Monday, November 4, 2013

Pride & Prejudice Discussion, Chapters 25-30

This will be my week for a pretty short, somewhat disjointed discussion post.

These chapters feel very much like transition chapters to me. They get Elizabeth out of Hertfordshire and to the next major scene of action--Hunsford. But there are still some great things that happen.

One of my favorite characters gets introduced: Mrs. Gardiner. I like how she seems to be the voice of reason for Elizabeth. In fact, she strikes me as a kind of mother-figure to Elizabeth, giving wise advice when she really needs it since, clearly, Elizabeth will not get any wise guidance from her mother, and her father doesn't seem to give advice at all--just sarcastic comments. I like the narrator's comment at the end of one of their conversations: "a wonderful instance of advice being given on such a point, without being resented."

I don't think I've ever seen these conversations between Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth in a film adaptation, which I can understand because they are not strong, plot-driving conversations, but I find that is what makes them especially interesting to me. I think I was actually surprised the first time I read this that Mrs. Gardiner counsels Elizabeth to not get mixed up with Wickham because he doesn't make enough money to support her. This conversation, coming right after Charlotte has accepted Mr. Collins because he makes a good living, does seem to balance out Elizabeth's strong negative reaction to it. If kind, sensible, sympathetic Mrs. Gardiner thinks its important to consider finances in marriage (as well as love), then perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to judge Charlotte.  The conversations also serve to show how prejudiced Elizabeth's judgments actually are!  She is very much influenced by how much she likes the person: "But Elizabeth, less clear-sighted perhaps in this case than Charlotte's, did not quarrel with him for his wish of independence."

I don't know why, but I love the fact that they go to the theater and then have a discussion about love there. I know that it would probably not "flow" well in a film, but I would love to have this dramatized. :)

The dinner at Lady Catherine's house is hysterical. Lady Catherine is quite rude. Though she is not foolish in the same way as Mrs. Bennet, Lady Catherine can be just as ill-mannered, in her own way, as Mrs. Bennet. Elizabeth and Jane are not the only ones with embarrassing relatives. I think that Lady Catherine gives Darcy his own share of an embarrassing relative, though he may not realize it yet.

Of course, the big surprise at the end of Chapter 30 is that Mr. Darcy shows up. He visits the Collins's almost as soon as he arrives, which gives Charlotte another reason to think that Mr. Darcy is interested in Elizabeth. It is amazing how many times Charlotte tells Elizabeth that she thinks Mr. Darcy might be interested in her and yet Elizabeth is still shocked when Darcy declares his love for her. It's almost like Elizabeth doesn't really listen to Charlotte or take her seriously.  When Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam visit the cottage, I wish that the narrator would give us a clue to what Darcy is thinking. (I know, I know, those couple of earlier insights were necessary for dramatic irony, and here we already know he likes her....but still.... ). Why does he sit "for some time with out speaking to any body"? Why does he barely speak to Elizabeth?? I want to know what he is thinking. :-)  Perhaps he is still firm in his original resolution to not show interest in her anymore in case she would get the wrong idea. Perhaps he thinks that he is "over" her? (But if that is so, why does he make a beeline to see her as soon as he arrives?)

Anyway,  these are just a few unorganized thoughts. I am looking forward to reading yours!


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