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Pride and Prejudice Ch. 36 -41 Discussion Guide
Chapter 36 • “With a strong prejudice against every thing he might say, she began his account of what had happened at Netherfield” (Austen 174). • Elizabeth’s prejudice initially leads her to believe that Darcy is “all pride and insolence” (174). • “She grew absolutely ashamed of herself. Of neither Darcy nor Wickham could she think, without feeling that she had been blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd” (Austen 177). • What changes when Elizabeth reconsiders what she “knows” about Darcy, Wickham, etc. ?
Chapter 36 • Elizabeth even comes to see the situation with Jane differently. What leads her to an understanding of Darcy’s interpretation? • Characterize Elizabeth at the end of chapter 36. How does she feel?
Chapter 36 • How does Austen use dialogue and letters to extend the traditional narrative technique? • How does Darcy’s post-proposal letter figure so prominently in the novel? • What makes Elizabeth and Darcy such iconic literary figures? • How do the conventions of the day prevent them from connecting to each other?
Chapter 37 • What amuses Elizabeth when she thinks of Lady Catherine now? • How does Darcy feel about leaving Rosings? Why? • What does Lady Catherine believe is the reason for these feelings? Typical… • Lady Catherine notices a change in Elizabeth. What is her suggestion?
Chapter 37 • How does Elizabeth feel about Darcy now? • See pp. 181 -182 • Which of his thoughts are understandable in her view? • Which mistake does she still struggle to come to terms with? • In what way did Darcy’s explanation change Elizabeth’s feelings about Mr. Bingley?
Has Elizabeth Been Fair? • Margaret Kennedy describes Elizabeth’s opinion of Darcy • “It is only to Darcy that she cannot be just, cannot be gentle. Her animus against him has been fed by too many tributary streams. The original slight against herself might quickly have been forgotten…But then upon the scene appear the attractive Wickham and the fantastic Collins, both of them proteges of the Darcy family, and each with his particular contribution to the prejudiced picture which is forming in her mind. She contrasts the fawning servility which has recommended Collins to a good living with the sturdy independence which has, by his own account, deprived Wickham of similar advancement. Darcy’s active participation in the separation of Jane and Bingley follows…”
Did She Ignore Clues? • D. J. Dooley Notes in “Pride, Prejudice, and Vanity in Elizabeth Bennet”: • “She is given opportunities to exercise the necessary discrimination, as when Lady Catherine behaves with patrician arrogance and Darcy looks ashamed of her. In the scenes at Hunsford, her original bias against Darcy leads her to disclaim his compliments, interpret his visits on the ground that he has nothing better to do, and attribute their meetings in the park to mischance. It is because of her persistence in a prejudiced view that his proposal comes as a tremendous shock to her. After she has read his long letter of explanation, she reproaches herself for being ‘blind, prejudiced, and absurd. ’”
Chapter 38 • How does Mr. Collins see his relationship with Lady Catherine de Bourgh? • How do you see it?
Chapter 38 • Collins’ thoughts on his marriage • “My dear Charlotte and I have but one mind and one way of thinking. There is in every thing a most remarkable resemblance of character and ideas between us. We seem to have been designed for each other” (Austen 184). • What do you think? • Charlotte’s reaction to her life • “She had chosen it with her eyes open, and though evidently regretting that her visitors were to go, she did not seem to ask for compassion…” (Austen 184).
Chapter 39 • Why does Lydia want to go to Brighton? • What is the update on Wickham’s status? How does Elizabeth take the news? • How would you characterize Lydia in this chapter? Why?
Chapter 40 • As usual, Elizabeth has to update her sister Jane on what has happened. • What is Jane’s reaction to the news about Darcy’s proposal? • What is her reaction to the news about Wickham?
Chapter 40 • Elizabeth’s hesitation • “The general prejudice against Mr. Darcy is so violent that it would be the death of half the good people in Meryton, to attempt to place him in an amiable light. I am not equal to it” (Austen 193). • Is this decision justified? Why or why not? • Mrs. Bennet • How does she react to the loss of Bingley? • Why doesn’t Elizabeth share what she knows about Bingley with her mother?
Chapter 41 • Why is the fact that the regiment is leaving such a tragedy for the young Bennets? • What event causes Lydia to lose what is left of her mind? • How does Kitty react? • What advice does Elizabeth give her father? • How does he react? • What is Elizabeth’s real objection? Think about what Darcy said…
Chapter 41 • Lydia’s daydreams about Brighton • “In Lydia’s imagination, a visit to Brighton comprised every possibility of earthly happiness. She saw with the creative eye of fancy, the streets of that gay bathing place covered with officers. She saw herself the object of attention…” (Austen 198). • Elizabeth and Wickham • How have her feelings for him changed? • How does he know she is onto him?
Chapter 41 • How does the family react to Lydia’s departure? • How do you account for the fact that sisters in the same family can be so different? • Birth Order Characteristics
A Gallery of Fools? • In “Jane Austen’s Fools, ” John Lauber argues that: • “Pride and Prejudice offers an even richer gallery of fools: Collins, Mrs. Bennet, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Sir William Lucas, Mrs. Philips, and Mary and Lydia Bennet (the learned fool and the noisy fool respectively). Against the background of such a mother and such sisters, the heroine’s wit and charm double their effect, while that same family, by arousing the pride and contempt of Darcy, leads him to attempt to save his friend Bingley from marriage with Jane, thus initiating the major action of the book. ”
Chapter 42 • The first two paragraphs of this chapter characterize the Bennets’ marriage as seen by Elizabeth. • What does she say? • What news do they receive from Lydia? • What event does Elizabeth now anticipate? • How do their travel plans change? • How does Elizabeth feel about the change? • Why does she ultimately agree to visit Pemberley?
Chapter 43 • How does Elizabeth feel about Pemberley’s natural surroundings? • Describing Elizabeth’s view of the Pemberley estate, critic Alistair Duckworth writes: • “By traveling first through the park, then looking back over it, Elizabeth is made aware of the permanence of the estate and yet of the necessarily partial and angled view of the individual. She sees that no overall view is possible to the single vision, but that an approximation to such a view is possible provided the individual is both retrospective and circumspect. More than this, it is not only the angle of the view but the distance from the object which renders the individual sight fallible. An abrupt hill may have its steepness emphasized, just as Darcy’s personal abruptness may be exaggerated, by the distance from which it is viewed. ”
Chapter 43 • Who is Mrs. Reynolds? What does she think of Darcy? • Why might her opinion be particularly important? • What does Elizabeth’s embarrassment at Darcy’s appearance suggest?
Chapter 43 • “Her astonishment, however, was extreme; and continually she was repeating, ‘Why is he so altered? From what can it proceed? It cannot be for me, it cannot be for my sake that his manners are thus softened. My reproofs at Hunsford could not work such a change as this. It is impossible that he should still love me’” (Austen 216). • Why do you think he is so changed?
Chapter 43 • Evidence that things are changing between Elizabeth and Darcy • His manners and courtesy toward her aunt and uncle • His desire for her to meet his sister • Elizabeth’s revelation about Wickham’s story
Chapter 44 • What is Elizabeth’s first impression of Georgiana Darcy? • Is she what you expected? • How much should rumors be trusted? • “The suspicions which had just arisen of Mr. Darcy and their neice, directed their observation towards each with an earnest, though guarded, inquiry; and they soon drew from those enquiries the full conviction that one of them at least knew what it was to love” (Austen 221). • What do the Gardiners believe?
Chapter 44 • What does Elizabeth hope regarding Bingley and Jane? See p. 221 • Here where people really know Darcy, what is the general opinion of him? • Here where people really know Wickham, what is the general opinion of him?
Chapter 44 • “But above all, above respect and esteem, there was a motive within her of good will which could not be overlooked. It was gratitude. Gratitude, not merely for having once loved her, but for loving her still well enough, to forgive all the petulance and acrimony of her manner in rejecting him, and all the unjust accusations accompanying her rejection” (Austen 224). • Elizabeth’s gratitude toward Darcy • How would you describe Elizabeth’s state of mind as the chapter ends?
Chapter 45 • How does Miss Bingley receive Elizabeth and Pemberley? • • What does she imply about the Bennet girls on p. 227? What does she attempt regarding Wickham? How does Elizabeth respond? Note that Miss Bingley also hurts Georgiana with her comments What does she suggest to Darcy regarding Elizabeth’s appearance? His response? • “Persuaded as Miss Bingley was that Darcy admired Elizabeth, this was not the best method of recommending herself; but angry people are not always wise” (Austen 229).