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Free Study Guide: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Free BookNotes

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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: LITERATURE SUMMARY

CHAPTER 58

Summary

Darcy returns from London and visits Longbourn. When Elizabeth thanks him for his kind intervention in Lydia’s affair, Darcy blushes because he had not expected that Mrs. Gardiner would tell Elizabeth about his part in the marriage. Darcy then proposes to Elizabeth again. This time Elizabeth happily accepts his proposal. As they talk over their past relationship, many misunderstandings are cleared. Darcy humbly informs Elizabeth that he has apologized to Bingley for his former rash advice about Jane and assured his friend that Jane truly loves him.

Notes


This is a very significant chapter, for the climax of the plot is reached when Elizabeth accepts Darcy’s proposal. Even when they have confessed their love, this intelligent pair pose and answer questions to each other, try to analyze their feelings, and review their past actions. It is important to note that Elizabeth and Darcy have undergone significant changes in the novel, putting aside their pride and prejudices; in contrast, Jane and Bingley have remained static characters.


CHAPTER 59

Summary

On the same night, Elizabeth confides to Jane about her engagement. Jane is initially shocked because she was under the impression that Elizabeth still disliked Darcy. Elizabeth assures her sister that her feelings have changed, her prejudices have vanished, and she is very much in love with him. Jane is genuinely happy for her sister.

The next evening Darcy asks Mr. Bennet’s consent to marry Elizabeth. Mr. Bennet grants him the permission grudgingly, for he believes Darcy to be an insolent, proud man. To improve her father’s opinion, Elizabeth reveals Darcy’s kind intervention in getting Lydia married. On hearing the news of Darcy’s basic goodness, Mr. Bennet becomes happy for his favorite child. Mrs. Bennet, on hearing the news, is overjoyed. She quickly forgets that she has hated Darcy in the past; she now shows an admirable awe for her future son-in-law. Mr. Bennet says that he likes all his three sons-in-law; ironically, he says he probably likes Wickham the most.

Notes

Elizabeth’s engagement to Darcy is a surprise to many people. Jane is shocked because she is still of the belief that Elizabeth cannot stand Darcy. Mr. Bennet, unsure of Darcy’s character, questions whether he is the right choice for his favorite daughter; for once, he seems to genuinely care about one of his children’s welfare when he says, "Let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life." Ironically, his words reflect the sad truth of his own marital situation. He does not want his sensible daughter to be trapped in an unsuited marriage. Mrs. Bennet immediately changes her opinion about "the most disagreeable man;" she is overjoyed that another of her daughters is about to be married.


CHAPTERS 60 - 61

Summary

Elizabeth writes to Mrs. Gardiner informing her about her engagement and thanking her for giving the details about Lydia’s affair. Mr. Bennet writes to Mr. Collins asking him to console Lady Catherine since Elizabeth is going to marry Darcy; the woman is outraged at the news. Miss Bingley writes a phony letter to Jane on how elated she is at the news of the engagements of both Jane and Elizabeth. In contrast, Darcy’s sister writes a long loving letter to Elizabeth; her happiness is heartfelt.

Even though Mrs. Bennett is delighted to have her oldest three daughters married, she still does not become sensible. Jane and Bingley decide to live in Derbyshire, rather than Netherfield, in order to avoid being too close to Mrs. Bennet. Kitty spends time a lot of time with her two oldest sisters and their husbands. Mary is content to sit at home. Elizabeth and Georgiana get along very well, and the latter improves under the care of her devoted and sensible sister-in-law.

Wickham and Lydia are incorrigible; they beg Elizabeth for favors, but she politely refuses. Miss Bingley is totally crushed that Darcy has not married her; in order not to lose contact with him, she visits Pemberley and dons a pseudo-affection for the couple. Lady Catherine is bitter about the marriage and writes an abusive letter to Darcy. For some time after this there is no communication between them, until Elizabeth prevails on Darcy to forgive his aunt. They are on very intimate terms with the Gardiners. Both Darcy and Elizabeth are fond of the couple who were accidentally instrumental in uniting them.

Notes

The final chapter shows ties up the plot with Jane Austen making sure that there are no loose ends in the novel. The reader is provided with information about all the key characters, with the relationship of Elizabeth and Darcy being highlighted. Elizabeth, established at Pemberley, gets along well with her sister-in-law. Kitty is delighted to visit with her older two married sisters; it is a welcome break from the Bennet household. Even though Mrs. Bennet wish has come true, with her three oldest daughters married, she is still the crude and insensible character she was at the beginning of the novel. In contrast, Elizabeth is greatly changed, having lost her pride and her prejudice.


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