Pride and Prejudice follows the lives of the five Bennet sisters and their parents, especially focusing on the second eldest daughter Elizabeth. Though weary of her mother's desperation to place each of her daughters in good marriages, Elizabeth finds herself drawn to Mr. Darcy, a proud and wealthy gentleman who is attracted to Elizabeth because of her intelligence and wit. Amidst the drama of their friends' and families' lives, both must overcome preconceived notions and expectations in this story that explores class, love, and social change.
Charlotte Lucas continues to speak to Mr. Collins for the rest of the day. Early the next morning, Mr. Collins sneaks off goes to Lucas Lodge to propose to Charlotte. Charlotte accepts the proposal of Mr. Collins. Sir William and Lady Lucas approve of the match. Mr. Collins leaves the next day without informing the Bennets of his engagement to Charlotte. Later in the day, Charlotte tells Elizabeth about her engagement to Mr. Collins. Elizabeth is shocked. Charlotte asks her if she believes that she is the only woman Mr. Collins might want to marry. Elizabeth tries to accept Charlotte's decision, and tries to be understanding when Charlotte explains her reasons for marrying Mr. Collins. Elizabeth is very unhappy about Charlotte's decision because and thinks it is an unsuitable and poor match for Charlotte.Sir William Lucas comes to the Bennet estate to announce the engagement of Charlotte to Mr. Collins. The family, especially Mrs. Bennet, is surprised and does not believe him. Mrs. Bennet has to be convinced by Sir Lucas that the news of the engagement is true, and insists that it is Elizabeth Mr. Collins wants to marry.
Elizabeth loses respect for Charlotte Lucas due her decision and the friendship begins to diminish. Jane and Elizabeth have not heard anything at all from Mr. Bingley and are concerned as to whether or not he will return to Netherfield. Mr. Collins returns again to Longbourn to make preparations for his marriage to Charlotte. The Bennets are not happy to see him and are glad he spends most of his time at Lucas Lodge.
In chapter twenty four, Jane receives another letter from Miss Bingley. It confirms that Mr. Bingley will definitely not return to Netherfield anytime soon. The letters states also that the family is growing closer to Miss Georgiana; someone they hope will marry Mr. Bingley. Jane still refuses to believe that the Bingley sisters and Mr. Darcy are responsible for persuading Mr. Bingley not to propose to Jane.
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are engaged to eat dinner with the Lucas family that night. Charlotte begins speaking to Mr. Collins and patiently listens to him speak and indulges his long speeches. In the afternoon, Mr. Collins sneaks over to the Lucas house and asks Charlotte to marry him; she accepts. Elizabeth is shocked that Charlotte has accepted Mr. Collins' proposal. Charlotte replies that she is not romantic.
In chapter twenty three, Mr. Lucas enters Longbourn to announce the engagement of his daughter Charlotte to Mr. Collins. Mrs. Bennet tells Mr. Lucas that Mr. Collins wants to marry Lizzy. Sir Lucas tolerates Mrs. Bennet's questions, insisting that his daughter is to marry Mr. Collins, and then leaves Longbourn. After Sir Lucas leaves, Mrs. Bennet is livid with anger. A week passes before she is able to speak to Elizabeth without scolding her, a month passes before she is able to keep from being rude to the Lucas'. Mr. Bennet, on the other hand, now views Charlotte Lucas as foolish as his wife. Jane relates that she is not surprised over the match, but Elizabeth cannot confide in Charlotte any longer, as she does not respect the decision Charlotte has made. Mrs. Bennet is distressed both over the engagement of Mr. Collins and of the absence of Mr. Bingley from Netherfield. Whenever Mrs. Bennet sees Charlotte Lucas speaking to Mr. Collins, she is convinced that they are anticipating the death of Mr. Bennet, and the day that they will inherit Longbourn.
In chapter twenty four, Jane receives an answer to her letter; it in Miss Bingley tells her that they will not be returning to Hertfordshire. Jane's hopes for a continued romance with Mr. Bingley are crushed. Miss Bingley brags that she and Georgiana are becoming close. Elizabeth shows concern for her sister and contempt for Miss Bingley. Elizabeth feels Bingley has sacrificed his happiness with Jane to please his sisters and Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth considers Charlotte's marriage to Mr. Collins "unaccountable." Jane defends Charlotte's choice in Mr. Collins. Jane and Elizabeth discuss the fact that the Bingley sisters want Mr. Bingley to marry Miss Georgiana, Darcy's sister. Mr. Bennet jokes at Jane's broken heart to Elizabeth. Mr. Bennet jokes to Elizabeth that Mr. Wickham will "jilt [her] credibly."
Charlotte's engagement to Mr. Collins provides the reader with one of the two opposite views of marriage that repeat throughout the book: love versus economic gain. Charlotte has a rather cynical and pragmatic view of marriage. She is resigned to the fact that she is twenty seven, and not likely to get a better offer of marriage. Charlotte knows that she will have to marry well in order to provide herself with a future income. Charlotte wants to maintain a comfortable lifestyle and has no particular hope of finding a husband she loves. Charlotte's view is that it is better not to know the particulars of your potential spouse. She thinks it is better to marry someone you don't know very well. Charlotte views marriage as "the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune." Charlotte further believes that marriage is "uncertain of giving happiness," a view that is in direct contrast to Elizabeth and Jane.Charlotte is an example of a typical upper class young woman of Austen's time Elizabeth, on the other hand, is the exception. Elizabeth is willing to sacrifice a steady future income in the hopes of finding a man she can love. Elizabeth's actions seem a bit rash and silly when compared to Charlotte's practical views, however it is Elizabeth who will eventually end up with both love and marriage and a good income.
Chapter twenty four highlights the main differences between Jane and Elizabeth. Even when faced with the letter from Caroline Bingley, Jane refuses to believe that their intentions are bad. Jane believes that Miss Bingley or Darcy would never try to purposely talk Mr. Bingley out of marrying her. Jane convinces herself that Bingley's attachment to her was all her imagination.
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's ineptitude as parents is also highlighted once again. Faced with a daughter who is suffering from a broken heart, Mrs. Bennet constantly reminds Jane of Mr. Bingley and continually asks when he is to come back to Netherfield. Mr. Bennet jokes to Elizabeth that Mr. Wickham will soon jilt her just as credibly as Mr. Bingley did Jane. His sarcastic response shows that he thinks nothing of Jane's broken heart.