Pride and Prejudice Study Guide

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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.

Chapters Thirty Five and Thirty Six, Brief Summary

Mr. Darcy delivers a letter to Elizabeth in which he explains both his interference between Jane and Bingley, and his supposed bad treatment of Wickham. The letter explains Darcy's reason for persuading Bingley not to marry Jane was that he did not think that Jane had any "particular regard for Bingley." Mr. Darcy does acknowledge that is was wrong of him to keep Jane's presence in London a secret from Mr. Bingley.Darcy relates how Wickham' was provided with an excellent education and a chance at becoming a clergyman. Wickham, however had no desire to become a clergyman and asked instead for money to "study the law." Darcy gave him 3,000 pounds and Wickham resigned his claim to a career in the church. Wickham quickly gave up studying law and squandered the money. When he needed more money, Wickham went to Darcy and told him that he would become a clergyman if Darcy would provide him with the position in the church that had originally been promised. Darcy refused, and Wickham was furious. Wickham, with the help of Miss Darcy's governess Miss Younge, then managed to convince Darcy's younger sister Georgiana into an elopement with him when she was just fifteen. Darcy happened to visit his sister before the intended elopement date and she ended up confessing the plan to him. Darcy prevented the elopement, and kept Wickham from stealing Georgiana's fortune.

Elizabeth reads Mr. Darcy's letter with prejudice but chastises herself at having not seen Wickham's true character from the start. Elizabeth grows ashamed of her past behavior and the way she has incorrectly judged both Mr. Wickham and Mr. Darcy. She further acknowledges to herself that Jane's feelings, "though fervent, were little displayed."

Elizabeth begins to see that she has judged Darcy completely wrong and she grows ashamed, of her behavior toward him, concluding that she has been "blind, partial, prejudiced, [and] absurd." All this in spite of the fact that Elizabeth's always prided herself on her keen judgment of a person's character. Elizabeth realizes that her vanity, pride, and prejudice have been the cause of her miscalculation.

Chapter Thirty Five and Thirty Six, Detailed Summary

The next morning Elizabeth decides to go for a walk. Mr. Darcy delivers a letter to Elizabeth in which he explains both his interference between Jane and Bingley, and his supposed bad treatment of Wickham. The letter explains Darcy's reasons for persuading Bingley not to marry Jane and that his main reason for preventing Bingley from proposing to Jane was that he did not think that Jane had any "particular regard for Bingley." Mr. Darcy has no bad feelings about breaking up the two, but does acknowledge that is was wrong of him to keep Jane's presence in London a secret from Mr. Bingley.In response to the charge that Darcy has injured Mr. Wickham, Darcy relates how Wickham' was provided with an excellent education. Before his death, Darcy's father asked Darcy to make Wickham a clergyman and that this should provide him with a good living. Wickham, however had no desire to become a clergyman and asked instead for money to "study the law." Darcy gave him 3,000 pounds and Wickham resigned his claim to a career in the church. Wickham quickly gave up studying law and squandered the money. When he needed more money, Wickham went to Darcy and told him that he would become a clergyman if Darcy would provide him with the position in the church that had originally been promised. Darcy refused, and Wickham was furious. Wickham, with the help of Miss Darcy's governess Miss Younge, then managed to convince Darcy's younger sister Georgiana into an elopement with him when she was just fifteen. Darcy happened to visit his sister before the intended elopement date and she ended up confessing the plan to him. Darcy prevented the elopement, and kept Wickham from stealing Georgiana's fortune.

In chapter thirty six, Elizabeth reads Mr. Darcy's letter with prejudice. In it he still expresses no remorse for what he had done to Jane and Bingley, explaining that he had "resolved [Jane] to be false." Elizabeth chastises herself at having not seen Wickham's true character from the start. She now realizes how wrong she was and that Wickham's designs on Miss King were purely "mercenary." Elizabeth grows ashamed of her past behavior and the way she has incorrectly judged both Mr. Wickham and Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth acknowledges to herself that Jane's feelings, "though fervent, were little displayed." Elizabeth reads the letter "with a strong prejudice against everything he might say."

After reading Darcy's account of his dealings with Wickham, Elizabeth does not know how to react and tries to convince herself that his account must be false. She puts away the letter and resolves not to think about it. Later, Elizabeth examines the letter line by line and slowly begins to acknowledge how easily she was deceived by Mr. Wickham. Elizabeth begins to rethink her previous judgment of Wickham, and realizes that his communications to her were both improper and inconsistent.

Elizabeth begins to see that she has judged Darcy completely wrong and she grows ashamed, of her behavior toward him, concluding that she has been "blind, partial, prejudiced, [and] absurd." All this in spite of the fact that Elizabeth has always prided herself on her keen judgment of a person's character. Elizabeth realizes that her vanity, pride, and prejudice have been the cause of her miscalculation.

Elizabeth then rereads the part of the letter in which Darcy explains his actions in separating Jane from Bingley. Elizabeth now realizes that Darcy was right, and that there was reason to be suspicious of Jane's attachment to Bingley, considering Jane's reserved manner and her mother's atrocious behavior at the Netherfield ball.

Chapters Thirty Five and Thirty Six, Analysis

The hints of Wickham's insincerity and lack of honor have now been confirmed by Darcy's letter to Elizabeth. But though Elizabeth disliked Darcy, considering what she knew about their respective characters, she should not have so willingly believed Wickham's account. Elizabeth should have suspected that there was more to the story; however his attentions to her, and Darcy's previous rebuke, blinded Elizabeth to the truth.Elizabeth was correct, however, in her belief that Darcy had played a big role in preventing Bingley from proposing to Jane. However, Elizabeth's partiality for her sister blinded her to the fact that Jane, with her always calm and cheerful disposition, really did nothing to demonstrate her particular affection for Bingley. Elizabeth had assumed that Darcy's actions were only the result of his class consciousness, but never considered that Darcy may have simply wanted to prevent his friend from the pain of rejection.

These two chapters continue the climax of the novel, and begin the resolution phase where the true character of the main players in the novel will be revealed. It is now evident that Elizabeth's judgments have been clouded by her pride throughout the novel. Wickham's true character is revealed to her, and she is forced to believe that there was reason for an outsider to question Jane's attraction to Bingley. Elizabeth realizes that she has shown a complete lack of objectivity in judging both Darcy and Wickham, something that she now regrets very much, both judgments being a result of her pride.

At this point in the novel, all questions as to Darcy's character seem to be cleared up, and he comes off as the good guy, where Wickham appears to be the cad. Future chapters will solidify this idea.

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