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Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Departing Netherfield --
Pride and Prejudice Ch.12 Discussion

Now Elizabeth and Jane make up their minds to return home, lest they completely overstay their welcome at Netherfield. (This would seem to be their mother's design.)

News of their intended departure meets a mixed review throughout the Bingley home. Miss Bingley entreats them to stay for one more day but regrets having done so. Mr. Bingley is saddened at the news of their departure and wishes to persuade them to stay longer. (Mrs. Bennet would be delighted.)

But the reaction to this news that I find interesting is that of Darcy. He is glad for their departure, because Elizabeth Bennet has "attracted him more than he liked". He keeps quite to himself, so as to suggest nothing to Elizabeth to arouse any expectations from her of his regard.

Finally, the girls arrive home - much to the dismay of their mother and much to the delight of their father. (The conversation at Longbourn had lost much of its sense without Elizabeth and Jane.) This very brief chapter ends with hints of a military marriage in the air.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Getting Darcy's Attention --
Ch.11 Pride & Prejudice Discussion

It is with some agony that we watch Caroline Bingley as she desperately tries to catch Darcy's attention. She does everything - from turning down a game of cards to picking up the second volume of the book that Darcy is reading. Knowing that Darcy is not much for dancing, Caroline tries to gain favor with Darcy by speaking out against the idea of having a ball at Netherfield. Still unsuccessful in catching Darcy's attention, Miss Bingley goes so far as to put her "elegant figure" to use, walking about the room, hoping to catch Darcy's eye. When even this fails, one final effort is called in; Caroline gets Elizabeth Bennet to walk the room with her. Finally, Darcy looks up and puts his book down; but one might wonder: Has Miss Bingley really accomplished anything towards her goal in tearing Darcy's attention from his book, if she has only managed to turn his attention to Elizabeth Bennet?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Darcy is Smitten with Elizabeth --
Pride & Prejudice Ch. 10 Discussion

It might be an interesting thought to speculate how things would have been different if Darcy had simply danced with Elizabeth back in Chapter 3. Having injured her pride by refusing to dance with her, Darcy became - in Elizabeth's eyes - a man who could only hold her in contempt.

The result of Darcy's action at Meryton has informed every interaction between the two, at least as far as Elizabeth is concerned. She believes that Darcy despises her, and on account of this, Elizabeth cares very little about what Darcy thinks about her. She does not behave in such a way as to impress him or to attempt to endear herself to him. (One might observe such obvious behavior in one Caroline Bingley.) Elizabeth does not "put on any appearances" before Darcy, and all of this comes together to lead Darcy to find himself more and more "in some danger" of this woman -- "were it not for the inferiority of her connections" (Ch. 10 pt 9).

What I find amusing in all of this - as Darcy finds himself falling more and more for Elizabeth - is that, had he simply danced with her at Meryton, the entire picture would have been completely changed. From that point until now, Elizabeth would have behaved differently, would more than likely have been less intriguing to him, and Darcy would have felt himself "in no danger" of possessing feelings for Elizabeth.

Do you agree? Or do you have different thoughts on this matter?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Great Book Club Salutes

A book club could hardly read a work by Jane Austen without pointing its readers to the huge resource of The Republic of Pemberley. This site has everything: discussion boards, texts, illustrations, jokes - you name it, they've got it. If you are reading Jane Austen, you owe it to yourself to look in and see what the good folks at Pemberley have made available. (The Pemberley discussion board for Pride and Prejudice is available at this link.)