Pride and Prejudice Plot Summary

Antonia Blankenberg
Note by , created almost 2 years ago

This study note gives a chapter by chapter overview of Pride and Prejudice. Each note provides a summary of the storyline, an analysis of the action unfolding and important quotes from the main characters. Throughout the course of the novel, Elizabeth must overcome her personality to find a suitor that will support her, due to her family’s lack of money.

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Antonia Blankenberg
Created by Antonia Blankenberg almost 2 years ago
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Page 1

About the Book:

Pride and Prejudice was written by Jane Austen in 1813.   The story follows Elizabeth Bennet, one of five daughters in the Bennet Family.   Throughout the course of the novel, Elizabeth must overcome her personality to find a suitor that will support her, due to her family’s lack of money.   It can be seen that Elizabeth aims to choose a relationship through love rather than money, defying the usual pattern of marriage in the area.  

Page 2

Chapters 1-4:

Plot: The story opens with the arrival of Mr.Bingley at his new home in Netherfield. This grabs the attention of those living nearby, particularly the Bennet family, which is made up of five single daughters. Upon Mr. Bennet revealing to his family that he has met their new neighbour, they begin to want to know more about his mysterious character. Soon after, the Bennet family and Mr.Bingley, accompanied by his sister Caroline and Mr. Darcy get invited to a ball in Meryton. The eldest Bennet sister, Jane, dances with Mr. Bingley twice during the ball. After dancing, Elizabeth hears him calling Jane “the most beautiful creature” he has ever seen. Mr. Bingley suggests that Mr. Darcy dance with Elizabeth, but Mr. Darcy refuses, saying, “she is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me”. This causes Elizabeth to take an instant disliking to Mr. Darcy, showing hatred toward the pride he displays here. After the ball, the reader learns that Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley have a strong friendship. Upon discussing the ball, Mr. Darcy admits that Jane, while beautiful, “smiles too much”.   Plot analysis: The plot of the novel is set in place by Mr. Bingley moving into town. The Bennet girls, who are in search of a suitor, become excited at the thought of not one, but two rich males moving into their town. The theme of marriage is firmly set in place from the beginning of the story. In these chapters, we see Mrs. Bennet’s desperations to find her daughters a husband, and her excitement at Jane’s dancing with Mr. Bingley. We can see the importance of first impressions and prejudice in these chapters; Mr. Darcy instantly sees the Bennets as a lower social class and Elizabeth instantly sees Mr. Darcy as rude, snobbish, and ignorant.   Important Quotes: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”. Introduces the setting of the novel and sets the plot in place with the arrival of Mr. Bingley to Netherfield.   “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me”. This is said by Mr. Darcy when he is talking about Elizabeth. This establishes the themes of class and pride at the beginning of the novel. We can see a sense of social superiority and snobbishness coming from Mr. Darcy due to his large fortune.

Page 3

Chapters 5-8:

Plot: Chapter 5 opens with the Bennets going to visit the Lucas family in Longbourn. The daughter of the Lucas family is Charlotte Lucas, a twenty-seven year old friend of Elizabeth and her sisters. The girls discuss that, despite dancing with Charlotte first, Mr. Bingley’s attentions turned to Jane rather quickly. Upon discussing Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth reinstates her dislike of his pride and her unwillingness to dance with him, saying; “I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine”. As discussions turn back to Jane, Charlotte becomes concerned that Jane’s temperament and concealing of her adoration of Mr. Bingley may soon turn him away, thinking that she is uninterested. It is soon revealed that the Bennet’s property is entailed, meaning that it can’t be inherited by one of the Bennet sisters, but only by a son. This puts more pressure onto the girls to find a suitor. Jane gets an invite from Mr. Bingley to visit his home at Netherfield. Her mother insists that she travel on horseback rather than in a coach so that she will get soaked in the rain and need to stay at Netherfield for the night. In doing this, Jane gets sick and has to stay in Netherfield. Elizabeth decides to walk to her to visit her and in doing this, shows up with muddy stockings and dress. This is frowned upon by those at Netherfield. After Jane insists she stay the night at Netherfield with her, Elizabeth has dinner with Mr. Bingley, his sister Caroline, and Mr. Darcy. After dinner they discuss Mr. Darcy’s fine library at his home in Pemberley. Mr. Darcy discusses what he requires for a woman to be accomplished and worthy of his hand, revealing his high class and pride. Elizabeth is shocked and retaliates, saying “I never saw such a woman, I never saw such capacity, and taste, and application, and elegance, as you describe, united”.     Plot Analysis: These chapters show the relationship between Elizabeth and her sisters, particularly Jane. Elizabeth rushes to her sister’s aid, despite this forcing her to show up at Netherfield covered in mud. Elizabeth’s walking displays her activeness and her separation from other women of the time. Where other women would take the horse or carriage, Elizabeth just walks the three mile journey. It is revealed that the Bennet house will be passed on to Mr. Collins, the oldest male relative, when Mr. Bennet dies. This shows the gender roles of the era and the importance of marriage in order for women to survive. Though Mr.Darcy is still shown as snobbish in his views of the perfect woman, he is contrasted to Caroline Bingley. When Caroline speaks ill of the Bennet family, he refuses to stoop as low as to insult them in front of Elizabeth. Elizabeth displays her independence in these chapters and her liveliness in debate, as shown by her discussion with Mr. Darcy.     Important Quotes: “I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine” - Elizabeth Bennet. “I never saw such a woman, I never saw such capacity, and taste, and application, and elegance, as you describe, united” - Elizabeth Bennet.

Page 4

Chapters 9-12:

Plot: Mrs. Bennet and Elizabeth’s younger sisters, Lydia and Kitty, come to visit Jane at Netherfield. Upon seeing that Jane’s illness is not serious, Mrs. Bennet insists that Jane stay there as long as possible to earn Mr. Bingley’s affections. During the visit, Mrs. Bennet makes a fool of herself while talking about Jane. Later on, Lydia asks Mr. Bingley to throw a ball at Netherfield, to which he says he will once Jane has recovered. In the coming days, Caroline is seen trying to win Mr. Darcy’s affections. We see her choosing to read books that Mr. Darcy is reading and playing the pianoforte. When she plays the piano, Elizabeth refuses to dance with Mr. Darcy. Her refusal only increases his admiration, and he considers that “were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger.” Jealous of the attention, Caroline continues to speak ill of the Bennet family and their poor connections. Elizabeth is invited to “take a turn about the room” with Caroline. As they walk, Mr. Darcy declines an invitation to join them, saying "You either chuse this method of passing the evening because you are in each other's confidence, and have secret affairs to discuss, or because you are conscious that your figures appear to the greatest advantage in walking; if the first, I would be completely in your way, and if the second, I can admire you much better as I sit by the fire." In discussing Mr. Darcy’s vanity, he says “Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride - where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will always be under good regulation.” Mr. Darcy states himself that his only fault is resentment; “my good opinion once lost is lost forever.” The next day, Elizabeth writes to her mother to say that she and Jane are ready to return home. Mrs. Bennet wants Jane to stay longer with Mr.Bingley, and she refuses to send the carriage. Elizabeth, anxious to be away, insists on borrowing Mr.Bingley’s carriage and she and her sister leave Netherfield.   Plot Analysis: In these chapters, a competition begins to arise between Caroline and Elizabeth for Mr. Darcy’s affections. Of course, Elizabeth has a strong dislike of Mr. Darcy’s pride and vanity and wishes not to be with him. Miss Bingley feels threatened by Elizabeth and knows she cannot compete with Elizabeth on the basis of her virtues or talents. Her means of defense is to bring class-anxiety to bear; by the luck of her birth, Miss Bingley has been stamped as superior. We start to see the Mr. Darcy’s affections for Elizabeth growing in these chapters; he becomes concerned that this affection may ruin his reputation and social status. He reminds himself of the lower social class of the Bennets on several occasions, with it being said that “were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger”. Mrs. Bennet wanting Jane to stay at Netherfield to attract Mr. Bingley highlights the theme of marriage and the societal traits that are imposed on women to attract men. It seems that the best way for Jane to draw attention with the Bennet’s social class is to simply be in Mr. Bingley’s presence for as long as possible. Elizabeth’s stubbornness and prejudice shines through in her talking to Mr. Darcy. Upon barely knowing his relations, she insists that he has “a propensity to hate every body”.   Important Quotes: “Were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger” This quote shows Mr. Darcy’s growing affections for Elizabeth and the pressure placed on him to marry someone of a high social class.   “Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride - where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will always be under good regulation.” - Mr. Darcy.   “My good opinion once lost is lost forever” - Mr. Darcy.

Page 5

Chapters 13-17:

Plot: The Bennets receive a letter from Mr. Collins, the man who will inherit their house, saying that he will soon visit. Mr. Collins is a clergyman who serves for a parish under Lady Catherine de Bourgh, a wealthy noblewoman. He arrives at Longbourn and apologizes for being entitled to the Bennets’ property but spends much of his time admiring and complimenting the house that will one day be his. Mr. Collins continuously praises Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her daughter, who is “of a sickly constitution”. After Mr. Collins is asked to read to the Bennet girls, he reads from a book of sermons. This bores the girls and they start to discuss the militia whom are stationed in the town. Mr. Collins is offended and abandons the reading, choosing to play backgammon with Mr. Bennet. As it turns out, Mr. Collins is in search of a wife. Mrs. Bennet quickly draws his attention away from Jane, saying that she is to be engaged to Mr. Bingley. He soon turns to Elizabeth instead. The day after his arrival, Mr. Collins accompanies the sisters to the town of Meryton, where they encounter one of Lydia’s officer friends, Mr. Denny. He introduces Mr. Wickham, who has just joined the militia, and the young women find Wickham charming. While they converse, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley happen by, and Elizabeth notices that Mr. Wickham and Mr. Darcy are extremely cold to each other. Upon talking to Mr. Wickham, Elizabeth learns that Mr. Wickham was due to inherit part of the Darcy fortune when Mr. Darcy’s father died in order for him to join the ministry. Mr. Wickham says that Mr. Darcy used a loophole in the will to keep the money for himself, leaving Mr. Wickham alone and without the funding he needed. This presented the rivalry between the two men. Elizabeth takes an instant liking to Mr. Wickham and her dislike of Mr. Darcy grows stronger. Upon explaining the situation to Jane, Jane insists that it must have been a misunderstanding between the men, defending Mr. Darcy. Of course, Elizabeth doesn’t agree with her.   Plot Analysis: These chapters introduce two new characters to the plot; Mr. Collins and Mr. Wickham. Mr. Wickham is introduced to act as a counter to Mr. Darcy for Elizabeth in particular. Mr. Wickham’s charm clearly contrasts Mr. Darcy’s pride and Mr. Collins’ foolishness. Elizabeth taking a liking to Mr. Wickham highlights her prejudice. She is completely taken over by his good looks, charm, and confirmation of her feelings towards Mr. Darcy. The theme of class is clearly present in these chapters; we see Mr. Collins speak proudly of Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her high class and social status, despite having a sickly child. Mr. Wickham’s speech about his hatred of Mr. Darcy stems from Mr. Darcy refusing him money and the ability to move up in class.   Important Quotes:   “Mr. Collins was eloquent in her praise. The subject elevated him to more than usual solemnity of manner, and with a most important aspect he protested that he had never witnessed such behaviour in a person of rank - such affability and condescension, as he has himself experienced from Lady Catherine” - Mr. Collins discussing Lady Catherine de Bourgh.   “Almost all of his actions may be traced to pride; - and pride has often been his best friend. It has connected him nearer with virtue than any other feeling. But we are none of us consistent; and in his behaviour to me, there were stronger impulses even than pride” - Mr. Wickham discussing Mr. Darcy.

Page 6

Chapters 18-23

Plot: Much to Elizabeth’s surprise, Mr. Wickham does not attend the ball at Netherfield. Mr.Darcy tells Elizabeth and Lydia that his presence keeps Mr. Wickham away from Netherfield. While dancing with Mr. Darcy, their conversation is awkward, especially when she mentions Wickham, a subject Darcy clearly wishes to avoid. At the end of the dance, Elizabeth meets Caroline, who warns her not to trust Mr. Wickham. Elizabeth assumes that Caroline is only being spiteful, however, and chooses to ignore the warning. Jane then tells her sister that she has asked Mr. Bingley for information about Mr. Wickham. But everything Mr. Bingley knows about him comes from Mr.Darcy and is suspect to Elizabeth. Mr. Collins realises that Mr. Darcy is related to Lady Catherine and quickly gives himself a rude introduction. Mr. Darcy treats Mr. Collins with contempt, but Mr. Collins is so oblivious that he does not notice. Mrs. Bennet speaks loudly of Jane and Mr. Bingley to all of those that attend the ball. The next day, Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth, which she quickly turns down. Mrs. Bennet, who regards a match between her daughter and Mr. Collins as advantageous, is infuriated. Several days after the proposal, Elizabeth runs into Mr. Wickham in Meryton and he apologises for his absence at the ball. He walks her home and she introduces him to her parents. Jane receives a letter from Caroline Bingley, saying that their party are leaving Netherfield indefinitely and that there are plans for Mr. Bingley to marry Mr. Darcy’s sister, Georgiana. The Bennets soon hear that Charlotte Lucas is engaged to Mr. Collins. Mrs. Bennet, of course, is furious with her daughter for allowing a husband to escape her, and as the days go by with no word from Mr. Bingley, Jane’s marriage prospects, too, begin to appear limited.   Plot Analysis: Elizabeth’s prejudice towards Mr. Darcy is clearly visible in these chapters. She doesn’t listen to the people who offer her a different opinion on Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham. She doesn’t listen to the warning that Caroline provides to her or to her sister’s good-natured thoughts. The topic of class is evident in Mr. Collins approaching Mr. Darcy. There is a clear difference between their actions and responses to each other. Elizabeth’s refusal of Mr. Collins illustrates her independence and stubbornness. Elizabeth doesn’t believe in marrying for the sake of security and wealth, contrasting the opinion of Charlotte, who accepts his proposal straight away. Charlotte’s marriage to Mr. Collins offers a grim tone, as if it is a last resort for Charlotte, and contrasts the romantic happiness that Elizabeth will later find. Class issues arise again with Mr. Bingley leaving Netherfield. It is clear that Mr. Darcy and Caroline both consider Jane to be too low on the social hierarchy for him to marry. Instead, he is pushed towards Mr. Darcy’s sister for her higher class.   Important Quotes: “I see nothing in it but your own wilful ignorance and the malice of Mr. Darcy” - Elizabeth Bennet.   “You could not make me happy, and I am convinced that I am the last woman in the world who would make you so” - Elizabeth Bennet refusing Mr. Collin’s proposal.   “I am not a romantic you know. I never was. I ask only for a comfortable home” - Charlotte Lucas.

Page 7

Chapters 24-26:

Plot: Jane receives another letter from Caroline confirming that they will be staying in London for the winter, putting an end to the Bennets’ hopes that he might return to Netherfield. Meanwhile, Mrs. Bennet’s hopes of seeing her daughters wed fade rapidly. Mr. Bennet seems amused: he encourages Elizabeth’s interest in Wickham, so that she, like her sister, can be “crossed in love”. Mrs. Bennet’s brother, Mr. Gardiner, comes to stay with the family. The Gardiners see Jane’s upset at her situation and invite her to come back with them to London to cheer her up. Mrs. Gardiner doesn’t think that Mr. Wickham is a great match for Elizabeth due to the lack of money, though she is fond of Mr. Wickham’s stories of his life around Mr. Darcy’s estate at Pemberley, which is near where Mrs. Gardiner grew up. After Jane and the Gardiners depart for London, Mr. Collins returns from a visit to his parish for his wedding. Elizabeth reluctantly promises to visit Charlotte after her marriage. Jane sees Caroline briefly in London, Caroline acting cold to her. Jane believes that Caroline sees her as an obstacle for Mr. Bingley to enter the Darcy family. It is seen that Mr. Wickham’s affections have turned to a Miss King, who has recently inherited a small fortune. As for Elizabeth, the very limited pain that Mr. Wickham’s transfer of affections causes her makes her believe she was never in love with him.   Plot Analysis: This section introduces the Gardiners, these characters seem to act as more sensible surrogate parents for the Bennet sisters. They aid both Jane and Elizabeth when it is needed, contrasting the actions of Mrs. Bennet. Mrs. Gardiner’s observation about Wickham raises an interesting irony. Wickham is not suitable for Elizabeth for the same reason Elizabeth is not suitable for Darcy. Elizabeth thinks that society’s notions around marriage are unimportant and unnecessary, but she continues to follow them for her family. There is a double standard in how Elizabeth views other relationships; she looks down on Charlotte’s relationship with Mr. Collins, a relationship based on economic security, while accepting that Mr. Wickham wants to marry for money easily.

Page 8

Chapters 27-34:

Plot: In March, Elizabeth travels to Hunsford to see Charlotte and Mr. Collins, spending a night with Jane in London on the way. Elizabeth discusses the nature of Miss King with her aunt. Before Elizabeth leaves London, the Gardiners invite her to accompany them on a tour to the lakes, which she accepts. While staying with Charlotte, they receive a visit from Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s daughter to the house. Elizabeth describes her as looking “sickly and cross”, and laughs at the prospect of her marrying Mr. Darcy. They have dinner at Rosings the next day with Lady Catherine. Lady Catherine takes charge of the conversation, questioning Elizabeth about her and her sisters. The failure of Mrs. Bennet to hire a governess, the girls’ lack of musical and artistic talents, and Elizabeth’s own impudence are all mentioned before the end of the evening. Shortly after her uncle leaves, Mr. Darcy and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, come to visit their aunt, Lady Catherine. During the next dinner at Rosings, Colonel Fitzwilliams stays particularly close to Elizabeth. She tells him of Mr. Darcy’s rude behaviour towards her. After several visits from the men, Charlotte is convinced that Mr. Darcy is in love with Elizabeth, before assuming the same from Colonel Fitzwilliam. On a walk with Colonel Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth hears that Mr. Darcy recently saved his friend from an imprudent marriage. Elizabeth conjectures that the “friend” was Mr. Bingley and the “imprudent marriage” a marriage to Jane. She is furious, viewing Mr. Darcy as the agent of her sister’s unhappiness. As she is sitting alone, thinking about what she has heard from Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy enters, declaring his love for her. His proposal is overly rude, discussing her lower class, family, and inferiority. Elizabeth’s reaction turns to accusing him of sabotaging the relationship between Jane and Mr. Bingley. Mr. Darcy admits to his splitting of the relationship, making Elizabeth even angrier. She then repeats Mr. Wickham’s accusations and declares that she thinks Mr. Darcy to be proud and selfish and that marriage to him is utterly unthinkable, after which Mr. Darcy leaves.   Plot Analysis: In these chapters, Lady Catherine de Bourgh acts as a portrayal of snobbery in the upper class. This is seen by her willingness to criticise people and order people about; “Elizabeth found that nothing was beneath this great Lady’s attention, which could furnish her with an occasion of dictating to others”. Mrs. Gardiner acts as a mothering figure and voice of reason to Elizabeth, telling her to consider Mr. Wickham’s character and goals. It is clear to Mrs. Gardiner that Mr. Wickham allows Elizabeth to betray her conscience, which of course will have bad consequences. Mr. Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth is one of the key moments in the novel. This scene truly displays the nature of the main characters. We can see Elizabeth’s prejudices come through; she doesn’t ask to hear Mr. Darcy’s side to either accusation before blaming him for Jane and Mr. Wickham’s upset. She judges him harshly, having made her mind up on him at their first meeting. On the other hand, Mr. Darcy illustrates his sense of pride in this scene. Of course, he overcomes his pride to admit his affections, but as soon as he gets a negative reaction, he reinstates his status over her family.   Important Quotes: “Elizabeth found that nothing was beneath this great Lady’s attention, which could furnish her with an occasion of dictating to others”.   “‘I certainly have not the talent which some people possess’, said Darcy, ‘of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.’” - Mr. Darcy.   “In vein have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you”. - Mr. Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth.   “ I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly.” - Elizabeth Bennet in response to Mr. Darcy’s proposal.   “Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections? To congratulate myself on the hope of relations, whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own?” - Mr. Darcy.

Page 9

Chapters 35-42:

Plot: Elizabeth runs into Mr. Darcy while on a walk. He gives her a letter in hopes of her reading it. The letter states that he is not trying to propose again, rather that he is trying to clear some of the accusations made the day before. He admits to breaking up the relationship between Jane and Mr. Bingley, arguing that Jane’s attachment to his friend was not yet strong enough to lead to heartbreak. He adds that the lack of wealth in the Bennet family also harmed the relationship between the pair. In relation to Mr. Wickham, he was in an attempt to elope with Mr. Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, in the hopes of obtaining her fortune, a story that held Elizabeth back. Elizabeth leaves the area roughly a week after Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam, bringing Jane home on the way. The two are met by Kitty and Lydia, who talk of nothing but the local soldiers as they ride home in their father’s coach. The regiment is to be sent to Brighton for the summer, and the two girls are hoping to convince their parents to spend their summer there also. It is revealed that Mr. Wickham is no longer interestested in Miss King. Elizabeth tells Jane the truth about Wickham. They debate whether to expose him publicly, ultimately deciding against it. Lydia is invited to spend the summer in Brighton by the wife of Colonel Forster. Mr. Bennet allows her to go, assuming that the colonel will keep her out of trouble. Elizabeth sees Mr. Wickham one more time, discussing Mr. Darcy in a closed manner. Elizabeth joins the Gardiners on their trip to the countryside, agreeing to visit Mr. Darcy’s estate after being told he wouldn’t be there.   Plot Analysis: The letter from Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth opens both of their eyes to their faults. Elizabeth’s reaction to his proposal damaged his pride, allowing him to learn how to deal with rejection. Elizabeth learns that what she thought about Mr. Darcy was wrong and that she was misinformed.The letter is an important step for these characters in overcoming their weaknesses. The letter in this section of the book is extremely important to the characters’ development. After the reception of the letter, the novel contrives to separate Darcy and Elizabeth, giving each of them space in which to adjust their feelings and behavior.   Important Quotes: “‘If you were aware’ said Elizabeth, ‘of the great disadvantage to us all, which we must arise from the public notice of Lydia’s unguarded and imprudent manner; nay, which, has already risen from it, I am sure you would judge differently in the affair’” - Elizabeth Bennet in arguing about her sister’s trip to Brighton.

Page 10

Chapters 43-45:

Plot: As Elizabeth tours the beautiful estate of Pemberley with the Gardiners, she imagines what it would be like to be mistress there, as Mr. Darcy’s wife. Mrs. Reynolds, the housekeeper at Pemberley, shows them portraits of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham as children. She goes on to say that Mr. Darcy, as a child, was “the sweetest, most generous-hearted boy in the world.” She adds that he is the kindest of masters: “I have never had a cross word from him in my life.” Elizabeth is surprised to hear such an agreeable description of a man she considers unbearably arrogant. As they continue around the grounds, Mr. Darcy shows up, joining them on their walk. He offers Elizabeth the opportunity to see Georgiana, which she happily accepts. Elizabeth is visited the next day by Georgiana and Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy invites Elizabeth and the Gardiners to dine at Pemberley, which they do the following day. Caroline acts spitefully towards Elizabeth, bringing up the movement of the militia to Brighton, a topic which Elizabeth aims to avoid. Caroline attempts to criticize Elizabeth to Mr. Darcy, and makes a light remark about how he once thought Elizabeth “rather pretty.” Mr. Darcy replies that he now considers Elizabeth “one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance".   Plot Analysis: Elizabeth visiting Pemberley is a huge step in her progress in marrying Mr. Darcy. We can see their relations starting to improve and Georgiana also starting to like Elizabeth. Pemberley acts as a symbol of its owner; “large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground . . . in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned.” The descriptions of Mr. Darcy given by Mrs. Reynolds help to change his character in Elizabeth’s mind; a hidden side of Mr. Darcy is revealed, allowing Elizabeth to see how much she has misjudged him in the past. This, followed by his surprise arrival and courteous behaviour, alters how Elizabeth sees him. Georgiana Darcy is introduced to the reader for the first time. She is described as very shy and quiet, contrasting the figures of Caroline Bingley and Elizabeth. Earlier in the novel she is described as a possible wife for Mr. Bingley, but from her character, readers can clearly see that she is no competition to Jane.   Important Quotes: “Large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground . . . in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned” - Pemberley grounds.

Page 11

Chapters 46-49:

Plot: When Elizabeth returns to where she is staying, there are two letters waiting for her, both from Jane. The first letter states that Lydia has eloped with Mr. Wickham, the second says that there is no word from the couple and that they may not be married yet. If they were not to be married, this would bring a huge amount of shame onto the Bennet family. When looking for the Gardiners, Elizabeth runs into Mr. Darcy, telling him the story. At first, Mr. Darcy feels guilty for having not exposed Mr. Wickham before now, Elizabeth feeling the same. When she finds the Gardiners, they immediately head back to Longbourn. On the way home, Mr. Gardiner attempts to reassure Elizabeth that Mr. Wickham will definitely marry Lydia because he will not want his own career and reputation ruined. Elizabeth replies by telling them generally about Wickham’s past behavior, without revealing the details his dealings with Georgiana. Upon reaching home, Mrs. Bennet is hysterical and reveals that Mr. Bennet has gone to London to search for Lydia. In private, Jane assures Elizabeth that there was no way anyone could have known about their Lydia’s relations with Mr. Wickham. They examine the letter that Lydia left for Colonel Forster’s wife, in which she looks forward to signing her name “Lydia Wickham.” Mr. Gardiner soon follows Mr. Bennet to London to attempt to help him. He writes back to the Bennets to say that their searches have been unsuccessful and that Mr. Bennet will be returning home. After Mr. Bennet returns, Mr. Gardiner writes saying that they have been found and that Mr. Wickham has agreed to marry Lydia if they provide him with an income. Mrs. Bennet is excited at having Lydia married, despite the cost. Her happiness is tempered when her husband refuses to allow Mr. Wickham and Lydia to visit or to provide his newly married daughter with money to purchase clothes.   Plot Analysis: We can see the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy starting to grow closer. Mr. Darcy is the first person she tells about her letter from home and trusts him with the details. They share the guilt surrounding the fact that they didn’t warn anyone about Mr. Wickham’s nature. Though she and her husband are obviously at fault, Mrs. Bennet reacts to the news of Lydia’s elopement by blaming Colonel Forster. The Bennet parents come across as highly inadequate at this point in the text—Mrs. Bennet because of her stupidity and Mr. Bennet because of his refusal to take responsibility for his children. Even during the crisis, it is Mr. Gardiner who steps in to take action to resolve the issue.   Important Quotes: “You need not send them word at Longbourn of my going, if you do not like it, for it will make the surprise the greater, when I write to them, and sign my name “Lydia Wickham.” What a good joke it will be! I can hardly write for laughing.” Lydia Bennet

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Chapters 50-61:

Plot: Elizabeth realizes that her opinion of Mr. Darcy has changed so completely that if he were to propose to her again, she would accept. She understands, however, that, given Lydia’s embarrassing behavior and the addition of Mr. Wickham to the Bennet family, such a proposal seems extremely unlikely. Lydia visits home before moving up north with Mr. Wickham. During the visit, she is completely oblivious to the trouble she has caused. One of the details she slips about the wedding is that Mr. Darcy was present. Mrs. Gardiner tells Elizabeth that it was Mr. Darcy that found Lydia and Mr. Wickham and that paid them to marry, dropping hints about Mr. Darcy’s love for her. Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley arrive at Longbourn to talk to the Bennets. After a few meals together, Mr. Bingley proposes to Jane, making her “the happiest creature in the world.” Lady Catherine de Bourgh soon visits the Bennets, wanting to speak to Elizabeth. She visits because she heard rumours of Mr. Darcy wanting to marry her. Elizabeth argues straight away, but also refuses to promise not to marry Mr. Darcy. A short time later, a letter arrives from Mr. Collins that suggests that an engagement between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth is imminent. The next time Mr. Darcy visits, he speaks to Elizabeth. She thanks him for saving Lydia’s good name. He re-admits his feelings of love, and Elizabeth admits hers.That night, Elizabeth tells Jane about Mr. Darcy’s intention to marry her. Jane, stunned, cannot believe that Elizabeth truly loves him. Elizabeth promises her that she does. The next day, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth walk together again, and that night he goes to Mr. Bennet to ask him for his consent to the marraige. After the weddings, Bingley purchases an estate near Pemberley, and the Bennet sisters visit one another frequently. Lydia and Wickham remain irritable, asking Mr. Darcy for money and visiting Jane and Mr. Bingley so frequently that even they grow tired of them. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth continue to consider the Gardiners close friends, grateful for the fact that they brought Elizabeth to Pemberley the first time and helped to bring the two together.   Plot Analysis: Elizabeth’s reaction to Mr. Darcy’s proposal shows her development since the last proposal. The Lydia-Wickham affair serves as a reminder of Mr. Darcy’s original objection to marrying Elizabeth, and she believes that he must certainly consider it a symptom of the poor breeding of her family and an example of the embarrassment that association with her family would bring him. The relationship renewal between Jane and Mr. Bingley shows that Mr. Darcy no longer cares about the lower social status of the Bennets and that he no longer controls the relationships of others. Lady Catherine is the last of the many obstacles facing the romance between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth; Elizabeth’s confrontation with her marks the heroine’s finest moment.   Important Quotations: “‘You can now have nothing farther to say,” she resentfully answered. ‘You have insulted me, in every possible method. I must beg to return to the house.” - Elizabeth Bennet to Lady Catherine de Bourgh.   “You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.” - Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth.   “Exactly the man, who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her” - Elizabeth Bennet’s thoughts on Mr. Darcy.