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 Fifty Three, Fifty Four, Fifty Five, and Fifty Six, Brief Summary

Lydia and Wickham leave for Newcastle. Mrs. Bennet is upset because she will not be able to see Lydia for a long time.Mrs. Phillips says that Mr. Bingley is returning to Netherfield. Jane tells Elizabeth that she does not want to see much of him. Elizabeth thinks that Mr. Darcy may have told Bingley that he now approves of the match. Mr. Bingley and Darcy pay a visit at Netherfield. Elizabeth begins to hope that Darcy still has affection for her but is upset by Mrs. Bennet's cold treatment of Darcy, knowing what he has done to help the Bennet family. Mrs. Bennet invites them for dinner.

In chapter fifty four, Bingley sits next to Jane at dinner. Elizabeth is convinced that he still loves her. Mrs. Bennet is sure that Bingley and Jane will soon be married. Mr. Darcy is going back to London but will return in 10 days.

In chapter fifty five, Mr. Bingley calls again, and the day after he joins them again for dinner. Mrs. Bennet contrives to get Jane and Bingley alone together, but is unsuccessful. The next morning, Mr. Bingley joins Mr. Bennet to go hunting, and he stays for dinner. Mrs. Bennet is successful in arranging for Jane and Bingley to be left alone together. When Elizabeth walks into the drawing room she finds them there alone in earnest conversation. Bingley quickly leaves. Jane tells Elizabeth that she is the happiest woman in the world. All are very happy. Bingley now comes to visit Netherfield every day

In chapter fifty six, Lady Catherine unexpectedly comes to visit. She tells Elizabeth she has heard rumors that Darcy and Elizabeth will soon be married. Elizabeth answers her questions curtly. Lady Catherine tries to forbid Elizabeth to marry Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth refuses to make such a promise.

Chapters Fifty Three, Fifty Four, Fifty Five, and Fifty Six, Detailed Summary

Lydia and Wickham leave for Newcastle, where his new regiment is stationed. Lydia's good-byes are not very nice and she relates that now that she is a married woman she will not have much time for letter writing but that her sisters may write to her as they have nothing else to do. Mrs. Bennet is sad that she will not be able to see her daughter for a long time and seemingly cannot understand why Lydia must move so far north.

Mrs. Bennet hears from Mrs. Phillips that Mr. Bingley is planning to return to Netherfield in a few days. Jane tells Elizabeth that she does not want to see much of him because she does not know that Bingley might have had a change of heart concerning a romance with her. Elizabeth, however, after having seen him while on vacation with the Gardiners, is sure that he is still in love with Jane. Elizabeth suspects that Darcy might have told Bingley that he now approves of the match. Mrs. Bennet plans to invite Bingley to dinner. Jane is obviously disturbed by the possibility and is hurt by the constant mentioning of his name.

Mr. Bingley and Darcy come to pay a visit at Netherfield. Everyone is thrilled to see Bingley, but Darcy is simply described as the tall, proud one. Elizabeth hopes that Darcy's affections for her have been renewed. When the gentlemen come to Longbourn, Mrs. Bennet treats Bingley warmly, but is mean and indifferent to Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is hurt by Mrs. Bennet's cold reception of Darcy considering how much he has done for the Bennet family. Elizabeth is also mortified that her mother shows little regard for Lydia behavior and proudly announces Lydia and Wickham's marriage. Darcy speaks little during the visit. When the gentlemen are leaving, Mrs. Bennet invites them for dinner.

In chapter fifty four, Bingley sits next to Jane at dinner. Elizabeth is convinced that he still loves her. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth do not speak, as they are seating too far apart from one another. Elizabeth is anxious and wants to speak to him very badly. Mrs. Bennet is convinced that the dinner went well, and that Jane and Bingley will soon be married. Mr. Darcy is going back to London but will return in 10 days.

In chapter fifty five, Mr. Bingley calls again, and again joins the family for dinner. Mrs. Bennet tries to get Jane and Elizabeth alone, but is unsuccessful. The next morning Mr. Bingley joins Mr. Bennet hunting, and stays again for dinner. Mrs. Bennet is this finally successful in arranging for Jane and Bingley to be left alone. When Elizabeth walks into the drawing room she finds them in earnest conversation. Bingley leaves and Jane tells Elizabeth that they are to be married. The announcement is made; everyone is happy for Jane. Bingley continues to visit Netherfield every day

In chapter fifty six, early the next morning Lady Catherine unexpectedly comes to visit. Lady Catherine is, as usual, domineering and arrogant in her conversation. She tells Elizabeth she would like her company for a walk outside. Lady Catherine tells Elizabeth that she has come because of rumors that Darcy and Elizabeth will soon be married. Elizabeth answers her inquiries curtly and without revealing the fact that Darcy has not proposed to her again. Lady Catherine tries to forbid Elizabeth to marry Mr. Darcy, but Elizabeth is insensible to her entreaties and threats. Lady Catherine is furious and leaves.

Chapters Fifty Three, Fifty Four, Fifty Five, and Fifty Six, Analysis

The four chapters satisfy the reader's desire for a resolution regarding the romance between Bingley and Jane. There was little doubt, leading up to these chapters, that a marriage would come about. The pace of the novel speeds up, and days and events pass by quickly. Austen speeds up her pace of writing in these final chapters, and brings quick resolution to the events that had formerly remained in question. The pace of the book is now falling quickly from the climax to the resolution.

By Elizabeth's accounts, the reader is aware of Bingley's continued affections for Jane and that his love for her has not diminished. The reader also knows that the only reason Bingley had not proposed in the first place was due to the interference from Darcy. After seeing the change in Darcy's character in the preceding, the reader guesses that he not only has remedied Lydia's situation, but Jane's as well.

Bingley obviously return to Netherfield to see Jane, though Jane does not see it herself and feel uncomfortable at the repeated mention of his name. Now that Darcy has given Bingley is blessing, the only hurdle that remains is the internal feelings Jane feels at her broken heart. All that remains is for Bingley to convince Jane and her family of his love.

Because Darcy comes with Bingley to Netherfield, the reader also suspects that there will be a resolution between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. However, because Darcy and Elizabeth are given little chance to speak, and because her mother treats him so coldly, a question remains about the future of their romance.

It is in Lady Catherine's arrival that the reader is given little doubt as to what will soon transpire. For surely Lady Catherine will tell Darcy about the insolence shown to her from Elizabeth when she would not promise to refuse Darcy's proposal of marriage.

Lady Catherine's attempt to prevent the marriage between Darcy and Elizabeth will only give Darcy hope that, should he again propose, that Elizabeth will accept. While Elizabeth believes that Lady Catherine's influence may prevent Darcy's proposal, it is likely to the reader that her interference will have the opposite affect on him. Lady Catherine then plays the part of facilitator in the marriage through her attempts at preventing it. Austen shows that virtue and a good heart are rewarded in the end.

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