Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice Quotes

Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Pride and Prejudice published in 2002.
Chapter 1 Quotes
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

With this, one of the most famous opening lines in literature, Pride and Prejudice begins. Austen will quickly move into greater specifics, as she describes the goings-on at the Bennet house, but it is telling that it is a general statement, and not a description of a particular family in general, that sets the tone for the book. It is ironic that Austen's "universal" is, of course, limited to a particular moment in history and to a particular, upper-class social environment. However, for that group, this fact is so widespread as to be universal as well as obvious - even if another aspect of that environment is that people tend not to explicitly talk about such facts.

In Austen's universe, people seek order and stability through two main venues: fortune and marriage. Men who have a certain income, and thus can comfortably imagine starting a family, seek wives who can give one to them: women, on the other hand, who are barred from holding fortunes themselves, can only find an equivalent stability in marrying a man who is wealthy enough to support them. For the rest of the book, Austen will explore in intricate detail the lives of a single family and the people around them, but here she suggests that their story is not unique but typical and representative - and that this makes their story more, not less, interesting and relevant.


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Chapter 3 Quotes
His character was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and everybody hoped that he would never come there again.
Related Characters: Fitzwilliam Darcy
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

Elizabeth is about to overhear Darcy say to Bingley that Elizabeth isn't pretty enough for him to ask her to dance, so he'll prefer to ask no one. Darcy has acted proud and aloof throughout the dance, and this is the last straw for Elizabeth. Here, Austen screens a description of Darcy through the opinions of "everybody" at the party. Elizabeth may be making a relatively quick judgment about Darcy's character, but at least she is not alone in her judgment. Indeed, the fact that certain prejudices are shared by the majority of people in this small community is often what will allow them to be sustained for so long.

Darcy's coldness is not just looked down upon by the partygoers because he is rude; his attitude also suggests that he does not consider the others worthy of his attentions or of his politeness. As a result, their natural response is to act the same way towards him. Pride often kicks in, in the book, as a defense mechanism to prevent feelings of shame or inferiority, and here is the first major example of such a reaction.

Chapter 4 Quotes
Oh! you are a great deal too apt, you know, to like people in general. You never see a fault in anybody. All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in your life.
Related Characters: Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet (speaker), Jane Bennet
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

As Jane and Elizabeth debrief on their experiences at the ball, Jane expresses surprise that Mr. Bingley would have paid her so much attention. Elizabeth exclaims that it is natural for him to do so, given all Jane's gifts. Elizabeth then criticizes Bingley's sisters, while Jane is reluctant to say anything bad about them. Here Elizabeth makes a more general statement about Jane's willingness to see the positive in everyone, and to fail to criticize - not because she is holding her tongue, but because she really is so slow to judgment. Elizabeth is implicitly contrasting Jane with her own tendency to judge others, a tendency shared by many in their community.

In Austen's work, families often are composed of quite different elements, their members possessing distinct character traits, rather than being joined under a shared ethos. The differences between Jane and Elizabeth (not to mention the other Bennets) give Austen the opportunity to explore the intricacies of family life but also to develop some of her major interests, including that of prejudice, since each character reacts so differently to it.

Chapter 7 Quotes
Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty ... But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes ... he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness.
Related Characters: Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

Elizabeth has walked three miles to Netherfield in order to look after Jane, who has fallen ill, and Darcy - who is at Netherfield as well - is impressed both by her insistence on running after her sister (something that other characters find unladylike) and by how pretty she looks as she arrives, anxious and eyes shining. Darcy too had leapt to conclusions the first time he had seen Elizabeth, affected by the assumptions of his class and social environment that found her wanting in several aspects. Now, however, when he considers her more closely, he finds that she is pleasing both physically and in terms of her spirit and intelligence. While this passage is an example of Darcy's slow maturation, as he opens his mind to the possibility of liking Elizabeth, it also underlines the way men saw and judged women at the time, frankly and even like property that they might be interested in.

Chapter 15 Quotes
Having now a good house and a very sufficient income, [Mr. Collins] intended to marry ... he meant to choose one of the daughters, if he found them as handsome and amiable as they were represented by common report. This was his plan of amends—of atonement—for inheriting their father's estate; and he thought it an excellent one, full of eligibility and suitableness, and excessively generous and disinterested on his own part.
Related Characters: Mr. Collins
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Collins has inherited Mr. Bennet's estate since women, at this time in England, do not have the right to inherit property. In some ways, Mr. Collins is thus simply fulfilling the general statement that began the book: now that he has a considerable income, he will go in search of a wife. But he also fancies himself a fount of kindness and generosity, as he seeks to restore some sense of fairness to the dealings.

The tone throughout this passage, however, is undeniably ironic. Austen may not believe that there is anything intrinsically wrong about primogeniture (the rule by which an estate passes to the first-born son or other male relative), but she certainly can see how silly it is for Mr. Collins to think himself so generous and kind, when he is really just planning to share with one of the daughters the riches that he took away from them in the first place. Austen also pokes fun at Mr. Collins's high-minded self-regard in general, suggesting that he holds himself a bit too much in esteem.

Chapter 16 Quotes
When Mr. Wickham walked into the room, Elizabeth felt that she had neither been seeing him before, nor thinking of him since, with the smallest degree of unreasonable admiration. The officers of the —shire were in general a very creditable, gentlemanlike set, and the best of them were of the present party; but Mr. Wickham was as far beyond them all in person, countenance, air, and walk.
Related Characters: Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet, George Wickham
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

Elizabeth and Mr. Wickham find themselves at dinner together, and before Wickham sits down she watches him and compares him to his fellow officers. Just as Elizabeth was quick to pronounce a judgment on Darcy's demeanor from afar, now she quickly comes to an opinion about Mr. Wickham based largely on how he looks and acts, and although she doesn't know him very well. Here we see how prejudice does not always have to be a negative sentiment: indeed, one can easily be prejudiced in favor of someone or something. Although we see the scene through Elizabeth's eyes, we are meant to question her unbridled admiration. Is Wickham really the most admirable of all the officers, and in all the traits that Elizabeth describes? Austen is sympathetic towards Elizabeth's assumptions, but she also cautions the reader against being caught up in the same current.

Chapter 19 Quotes
Your portion is unhappily so small that it will in all likelihood undo the effects of your loveliness and amiable qualifications. As I must therefore conclude that you are not serious in your rejection of me, I shall choose to attribute it to your wish of increasing my love by suspense, according to the usual practice of elegant females.
Related Characters: Mr. Collins (speaker), Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

In this excruciating scene, Mr. Collins proposes marriage to Elizabeth, and, as she attempts to reject the proposal again and again, simply brushes off the rejection. He knows that he is rich and Elizabeth comparatively poor: everything he has been taught tells him that there can be no rational reason for her to reject his offer (only the more irrational question of love and suitability). Mr. Collins is blinded by this businesslike and rationalistic (though in his defense quite widespread) understanding of marriage. He even weighs Elizabeth's beauty and amiability against her paltry income to conclude that he must be right.

Mr. Collins's speech grows increasingly ridiculous from beginning to end. He finally does bring in evidence from more romantic sources, but only as further evidence in his favor, as he refuses to believe he can fail to see the truth. By portraying Mr. Collins as so utterly blind and silly in his stubbornness, Austen reminds us that considering marriage as a business transaction can lead to truly awkward consequences - even if she does not embrace the other extreme of passionate love.

Chapter 22 Quotes
Mr. Collins, to be sure, was neither sensible nor agreeable; his society was irksome, and his attachment to her must be imaginary. But still he would be her husband. Without thinking highly either of men or matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want.
Related Characters: Mr. Collins
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Collins's next marriage proposal is to Elizabeth's friend Charlotte Lucas. Unlike Elizabeth, Charlotte accepts. She too understands that Mr. Collins is far from the ideal husband, that he is petty, pompous, and can even be ridiculous. But here she attempts to explain her reasoning for why she will marry him, in the absence of love or admiration. Charlotte has a true realist's attitude towards marriage. She knows that since she is not wealthy, it will be her greatest source of stability, and as a well-educated young lady, she knows just how important stability and order are in order to allow her to pursue the few things that women are allowed to pursue in this society.

While Austen had ridiculed Mr. Collins's businesslike view of marriage, Charlotte's attitude is treated with greater sympathy. Working within a system that disadvantages women, Charlotte makes a calculated move that will actually allow her more freedom than if she remained single and less well-off. Elizabeth may not agree with Charlotte's choices - and we will see later a more ideal scenario for marriage - but we are not meant to entirely dismiss or scorn Charlotte's decision either.

Chapter 29 Quotes
Her air was not conciliating, nor was her manner of receiving them such as to make her visitors forget their inferior rank. She was not rendered formidable by silence; but whatever she said was spoken in so authoritative a tone, as marked her self-importance
Related Characters: Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Collins has, smirkingly, warned Elizabeth that it's just as well that she has only a simple dress, since Lady Catherine enjoys making distinctions of class and rank even more obvious than they already are. Now, having arrived at the home for dinner, Elizabeth realizes just how true that is. Lady Catherine seems to almost gloat about her social position - and about how much higher her position is than that of her guests. Rather than make them feel comfortable and at home, she prefers to act as if class differences are a natural mark of hierarchy in character and worth as well.

Elizabeth isn't the kind of person who would allow such attitudes to embarrass or shame her. She holds her head high in such situations: while Lady Catherine's pride is boastful, Elizabeth is shown to be elegant and proper.

Chapter 33 Quotes
If his own vanity, however, did not mislead him, he was the cause, his pride and caprice were the cause, of all that Jane had suffered, and still continued to suffer. He had ruined for a while every hope of happiness for the most affectionate, generous heart in the world; and no one could say how lasting an evil he might have inflicted.
Related Characters: Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Jane Bennet
Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:

Speaking with Colonel Fitzwilliams, Elizabeth learns that Darcy - a friend of his - has intervened to stop Bingley from making an "impudent marriage." Elizabeth realizes that he must be talking about Bingley's relationship with her sister Jane. She is appalled, and immediately takes the opportunity to condemn Darcy with all her judgment. She particularly criticizes his pride, as she assumes that he considers the Bennet girls too lowly and unworthy for a gentleman like himself and his friend Bingley.

Although this understanding of marriage was relatively common at the time, Elizabeth takes a quite different opinion. She argues internally that Jane's character is so unblemished that anyone would be lucky to marry her, regardless of his fortune. It is Jane's unquestionable goodness that makes Darcy's actions such a crime in Elizabeth's eyes (not to mention her sense of pride in response to the notion that her family is more unworthy than others). Darcy sinks even lower in her estimation, even as she decides not to try to confirm her assumption by talking to Fitzwilliam.

Chapter 34 Quotes
"In vain I have 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." ... He spoke well; but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed; and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority—of its being a degradation—of the family obstacles which had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding
Related Characters: Fitzwilliam Darcy (speaker), Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:

Darcy arrives at the Bennet home to make an offer of marriage to Elizabeth, something that shocks her entirely. Although Elizabeth admires Darcy's eloquence, her pride is deeply hurt by just how much he lingers on everything that counts against her, everything in spite of which he still, strangely, loves and wants to marry her. Darcy says that his feelings are real and strong, but then he lingers over her inferior social situation and her embarrassing family. As he enumerates the list, he seems cold and calculating: his first words about his "ardent" admiration and love begin to seem totally out of place, if not a painful joke.

We see here, however, just how knotty a problem it was at this time for people from even slightly different social stations to marry. Darcy believes he is simply being honest, and that by showing how society strives against such a marriage, he will flatter Elizabeth - since he still wants to marry her even so. But Elizabeth, proud as she is, cannot understand how Darcy can be both in love with her and conscious of her inferiority. Such an attitude towards a future partner utter disqualifies him from her consideration. Of course, Elizabeth already knows exactly what she thinks about Darcy, so it is doubtful that anything he would say would be considered positively or generously by her.

Chapter 36 Quotes
I, who have prided myself on my discernment!—I, who have valued myself on my abilities! who have often disdained the generous candour of my sister, and gratified my vanity in useless or blameable mistrust.—How humiliating is this discovery!—Yet, how just a humiliation! ... Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned. Till this moment, I never knew myself.
Related Characters: Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy, George Wickham
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:

Elizabeth has read Darcy's long letter explaining himself, and although she only slowly begins to realize its truth, she soon accepts it and then turns to a contemplation of her own character and of her own mistakes. This interior monologue, in which Elizabeth flits from thought to thought, is a kind of epiphany: thanks to the letter, she sees her past and those around her in an entirely new light. It is only now that Elizabeth understands the full implications of her prejudice. She had always thought this attitude superior to that of Jane's, because it allowed her to be a good judge of character and separate the good from the ill. Now, however, she recognizes that her mistrust was completely baseless, and that she would have done well to follow the unprejudiced attitude of her sister.

In addition, Elizabeth has to come to terms with the painful realization that she has acted precisely opposite to the way she should have, prizing one man over another and courting unsavory values as opposed to defensible ones. It was her pride, among other things, that led to her stubborn judgments of Darcy, as well as to her prejudice in favor of Wickham. Elizabeth's mistake is thus humiliating because of the consequences it has for how she has treated other people; but it is also so painful because she realizes only now just how little self-knowledge she really had.

Chapter 40 Quotes
There certainly was some great mismanagement in the education of those two young men. One has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it.
Related Characters: Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet (speaker), Fitzwilliam Darcy, George Wickham
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:

Elizabeth is relating to her sister Jane everything that has happened and what she has learned since reading Darcy's letter. Here, she makes some remarks that sum up much of what she has realized about the two men, Darcy and Wickham: while Wickham has succeeded in convincing everyone around him that he is good, only Darcy is truly a good person. Darcy and Wickham have been paired at various points in the book: not only are they Elizabeth's two main love interests, but they allow Austen to develop a more nuanced account of prejudice and judgment by considering both men and both cases. Austen is not against all judgment: indeed, Elizabeth's pronouncement here can be considered another judgment itself. Instead, the book makes it clear that initial prejudice can often cloud rational thinking and prevent true, proper judgment - a process that only time, patience, and humility will allow to unfold.

Chapter 41 Quotes
Our importance, our respectability in the world must be affected by the wild volatility, the assurance and disdain of all restraint which mark Lydia's character. Excuse me—for I must speak plainly. If you, my dear father, will not take the trouble of checking her exuberant spirits, and of teaching her that her present pursuits are not to be the business of her life, she will soon be beyond the reach of amendment.
Related Characters: Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet (speaker), Mr. Bennet, Lydia Bennet
Page Number: 223
Explanation and Analysis:

Lydia has accepted an invitation from Colonel Foster to join the regiment at Brighton. It is not considered proper for a young woman to run after soldiers in such a way: even Elizabeth, who is quick to flout societal pressure in other ways, recognizes how important it is for Lydia's and the family's reputation that she calm down and refrain from acting in such a way.

Mr. Bennet is a largely "hands-off" father: that is, tucked away behind his newspaper, he lets things unfold as they will, without seeking to interfere in them in any way. Here Elizabeth begs him to reconsider this parenting strategy. She knows that if Lydia is allowed to do whatever she likes, she will never learn to to act properly, and soon she will be set in her ways - there is only a small window of time left. Elizabeth has taken it upon herself to look after her family's reputation, since her father is, in her eyes, failing to lead the family as he should, and she knows that this decision will only further contribute to their appearance of inferiority in the eyes of others - as well as contributing to Lydia's sorry character.

Chapter 43 Quotes
Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!
Related Characters: Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy
Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:

Elizabeth is touring Pemberley, Darcy's estate, and she is impressed by the beauty of the place. Elizabeth has never been vain or silly (like her sister Lydia), and this is one of the few times that she seems enraptured by something so material as an estate. Still, Pemberley is closely linked in her mind with Darcy as a person, and as she tours it she cannot help but imagine a life that might have been possible for her, had she not made the mistake of rejecting his proposal.

Elizabeth does not really feel at home with her own family, and she knows that as a young lady without a fortune she cannot create a home for herself without a husband. At Pemberley she indulges in the thought that being with Darcy would have allowed her to have this kind of home, with all the order and stability that stems from it, and even to be "mistress" of a place. Elizabeth's fanciful thoughts are less rational than is usually the case for her, but they are meant to show just how powerful the symbols of class and class stability can be for someone in a vulnerable position at this time.

Chapter 44 Quotes
When she saw him thus seeking the acquaintance and courting the good opinion of people with whom any intercourse a few months ago would have been a disgrace—when she saw him thus civil, not only to herself, but to the very relations whom he had openly disdained ... the difference, the change was so great, and struck so forcibly on her mind, that she could hardly restrain her astonishment from being visible.
Related Characters: Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy
Page Number: 251
Explanation and Analysis:

Darcy has come to see Elizabeth and Jane with their relatives the Gardiners, and has even brought his sister Georgiana. The Gardiners are just the example of the kind of inferior relations that Darcy had mentioned when making his awkward proposal of marriage. Now that Elizabeth has rid herself of her prejudice against Darcy, she sees his tone and actions with new eyes: but it also seems true that Darcy's own attitude has shifted. A great part of the reason that Elizabeth had long wanted nothing to do with Darcy was that he looked down on her and her family, making her natural, even defensive feeling of pride kick in: now that reason seems no longer to exist. We are meant now to take Elizabeth's judgments at her word, having witnessed her epiphany and painful acceptance of the fact that she judged too quickly before. Now, instead, she pays close attention to what surrounds her so as to make the most accurate judgment possible.

Chapter 47 Quotes
Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we may draw from it this useful lesson: that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable; that one false step involves her in endless ruin; that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful; and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the other sex.
Related Characters: Mary Bennet (speaker), Lydia Bennet
Page Number: 275
Explanation and Analysis:
Lydia has run away with Mr. Wickham, and the entire Bennet family is frantic as each member attempts to track her down and save her from utter ruin. Here, though, Mary Bennet attempts to siphon off something useful from this embarrassing, shameful family incident, by making a broader moral judgment. The Bennet women may think themselves at least somewhat stable, but Lydia's story has taught them that reputation and social judgment are incredibly precarious, and it doesn't take much to lose a reputation that one has spent years cultivating. A woman's "virtue" is highly prized in this society, and for women who do not possess a fortune or other coveted possessions, virtue is what they may cling to in order to assure a decent, and even moderately independent, life for themselves.
Chapter 48 Quotes
The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison of this ... They agree with me in apprehending that this false step in one daughter will be injurious to the fortunes of all the others; for who, as Lady Catherine herself condescendingly says, will connect themselves with such a family?
Related Characters: Mr. Collins (speaker), Mr. Bennet, Lydia Bennet, Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Page Number: 281
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Collins has written a letter of condolences to the Bennet family, but he hardly seems to strike a tone of compassion or understanding. Instead, his attitude seems almost gleeful, as he carefully delineates just how Lydia's ruinous decision will affect not only her life, but also the prospects of each of her sisters.

Lady Catherine, of course, should be known to us by now as proud in the worst ways, acutely aware of subtle class differences and eager to maintain those differences in any way possible - without taking to account more significant (at least in Austen's view) elements of character and morality that should support, not compete with, class distinctions. That Mr. Collins has embraced such a viewpoint speaks, in one sense, to his own sense of pride: having been refused marriage by one of the Bennet sisters, he takes some satisfaction in seeing the family fall from grace. But his attitude is also meant to stand in for societal opinions in general. In this environment, great danger can stem from one young woman's careless actions. Marriage for these women is not just a frivolous matter; without other means of freedom, it determines what kind of lives they can hope to have, so anything that jeopardizes their marriage prospects must be treated with the utmost seriousness.

Chapter 49 Quotes
It is all very right; who should do it but her own uncle? If he had not had a family of his own, I and my children must have had all his money, you know; and it is the first time we have ever had anything from him, except a few presents. Well! I am so happy! In a short time I shall have a daughter married. Mrs. Wickham! How well it sounds!
Related Characters: Mrs. Bennet (speaker), George Wickham, Lydia Bennet, Mr. Gardiner
Page Number: 290
Explanation and Analysis:

Thanks to Mr. Gardiner, Lydia's honor and reputation have been saved: Mr. Wickham will marry Lydia, as long as Mr. Bennet pays him a certain amount annually. Suspecting that Mr. Gardiner has already paid Wickham a good deal himself, Elizabeth and Jane wonder how they can ever repay him. Mrs. Bennet, though, does not linger over such questions of gratitude or debt. She is shown here at her most shallow, caring largely for appearances - how impressed others will be that Lydia is marrying such a man. She doesn't think of what kind of character Wickham must have: for Mrs. Bennet too marriage is a kind of transaction, and while Austen doesn't entirely disagree with this point of view, she shows just how much she disapproves of taking that idea to this extreme.

Chapter 52 Quotes
They owed the restoration of Lydia, her character, every thing, to him. Oh! how heartily did she grieve over every ungracious sensation she had ever encouraged, every saucy speech she had ever directed towards him. For herself she was humbled; but she was proud of him. Proud that in a cause of compassion and honour, he had been able to get the better of himself.
Related Characters: Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Lydia Bennet
Page Number: 309
Explanation and Analysis:

Elizabeth learns from Mrs. Gardiner's letter that it was in fact Darcy who negotiated Lydia's and Wickham's marriage and paid Wickham off, asking only that Mr. Gardiner take the credit so that his generosity might remain secret. Now Darcy grows in even greater estimation in Elizabeth's eyes. She is once again reminded of how she allowed too-quick prejudices to cloud her opinion of him, whereas now she has subtle but concrete proof of Darcy's goodness and humility.

Elizabeth recognizes, too, that pride doesn't always have to be a vice: you can be humble yourself but proud of other people, in which case the sentiment becomes virtuous. She knows that Darcy isn't perfect - he has the tendency to be proud just like her - but she realizes that he has conquered his innate sense of class differences in order to help a family in desperate need. As a result she only admires him more.

Chapter 55 Quotes
in spite of his being a lover, Elizabeth really believed all his expectations of felicity to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the excellent understanding, and super-excellent disposition of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste between her and himself.
Related Characters: Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet, Jane Bennet, Charles Bingley
Page Number: 328
Explanation and Analysis:

Bingley has proposed marriage to Jane, and Elizabeth is overjoyed. Here she shares some of what she has learned about what is important to her in marriage and in family life, lessons that she has developed over the course of the novel. Elizabeth doesn't share the opinion of some, like Lady Catherine, who believe marriage to be a confirmation of undeniable class differences, and therefore also a chance to look down on those who have less attractive options. Nor does she share her mother's view, that marriage is the chance to claw one's way up the social ladder and then grow smug about one's success.

However, Elizabeth is also wary of the opposite understanding of marriage, such as Lydia's heady, irrational escape based on her feelings for Wickham. Instead, Elizabeth promotes a mix of reason and love. Indeed, she believes that love can be even stronger when founded on real, true facts, principles of character and personality. Elizabeth's enumeration of the reasons Jane and Bingley may be happy might sound a bit cold to a modern reader; but her balanced, rational approach shows her maturity in a world in which marriage is probably the most important choice, and the freest one, that a young lady can make.

Chapter 56 Quotes
I have said no such thing. I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.
Related Characters: Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet (speaker), Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Page Number: 338
Explanation and Analysis:

Lady Catherine de Bourgh claims that Elizabeth has tricked her nephew Darcy into proposing to her. She also demands that Elizabeth refuse any offer of marriage from Darcy, who is meant to marry Lady Catherine's daughter. Elizabeth here refuses. She is shocked by Lady Catherine's brute frankness and scheming attitude towards marriage, and in response to the suggestion that she is not "good enough" for Darcy, her natural pride kicks in to enough of an extent for her to hold her ground against the older woman.

Elizabeth claims here that Lady Catherine is meddling in affairs that do not concern her at all. Because she is from a wealthier background than Elizabeth, she seems to believe that she can say what she want, and holds that Elizabeth must out of shame bow to Lady Catherine's wishes. While the novel respects class differences to a certain extent, it also wishes to show how inappropriate such blatant displays of class friction can be, and how unpleasant they can become.

Chapter 57 Quotes
That is what makes it amusing. Had they fixed on any other man it would have been nothing; but his perfect indifference, and your pointed dislike, make it so delightfully absurd!
Related Characters: Mr. Bennet (speaker), Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy
Page Number: 344
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Bennet has called Elizabeth in to share with her a rumor that is going around about Elizabeth's and Darcy's possible engagement. Mr. Bennet thinks that such a thought is wild and hilarious. He is absolutely certain that Darcy has no interest in Elizabeth, and that the same is true from his daughter to Darcy. Mr. Bennet has largely stayed out of his daughter's love interests and affairs before, and he doesn't meddle in them now, but his comment reflects the fact that he does have an opinion on what goes on even if he doesn't interfere.

Elizabeth is embarrassed that her father has miscalculated so wildly. Like Elizabeth, in fact, he has judged the possible relation between her and Darcy and found there to be nothing that could possibly develop between them. Mr. Bennet's comment is thus meant to show once again how wrongheaded quick prejudice can be, not to mention painful for the parties involved.

Chapter 58 Quotes
What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you, I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.
Related Characters: Fitzwilliam Darcy (speaker), Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet
Page Number: 349
Explanation and Analysis:

Elizabeth and Darcy have finally met in private again, and Elizabeth breaks propriety to confess that she knows about all Darcy did for Lydia. She is willing to risk being overly frank because she wants Darcy to know just how much gratitude she has for him, and just how much her prejudiced feelings towards him have shifted since their last meeting. Darcy, in turn, is utterly gracious as he reflects on Elizabeth's refusal of his offer of marriage. The refusal was a blow to his pride, of course, but it helped him to realize just how much he needed to be humbled, just how much he needed to ease his sense of pride and entitlement. Elizabeth has grown in his estimation since he asked her to marry him, and both of them have learned important lessons in the meantime.

Chapter 59 Quotes
I know that you could be neither happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed your husband; unless you looked up to him as a superior. Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger in an unequal marriage ... My child, let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life.
Related Characters: Mr. Bennet (speaker), Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet
Page Number: 356
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Bennet is initially shocked and confused when Elizabeth tells him the news of Darcy's proposal, and of her changing attitudes towards him. Indeed, his reaction and that of the entire Bennet family underline just how rare it is for someone's prejudices to change. But Mr. Bennet, unlike others, finds this change of heart a sign of Elizabeth's complexity of character, rather than of any kind of inconsistency.

Mr. Bennet has remained in the background for much of the novel. Here, though, we learn that he has a surprisingly nuanced understanding of what marriage means. He does not assume that men are naturally more intelligent and more witty than women: indeed, he clearly considers his daughter more clever and interesting than most. However, Mr. Bennet does see this quality as somewhat of a liability: he assumes that the man must always be considered superior in marriage, so the problem for Elizabeth becomes how she might find someone who is even more talented than she is. Mr. Bennet's remarks thus show a great deal of respect and care for his daughter, even as they also rely on certain assumptions about what an "equal" marriage entails that stem from sexist social realities.

Chapter 60 Quotes
The fact is, that you were sick of civility, of deference, of officious attention. You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking, and looking, and thinking for your approbation alone. I roused, and interested you, because I was so unlike them.
Related Characters: Elizabeth (Eliza, Lizzy) Bennet (speaker), Fitzwilliam Darcy
Page Number: 359
Explanation and Analysis:

Elizabeth and Darcy finally directly broach the topic of their mutual prejudice and suspicion, as well as how those feelings began to loosen for each of them. Here Elizabeth suggests that it is precisely because she was not like other upper-class women, because she did not align with the assumptions of how ladies in her station should act, that Darcy slowly found himself attracted to her - even though Darcy always officially scorned women who failed to align with propriety. Elizabeth has a different view of marriage than many of her peers: she puts a great deal of emphasis on character, and this passage highlights how important she finds mutual attraction based on personality rather than on looks or on economic or social factors. Still, the fact that it took so long for Darcy to realize that he felt differently reminds us just how strongly he was influenced by the social ideas of what marriage should look like.

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