William Lucas demonstrates his lack of tact and good breeding. Strongly hinting that Mr. Bingley will marry Jane is highly improper, especially considering Mr. Bingley hasn't even proposed yet.
"insure his making friends..." See in text (Chapter XVIII)
Mr. Darcy essentially says the same thing about Mr. Wickham that Mr. Wickham said about him: he is capable of being pleasant when it suits him (he "is blessed with such happy manners as may insure his making friends"), but he is otherwise not being genuine.
"blind partiality provoked her..." See in text (Chapter XVIII)
Elizabeth is irritated with Mr. Bingley because he is seemingly oblivious to Mr. Darcy's pride and alleged manipulativeness. Ironically, however, she is equally blind to the possibility that Mr. Wickham is lying.
"secure of judging properly at first.”..." See in text (Chapter XVIII)
Elizabeth is guilty of the same prejudice that she sees in Mr. Darcy. She criticizes him for refusing to change his initial opinions about people, but she does the same thing. Her opinion of Miss Bingley and Mr. Darcy—that they are prideful and snobby—is based on first impressions, and she believes Wickham only because her first impression of him was more favorable.
"secure of judging properly at first.”..." See in text (Chapter XVIII)
Elizabeth suspects that Mr. Darcy is the reason Mr. Wickham is absent from Mr. Bingley's ball at Netherfield. She believes Mr. Darcy, who allegedly denied Mr. Wickham a rectorship that had been promised to him by Mr. Darcy's father, is guilty of prejudice. Mr. Darcy judges people based on first impressions and rarely changes his opinions, so Elizabeth observes that he would do well to ensure that his initial judgment is accurate.
"apply to her father,..." See in text (Chapter XIX)
Elizabeth suspects that Mr. Collins will only understand her refusal if it comes from the male patriarch of the family. It is telling that Elizabeth, an otherwise well-spoken and intelligent woman, cannot speak for herself in the context of a marriage proposal.
"“Were it certain that Lady Catherine would think so,” ..." See in text (Chapter XIX)
Mr. Collins doesn't finish this thought, but it is clear that he would immediately abandon his pursuit of Elizabeth if Lady Catherine disapproved of the match. We can be certain now that Mr. Collins is primarily interested in meeting Lady Catherine's expectations.
"by no means discouraged..." See in text (Chapter XIX)
Mr. Collins has effectively denied Elizabeth the right to refuse him; he will interpret even a second or third rejection as part of a coquettish (flirtatious) tradition that is not to be taken seriously.
"uniformly silent..." See in text (Chapter XIX)
Mr. Collins is, once again, being crass—and hypocritical, since he has been anything but "uniformly silent" on the topic of Elizabeth's paltry inheritance. He may seem to anticipate Elizabeth's rejection because his reasons for pursuing the match are desperate; he doesn't expect Elizabeth to marry him for love, so he gives her practical incentives. Mr. Collins, however, is far too narcissistic and oblivious to social customs to imagine her refusal. His ultimate argument is that Elizabeth should marry him because she cannot do better.
"four-percents..." See in text (Chapter XIX)
The "four-percents" are government bonds that yield 4% per year in interest. Though people in late 18th- and early 19th-century England were more forward about their earnings (and inheritance) than we might be accustomed to today, it is incredibly rude of Mr. Collins to reduce Elizabeth's worth down to her modest annual earnings—especially in the middle of a proposal.
"loss to them..." See in text (Chapter XIX)
Mr. Collins continues to insist that he feels guilty about being the next male in line to inherit Longbourn. His allegedly altruistic intentions for marrying Elizabeth, however, are packed within a practical—rather than sentimental—speech. He seems more interested in following Lady Catherine's advice than making amends for an entail over which he has no control in the first place.
"state my reasons for marrying..." See in text (Chapter XIX)
Mr. Collins continues to approach marriage as a business transaction. In spite of previously being at risk of "runn[ing] away with [his] feelings," he pragmatically lists his reasons for asking Elizabeth to be his wife.
"I am going away myself.”..." See in text (Chapter XIX)
Elizabeth usually gives eloquent, intelligent speeches. Her short, confused, panicked language here suggests her distress—and her anticipation, however surprised, of Mr. Collins's abrupt and thoughtless proposal.
"the business..." See in text (Chapter XIX)
Mr. Collins makes no effort to mask his view that marriage is nothing more than a practical business transaction. He plans his proposal according to his schedule and nothing more.
"no great inclination for talking..." See in text (Chapter XX)
Mrs. Bennet's desperation is evident here because she is resorting to capitalizing on her "nervous complaints" and "poor nerves" to manipulate Elizabeth. Of course, Mrs. Bennet has a great "inclination for talking," to the extent that she often invites derision from others.
"who is to maintain you..." See in text (Chapter XX)
In late 18th- and early 19th-century England, unmarried women had few options for survival—they either relied on their parents (an option that involved a significant financial burden for the family) or worked one of the few jobs available to women at the time. Mrs. Bennet threatens Elizabeth with the prospect of being disowned if she doesn't marry Mr. Collins.
"I shall be glad to have the library to myself as soon as may be.”..." See in text (Chapter XX)
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Bennet does not take either Mrs. Bennet or Mr. Collins seriously. He seems to view the proposal—and the uproar that followed—as unworthy of being interrupted while in his library.
"she could not add much to my felicity...." See in text (Chapter XX)
Mr. Collins still won't take Elizabeth's refusal seriously; if she repeatedly and seriously rejects him, her rejections represent "defects of temper" and not actual rejections. He fails to consider the possibility that their union would make her unhappy—he only thinks of what the marriage might offer him.
"she dared not to believe it..." See in text (Chapter XX)
Mrs. Bennet, though not the most perceptive individual, is not as deluded as Mr. Collins—she knows that Elizabeth's refusal is serious because Elizabeth would never encourage a suitor by pretending to reject his proposals.
"beaux..." See in text (Chapter XXI)
The term "beaux," which means suitors, was fairly outdated during the time of Pride and Prejudice. Miss Bingley might be patronizing Jane by using the word because it implies that Jane is unfashionable and provincial—and therefore not equal to (or worthy of) the Bingleys.
"most kindly!..." See in text (Chapter XXI)
Jane's inverted prejudice, in which she sees only the best in people even if they have given her reason to distrust them, is evident here. She doesn't seem capable of reading the hostility and manipulativeness in Miss Bingley's letter; instead, she thinks Miss Bingley is being kind and considerate.
"when I call Charles most capable of engaging any woman's heart...." See in text (Chapter XXI)
Miss Bingley very likely knows that Jane loves Mr. Bingley, so highlighting Mr. Bingley's ability to capture any woman's heart is purposefully cruel. Miss Bingley clearly (and correctly) doesn't anticipate Jane writing to Mr. Bingley for confirmation of these reports, either—the letter is therefore meant to both hurt and permanently discourage Jane from any further hope of marriage.
"“It is only evident that Miss Bingley does not mean that he should...." See in text (Chapter XXI)
Once again, Jane and Elizabeth differ in their ability to interpret other people's behavior. Jane doesn't consider the possibility that Miss Bingley is being manipulative; she accepts everything in the letter to be absolute truth. Elizabeth, on the other hand, understands that Miss Bingley is only speaking for herself—not Mr. Bingley.
"we have determined on following him thither,..." See in text (Chapter XXI)
Miss Bingley hints that she and her sister are joining Mr. Bingley in London so they can prevent him (or strongly discourage him) from returning to Netherfield. Her letter contains no indication of Mr. Bingley's wishes, however; in fact, she and her sister are apparently the ones who have decided that he cannot possibly conclude his business trip in under three or four days. Given what we know about the Bingley sisters' characters, we have good reason to be suspicious.
"ill-humor or ill-health..." See in text (Chapter XXI)
Mrs. Bennet's "ill-humor" is often closely tied to her "ill-health," or her frequently-mentioned "poor nerves." She attempts to manipulate her family into fulfilling her wishes by claiming that, if they don't obey her, her health (nerves) will worsen.
"peevish..." See in text (Chapter XXI)
"Peevish" in this setting probably means "foolish" as well as "obstinate" and "capricious." Mrs. Bennet is resentful and childish; she won't speak to Elizabeth unless it is to punish her for refusing to marry Mr. Collins.
"assiduous..." See in text (Chapter XXI)
"Assiduous" here means "constantly endeavoring to please." Mr. Collins immediately transferred his attentions to Miss Lucas, almost as quickly as he transferred his interest to Elizabeth when he learned that Jane (his first choice) was likely to be married to Mr. Bingley.
"so lately as Mr. Collins was wishing to marry you..." See in text (Chapter XXII)
Miss Lucas seems to interpret Elizabeth's anger as jealousy over Mr. Collins's abrupt transfer of affection to Miss Lucas. Elizabeth, however, is likely stunned that her friend accepted a proposal from a man she does not love—and a man as odious as Mr. Collins.
"Engaged to Mr. Collins! my dear Charlotte—impossible!..." See in text (Chapter XXII)
Grammatically-incorrect or incomplete sentences are relatively rare in Austen's works; here, they are used to emphasize Elizabeth's shock and disdain, especially since Elizabeth is ordinarily well-spoken.
"establishment..." See in text (Chapter XXII)
Miss Lucas is only concerned about securing a marriage with a financially-stable man. Unlike Elizabeth, who values romance and love over pragmatism, Miss Lucas understands that she will be destitute if she does not marry because she has no inheritance. Women had few options outside of marriage, and Miss Lucas treats marriage like a type of employment.
"accidentally..." See in text (Chapter XXII)
Miss Lucas is portrayed as being especially calculating here; not only did she see an opportunity to win Mr. Collins away from Elizabeth, but also to participate in the performance of courtship. Neither she nor Mr. Collins are interested in romance; their union would be a matter of practicality.
"since the adventure of Wednesday...." See in text (Chapter XXII)
Mr. Collins, who has an incredibly high opinion of himself, is still resentful about having been unceremoniously rejected by Elizabeth. He intends to hide his relationship with Miss Lucas until he can be sure that his impending proposal is successful.
"it was impossible for that friend to be tolerably happy in the lot she had chosen...." See in text (Chapter XXII)
Elizabeth is upset because Charlotte has chosen security over love and happiness. Charlotte and Elizabeth have different ideas about matrimony; Charlotte sees marriage as a pragmatic necessity, and Elizabeth can't imagine being married to someone who makes her unhappy. The reality, however, is that Elizabeth (like Charlotte) will be destitute if she doesn't marry well. Longbourn is entailed to Mr. Collins, so he will inherit the estate when Mr. Bennet dies and the Bennet girls won't receive anything.
"I should not mind it...." See in text (Chapter XXIII)
Mrs. Bennet would not mind that Charlotte (and not Elizabeth) is marrying Mr. Collins if it weren't for the fact that Longbourn is entailed to Mr. Collins—and therefore, Charlotte will become the lady of the estate, probably while Mrs. Bennet is still alive.
"anticipating the hour of possession..." See in text (Chapter XXIII)
Mrs. Bennet misreads Charlotte Lucas's intentions; for, though Charlotte likely takes comfort in the fact that she will be able to live at Longbourn someday, she is more concerned about finding any "establishment" (marriage) that will prevent her from being destitute and alone once her parents die. Mrs. Bennet wants the same for her own daughters.
"As her successor in that house..." See in text (Chapter XXIII)
Miss Lucas will succeed Mrs. Bennet once Mr. Bennet dies and Mr Collins inherits the estate. This is perhaps what offends Mrs. Bennet the most; not only did Miss Lucas secure a match with Mr. Collins (which Mrs. Bennet desired for Elizabeth), but also secured a match that guarantees that Longbourn will not remain in the Bennets' immediate family.
"for the strength of his attachment..." See in text (Chapter XXIII)
Though Elizabeth does not doubt the existence of Mr. Bingley's affection, she does doubt its strength; she is concerned, after all, that the excitement of London (and the beauty and charm of Miss Darcy) will be enough to extinguish Mr. Bingley's love for Jane.
"she called at Longbourn rather oftener..." See in text (Chapter XXIII)
Lady Lucas very likely remembers Mrs. Bennet's frequent bragging about the match she expected between Jane and Mr. Bingley. Charlotte's unexpected betrothal to Mr. Collins, who had been refused by Elizabeth only days ago, is doubtlessly a point of vengeful pride for Lady Lucas.
"connection between the houses..." See in text (Chapter XXIII)
The connection Sir William speaks of is a rather awkward one, since his daughter will preside over Longbourn after Mr. Bennet dies and Mr. Collins inherits the estate. Sir William likely overlooks this, however; he is more concerned about showing off his daughter's valuable match.
" Let Wickham be your man...." See in text (Chapter XXIV)
Mr. Bennet seems to foresee an attachment growing between Mr. Wickham and Elizabeth. Rather than feeling concern (or even genuine interest), however, he jokes about the prospect of Elizabeth being jilted.
"you have an affectionate mother who will always make the most of it.”..." See in text (Chapter XXIV)
Once again, Mr. Bennet sarcastically reveals his opinions about his wife—in this case, her selfish tendency to make every issue about her (and her "poor nerves"). Mrs. Bennet internalizes conflict, taking it too seriously, while Mr. Bennet doesn't take anything seriously at all.
"solicitude..." See in text (Chapter XXIV)
"Solicitude" means uneasiness of mind, or to be anxious or concerned. Elizabeth doesn't believe that Jane can easily forget Mr. BIngley, or that "we shall all be as we were before," as though the romance never took place. She is concerned that Jane is heartbroken.
"easiness of temper..." See in text (Chapter XXIV)
Elizabeth is angry that Mr. Bingley is inclined to be influenced by his manipulative sisters—and probably Mr. Darcy, who seemed alarmed when Sir William openly predicted an engagement between Jane and Mr. Bingley.
"could have been so well-bred and agreeable..." See in text (Chapter XXV)
It is very hypocritical for the Bingley sisters to look down on another family for acquiring wealth through trade. The Bingley family amassed their fortune through trade as well, so they all belong to the middle class. The Bingley sisters, however, seem to be aspiring to the upper class through emulation (and spending time with men like Mr. Darcy).
"for a fortnight, ..." See in text (Chapter XXVI)
Etiquette dictated that Miss Bingley must return Jane's visit within one week; to do so otherwise is highly offensive. It is clear, now, that Miss Bingley does not intend to continue her acquaintance with the Bennet family—not even with Jane.
"almost promised to answer her letter...." See in text (Chapter XXVII)
During the time of Pride and Prejudice, writing letters was a crucial part of maintaining social and business connections. Mr. Bennet's frequent neglect of letter-writing suggests a strong detachment from his familial responsibilities, especially considering he is the head of the household.
"She will make him a very proper wife.”..." See in text (Chapter XXVIII)
Elizabeth thinks that Miss de Bourgh, who is "sickly and cross," will be a perfect match for Mr. Darcy because he (in Elizabeth's eyes) is so prideful, haughty, and generally rude.
"modern building..." See in text (Chapter XXVIII)
If Rosings is a "modern building," then Sir Lewis de Bourgh's family and wealth are probably not as long established as the Darcys. Rosings is clearly meant to be identified with arrogance and superiority; it was built on "rising ground" ("rise" is similar to "rose" or "Rosings"), always looking down upon Mr. Collins's comparatively modest parsonage. It is the perfect estate for the arrogant, pompous de Bourgh family.
"impertinence of her questions..." See in text (Chapter XXIX)
Lady Catherine is clearly preoccupied with the appearance of wealth and prestige; family lineage, therefore, is not as important (though it is still important). She rudely demands to know the particulars of the Bennet family so she can classify them; Elizabeth, however cannot refuse to answer because Lady Catherine is wealthy and powerful.
"beyond the Collins' reach...." See in text (Chapter XXX)
The families in Hunsford are far superior to the Collins family in wealth and social status. Therefore, other than their frequent trips to Rosings, Mr. and Mrs. Collins do not have many social engagements.
"there might be other family livings to be disposed of,..." See in text (Chapter XXX)
Elizabeth begins to suspect that Mr. and Mrs. Collins are attempting to convince Lady Catherine to give them a better parsonage. Elizabeth can't imagine any other reason for spending so much time at Rosings.
"ill-breeding..." See in text (Chapter XXXI)
Mr. Darcy seems to be experiencing with his aunt what Elizabeth often experiences with her mother: the humiliation of a close family member behaving rudely. Lady Catherine is no better than Mrs. Bennet in this case, for both are inclined to emphasize (however subtly) their superiority.
"the pianoforte in Mrs. Jenkinson's room..." See in text (Chapter XXXI)
Lady Catherine is snobbishly pointing out not only how little money Mr. and Mrs. Collins have (compared to her), but also how excessive her own wealth is. She can afford to have multiple pianofortes, even in her servant's room.
"Mrs. Collins knew not what to make of him...." See in text (Chapter XXXII)
At this moment, Mrs. Collins is the only character who is aware of Mr. Darcy's growing feelings for Elizabeth. Austen shifts the narrative to Mrs. Collins's point of view, which further develops her character and further complicates the plot.
"the younger son of an earl can know very little of either...." See in text (Chapter XXXIII)
Though Elizabeth is certainly happy to accept any criticism of Mr. Darcy, she challenges Colonel Fitzwilliam's explanation of Mr. Darcy's character. Though Mr. Darcy has always been rich and able to do whatever he wishes, Colonel Fitzwilliam is just as privileged—and therefore has no business claiming that, as "a younger son," he "must be inured to self-denial and dependence."
"willful ill-nature..." See in text (Chapter XXXIII)
Elizabeth's prejudiced judgment of Mr. Darcy blinds her to the now-obvious possibility that Mr. Darcy might be intercepting her during her walks because he has developed feelings for her. Elizabeth is open to having her existing opinions reinforced, as they are by Mr. Wickham, but refuses to consider conflicting evidence.
"inferiority..." See in text (Chapter XXXIV)
Mr. Darcy spends most of his time passionately emphasizing Elizabeth's inferior rank and unsuitability for marriage to a man of his wealth and status. He only briefly compliments her; his main priority seems to be expressing his discomfort about being in love with her.
"she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man's affection..." See in text (Chapter XXXIV)
Although Elizabeth greatly dislikes Mr. Darcy, she can't help but feel flattered that a man of his status and wealth has fallen in love with her. Mr. Darcy's avowal of love, however unwanted, is a compliment.
"“From the very beginning,..." See in text (Chapter XXXIV)
Once again, Elizabeth bases her opinion of Mr. Darcy on first impressions. She is convinced that he interfered with the romance between Jane and Mr. Bingley because he looks down on the Bennet family. She also believes he mistreated Mr. Wickham out of pride and jealousy. Mr. Darcy's proposal seems all the more preposterous because he is reluctant while giving it; he understands that marriage between he and Elizabeth is not advantageous, but his feelings necessitate asking for her hand.
"I had often seen him in love before...." See in text (Chapter XXXV)
Mr. Bingley is often infatuated with other women, so Mr. Darcy didn't suspect that he was genuinely falling in love with Jane until Sir William Lucas revealed that "'Bingley's attentions'" to Jane "'had given rise to a general expectation of their marriage.'"
"madam..." See in text (Chapter XXXV)
Addressing a woman as "madam" is highly formal, respectful, and businesslike. Mr. Darcy uses this address to emphasize his intentions; that is, that he intends to defend his actions, not to renew "'those sentiments, or renewal of those offers, which were last night so disgusting to you.'" Mr. Darcy is likely still resentful of her harsh rejection, but he appears equally interested in clearing his name.
"Will you do me the honor of reading that letter..." See in text (Chapter XXXV)
During the time in which Pride and Prejudice was set, it was highly improper for an unmarried woman to correspond with a man she was not engaged or married to (unless they were related, of course). Mr. Darcy respectfully spares Elizabeth from potential scrutiny when he delivers his letter in person instead of sending it through the post.
"I believed it on impartial conviction,..." See in text (Chapter XXXV)
Mr. Darcy confirms his interference in the romance between Jane and Mr. Bingley, but reveals that he was worried Mr. Bingley would be heartbroken. Jane (like most respectable ladies of her time) refuses to express romantic feelings, so Mr. Darcy thought she didn't care for Mr. Bingley. Mr. Darcy didn't prevent an engagement because he thought Jane was beneath Mr. Bingley; he convinced Mr. Bingley to abandon Jane because he thought Jane wasn't in love.
"perturbed state of mind,..." See in text (Chapter XXXVI)
Elizabeth is not only disturbed by Mr. Darcy's account of Mr. Wickham's devious behavior, but also of her own unfairness; she is just as guilty of the same pride and prejudice that she saw in Mr. Darcy.
"contrariety of emotions they excited..." See in text (Chapter XXXVI)
Prior to Mr. Darcy's proposal (and letter), Elizabeth was rarely perturbed by his criticisms and haughtiness. Since the proposal, however, Elizabeth is much affected by Mr. Darcy. Her emotional response, however, is not necessarily a symptom of budding affection; her "contrariety of emotions" could easily be the result of a direct challenge to her longstanding prejudice against him.
"Till this moment I never knew myself.”..." See in text (Chapter XXXVI)
Elizabeth realizes that she was prejudiced against Mr. Darcy. She misgauged his motivations and indulged her vanity "in useless or blameless mistrust." He interfered with Jane's engagement to Mr. Bingley because Jane did not express her feelings for Mr. Bingley, so Mr. Darcy suspected that she wanted to marry him for his money. Mr. Darcy acted out of genuine care and concern for his friend, not pride or prejudice. Elizabeth, however, has been both prideful and prejudicial.
"Jane had been deprived by the folly and indecorum of her own family!..." See in text (Chapter XXXVII)
Mrs. Bennet, who obsessively attempted to orchestrate a match between Jane and Mr. Bingley, is the reason Jane has been "deprived" of a happy marriage with the man she loves. Mrs. Bennet's boorish behavior comprises the majority of the "folly and indecorum" of the Bennet family.
"“Oh! Your uncle! He keeps a man-servant, does he?..." See in text (Chapter XXXVII)
Lady Catherine snobbishly assumes that Mr. Gardiner, though of solid middle-class status, cannot afford a male servant—for male servants were more expensive than female servants.
"had not yet lost their charm...." See in text (Chapter XXXVIII)
Austen emphasizes the value Charlotte places in material things; her happiness is due not only to feeling secure in her pragmatic match with Mr. Collins, but also the shallower enjoyment of ownership: she is proud of "her home and her housekeeping, her parish and her poultry, and all their dependent concerns."
"We seem to have been designed for each other.”..." See in text (Chapter XXXVIII)
Though Mr. Collins is likely meant to be regarded as a bit deluded, there is some truth to claiming that he and Charlotte "seem to have been designed for each other." Both Charlotte and Mr. Collins hold remarkably pragmatic opinions about marriage and are able to find happiness together without the presence of romantic affection.
"fun..." See in text (Chapter XXXIX)
Lydia's perspective on life and marriage revolves around amusement; unlike Charlotte, for example, who is strictly pragmatic (perhaps to a fault), Lydia is only interested in having fun. This hedonistic immaturity blinds her to social consequences and puts her (as well as the Bennet family) at risk.
"you must be satisfied with only one..." See in text (Chapter XL)
While Jane usually challenges Elizabeth's prejudiced opinions, it is Elizabeth who challenges Jane. Jane is just as blinded by her need to see the good in everyone as Elizabeth was in her need to vilify Mr. Darcy; thus, Jane's extreme optimism becomes a kind of inverted prejudice.
"capable of consoling her for such discovery...." See in text (Chapter XL)
Jane's (perhaps willful) naïveté is evident here; she would "willingly have gone through the world" believing the best in people, regardless of evidence of wickedness. Mr. Darcy's blamelessness is not enough to comfort her after discovering so much badness in Mr. Wickham's behavior.
"distrust their meaning...." See in text (Chapter XLI)
Mr. Wickham begins to suspect that Elizabeth has somehow discovered that he misrepresented his actions and Mr. Darcy's alleged (and fictional) betrayal.
"many degrees worse..." See in text (Chapter XLI)
Mr. Bennet oddly believes that nothing bad will come from sending his silliest, most immature daughter to Brighton—a notoriously hedonistic, immoral place—because she is "too poor to be an object of prey" and bad enough that she can't possibly become much worse.
"any of those pleasures..." See in text (Chapter XLII)
Mr. Bennet hasn't tried to console himself by taking a mistress, gambling, or drinking—instead, he finds amusement in the "ignorance and folly" of his wife and enjoys being in the country and reading.
"put an end to all real affection for her..." See in text (Chapter XLII)
Mr. Bennet is as indulgent as Lydia in some ways; he married Mrs. Bennet because he was attracted to her good looks and "good humor." He did not consider the social consequences of marrying beneath him, nor did he pay much attention to her personality and (lack of) intellect. He prioritized enjoyment over reason and propriety.
" just as they used to be then..." See in text (Chapter XLIII)
Though Mr. Darcy has good reason to resent his father (given that the late Mr. Darcy bequeathed a substantial "living" to Mr. Wickham), he respects his memory by keeping his favorite room exactly as it was when he was alive. Mr. Darcy is perhaps not as resentful as Elizabeth originally thought.
"very little to say in reply...." See in text (Chapter XLIV)
Elizabeth seems to struggle with her rapidly-changing opinion of Mr. Darcy, a man she long thought to be resentful and mean-spirited. It is possible that she cannot yet accept the possibility that she might actually enjoy his company.
"exceedingly shy..." See in text (Chapter XLIV)
Elizabeth initially thought Mr. Darcy was proud because he appeared unwilling to speak to anyone outside of his own party at the first public assembly. If people mistake Miss Darcy for being "exceedingly proud" when she is only "exceedingly shy," then it is entirely possible that Elizabeth has made the same error in her judgment of Mr. Darcy.
"sometimes been called so fine,..." See in text (Chapter XLV)
Once again, Miss Bingley is being excessively rude in her attempt to win Mr. Darcy away from Elizabeth. Her jealously, however, leads her to ultimately insult Mr. Darcy's taste; for example, she criticizes Elizabeth's eyes, though she knows Mr. Darcy admires them.
"His temptation is not adequate to the risk.”..." See in text (Chapter XLVII)
Mr. Gardiner hopes that Mr. Wickham's intentions with Lydia are sincere because the scheme is otherwise poorly planned. He faces grave consequences within his regiment, as well as among Lydia's family and friends—all for a girl without a fortune.
"always distrusted the appearance of his goodness...." See in text (Chapter XLVIII)
In reality, everyone was duped by Mr. Wickham; it is untrue that they "always distrusted the appearance of his goodness." For example, Elizabeth's initial decision that Mr. Wickham was trustworthy was based solely on his appearances. Everyone (other than Jane) was inclined to love Mr. Wickham and despise Mr. Darcy.
"hoped for exertion...." See in text (Chapter XLVIII)
Once again, Mr. Bennet has proved himself to be not only a negligent letter-writer, but also a negligent patriarch who shuns his family responsibilities—and his responsibilities as a member of the landed gentry.
"to see dear Wickham too..." See in text (Chapter XLVIX)
Mrs. Bennet ignores the fact that Mr. Wickham nearly brought her daughter (and the entire Bennet family) to social ruin. Now that the marriage has been confirmed and Lydia is returning to Longbourn with her new husband, Mrs. Bennet is delighted.
"There is nothing else to be done..." See in text (Chapter XLVIX)
Mr. Bennet surprisingly understands (and takes seriously) the grave reality that, if Mr. Wickham does not marry Lydia, both Lydia and the Bennet family will be socially ruined. The consequences of her clandestine elopement (which isn't considered valid in England anyway) would greatly impact every member of the family—especially her sisters, who would have an even more difficult time finding husbands.
"provided for..." See in text (Chapter L)
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet neglected to save money because they expected to have a son who would inherit Longbourn from Mr. Bennet. However, because they had five daughters instead, the estate must be entailed to the next male in line—Mr. Collins. Family estates were not usually entailed to daughters because, upon marriage, the estate would belong to the new husband.
"He now wished it more than ever...." See in text (Chapter L)
Mr. Bennet failed to save "an annual sum for the better provision of his children" because he (and Mrs. Bennet) did not establish a sensible budget. Mr. Bennet, who usually refuses to take anything seriously, has finally begun to recognize the consequences of his laziness.
"I am sure my sisters must all envy me...." See in text (Chapter LI)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lydia is oblivious to the immense trouble she caused her family. Though she and Mr. Wickham may have eloped in Scotland because they suspected that the Bennet parents would disapprove (particularly if they were aware of Mr. Wickham's bad reputation), it is entirely possible that Lydia found the elopement more amusing than waiting for a legitimate wedding.
" hardly knew how to look..." See in text (Chapter LII)
Mr. Wickham is unsure as to whether or not Elizabeth is still furious with him, both for his near-ruin of the Bennet family and his treatment of the Darcys. Elizabeth, however, has apparently resigned herself to civility, and urges Mr. Wickham to do the same.
"He dined with us the next day..." See in text (Chapter LII)
By dining with the Gardiners, Mr. Darcy demonstrates that he does not think Elizabeth Bennet's family is entirely disgraceful. His visit may indicate that he has abandoned his former prejudices against the Bennets, especially considering that Mr. Gardiner is Mrs. Bennet's brother.
" makes love to us all...." See in text (Chapter LIII)
During the time in which Pride and Prejudice was written, "making love" meant wooing, flirting, or flattering another person (usually directed at a woman by a man). Mr. Bennet is joking that Mr. Wickham is going to great lengths to ingratiate himself with the family.
"superexcellent..." See in text (Chapter LV)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, "superexcellent" means "exceptionally excellent." Elizabeth predicts that married life will be very happy for Mr. Bingley and Jane simply because Jane is so exceptionally agreeable and beautiful.
"I was sure you could not be so beautiful for nothing!..." See in text (Chapter LV)
Mrs. Bennet regards feminine beauty as a currency; Jane's beauty must stand in for the dowry she lacks (due to her parents' horrible budgeting). Mrs. Bennet is probably correct; Mr. Bingley would likely not have initially paid attention to Jane if she hadn't been so beautiful.
"scandalous falsehood..." See in text (Chapter LVI)
Lady Catherine clearly does not believe the rumor to be a "scandalous falsehood," for she has gone a great deal out of her way to travel to Longbourn and confront Elizabeth. Lady Catherine's confrontation reveals not only the great extent of her arrogance, but also the truth of the very "falsehood" she is hoping to rule out.
"that..." See in text (Chapter LVI)
Lady Catherine conveys her disgust and feelings of superiority by using "that" instead of "she" to refer to Kitty. Austen satirizes the upper class by depicting Lady Catherine as excessively arrogant, despite the aristocracy's emphasis on good breeding. Lady Catherine's manners are arguably even worse than Mrs. Bennet's.
"missish..." See in text (Chapter LVII)
"Missish" means to behave "like a miss"; coy, prim, squeamish, and sentimental. Mr. Bennet is teasing Elizabeth about being uncomfortable with Mr. Collins's report that Mr. Darcy is in love with Elizabeth.
"a young olive-branch..." See in text (Chapter LVII)
Mr. Collins's letter included the announcement that Charlotte is pregnant. Mr. Bennet likely uses the phrase "olive-branch" because Mr. Collins used it in his first letter to Mr. Bennet (in Chapter 13).
"present assurances...." See in text (Chapter LVIII)
Though Mr. Darcy's proposal (and Elizabeth's acceptance) may seem lackluster after hundreds of pages of build-up, the union between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy is nearly inevitable at this point. Mr. Darcy's intervention on Lydia's behalf confirms his devotion to Elizabeth, and Elizabeth's vastly-changed opinion of Mr. Darcy strongly implies that she will be receptive to a second proposal.
"receive with gratitude..." See in text (Chapter LVIII)
Austen is notorious for featuring rather anti-climactic acceptances to proposals. The narrator may seem to nonchalantly summarize Elizabeth's acceptance of Mr. Darcy's proposal; however, one might read this seeming nonchalance as a moment of ecstatic incoherence for an otherwise eloquent character.
"Wickham, perhaps, is my favorite;..." See in text (Chapter LIX)
Once again, Mr. Bennet is being witty; he very likely despises Mr. Wickham for the harm he nearly brought to Lydia and the Bennet name, but he ultimately makes light of the situation.
"how much you dislike him...." See in text (Chapter LIX)
Elizabeth has been very vocal about her dislike of Mr. Darcy in the past; however, she has not showcased her changing opinions of him. Jane is shocked that Elizabeth would even consider marrying a man everyone is certain she hates.
"“A man who had felt less might.”..." See in text (Chapter LX)
Mr. Darcy is apparently so overcome with love and adoration for Elizabeth that he could not bring himself to speak much during his last visit. He excuses himself by arguing that, if he did not love her as much as he does (thus being too overwhelmed), he would have made better conversation.
"persons who so assiduously courted you..." See in text (Chapter LX)
Elizabeth is referring to Miss Bingley, who aggressively pressured Mr. Darcy to fall in love with her. Elizabeth believes that Mr. Darcy began falling in love with her (Elizabeth) because she is not only different from most of the women he knows, but also that she is not motivated to marry him because of his wealth and status.
"bore with philosophy..." See in text (Chapter LXI)
To do anything "with philosophy" means to adopt the attitude or habit of a philosopher; that is, approaching a situation with calmness and resignation. Mr. Wickham has accepted that Elizabeth probably knows "whatever of his ingratitude and falsehood had before been unknown to her." However, given that he is "not wholly without hope" that Mr. Darcy will give him money, it is likely that Mr. Wickham simply doesn't care what Elizabeth thinks.