Saturday, May 5, 2012

How Many Ways Can We Embarrass Elizabeth Bennet?


I am only supposed to be writing one to two sentence summaries on the most important event of the chapter, but either I do not want to decide on the most important event or am having way too much fun.

Chapter XVIII
Upon arriving at the ball at Netherfield, Elizabeth regretfully learns that Mr. Wickham is not present; and later, during an encounter with Mr. Darcy, she brings up the matter of Mr. Wickham, causing Darcy much grief, as he obviously does not care to discuss the subject.   Elizabeth hears a different side of the story through Jane from Bingley pertaining to Wickham and Darcy, but Elizabeth believes there to be misinformation. 

Once he learns that Darcy is the nephew of Lady Catherine, Mr. Collins rejects Elizabeth’s good council not to introduce himself to him, but he insists that clergy are equal to high society and, therefore, do not need to follow established rules for formality.   She painfully watches him make his acquaintance.

Even worse is Mrs. Bennet’s behavior at supper when she boasts to Lady Lucas how perfect Mr. Bingley is for Jane and, when they marry, to the benefit of the younger girls that perchance they may meet other wealthy men.

And probably even more humiliating for Elizabeth is when her sister Mary took advantage of the karaoke machine for numerous songs in a most unpleasant way, only to next be upstaged by Mr. Collins in a long, self-gratifying speech. 

For Elizabeth, it is as if her family actually conspired to reveal themselves so inadequately - giving more ammunition for Darcy and Bingley’s two sisters to use against her and her family.

Chapter XIX
Short and sweet: Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth, she declines.  He thinks it is trendy for young women to first reject a proposal, especially given that he believes himself to be a great catch, perfectly established with family connections and that Elizabeth really does not have any better option given her lowly status in life; but she insists of her truth.

Chapter XX
Mrs. Bennet thinks she is going to convince Elizabeth otherwise through her husband, and immediately involves him, to which he tells Elizabeth that “ - Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”  Mr. Collins is later regretful of his behavior.

Chapter XXI
Jane receives a letter from Caroline Bingley informing her that she, her sister, and Mr. Bingley have left Netherfield for the winter without any intention of returning and, furthermore, writing that her brother has an interest in Darcy’s sister, as they all do, and look forward to them being together.  Jane is distraught, but Elizabeth is certain that this is a scheme because his affections for Jane are obvious; although what is also obvious is that the Bennets are not affluent or distinguished enough for the Bingley's high society.  Jane is content to believe that Caroline is only misled.

Chapter XXII
Good news!  Mr. Collins proposes to Charlotte Lucas, since for several chapters she has been gracious towards him each time she has been around.  While she accepted his proposal for an established living that she never expected, her family is delighted and thinks about how Charlotte’s good fortune cannot come soon enough.  Elizabeth is surprised, and Mrs. Bennet wonders why Mr. Collins did not at least consider a different Bennet girl, like Mary.  Oh, well.



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