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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: LITERATURE SUMMARY
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.
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.
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
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.
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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