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Pride & Prejudice Chapter 34

Topics: Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Love, Confession, Marriage, Jane Austen / Pages: 5 (1104 words) / Published: Aug 13th, 2008
In chapter 34, we are led into an insight to Darcy and Elizabeth’s inner worlds respectively. Through this, we are able to effectively put ourselves into the author, Jane Austen’s framework of mind while portraying Darcy’s courtship of Elizabeth.
This chapter explores the inner worlds of each individual character listed above; how they feel towards each other and how their opinions of each other has or has not changed since their last meeting. In this essay, we aim to explore the different themes in this chapter and each individual character analysis.
In this chapter, we consider Darcy’s proposal to be the turning point of “Pride & Prejudice”. Before Darcy’s proposal, Elizabeth main preoccupation with Darcy centres around dislike, but after it, we are able to detect a budding love towards him. However, Elizabeth’s attitude towards him corresponds to her perceived judgment of him, the supposed role he played in disinheriting Wickham and his admitted role in disrupting the romance between Jane, and Bingley (without listening to his side of story). As Elizabeth yields to her prejudices, Darcy allows his pride to take over. In his proposal, he actually spends more time reinforcing the fact that Elizabeth is of a lower status, rather than asking for her hand.
This chapter tackles on Elizabeth’s view on marriage. In context to the reasons why other characters have gotten married, Elizabeth is an oddity, as she did not accept Darcy’s proposal, even though he is rich enough to support her financially and improve her social status, unlike her close friend, Charlotte. It is not without reasons that Elizabeth chose to turn Darcy down; views him as an agent of Jane‘s unhappiness, and her unhappiness at his perceived ‘ill-treatment’ of Wickham.
In this chapter, it is the emphasis on social status that ultimately made Elizabeth reject him on such harsh terms, albeit his sincerity. Darcy’s prejudice against Elizabeth’s family and poor social status blinds him, prior to this, to her many virtues. His constant mentioning of the inferiority of her family in the hopes of using this to further praise her, only backfires and results in the deterioration of their relationship. With this we can understand that this prejudice that Mr. Darcy still has about social class is one of the key flaws which has to be resolved before he is able to take Elizabeth’s hand in marriage.
In this chapter, we will explore how the first impression actually foreshadows the later events in the story; indirectly influences how the events pan out to be. A deciding factor as every character has only a chance to make a first impression. One such instance would be that Elizabeth’s pride makes her misjudge Darcy on the basis of a poor first impression, at the same time guilty of prejudice against him. The idea of first impression is also exemplified in the instance of Wickham, whereby Elizabeth has such a good impression of that she believes almost every word that he says; refuses to believe Miss Bingley and Darcy’s opinions of Wickham (prejudiced against them).
Mr. Darcy confesses to Elizabeth and was rejected, due to Elizabeth’s apparent dislike of him being so full of himself, his treatment of Wickham and the role he played in breaking up Jane and Bingley. Overcame his pride and finally acknowledged his love for Elizabeth, which is in stark contrast to his behaviour in chapter 12, whereby he finds himself attracted more to her and finds that ‘she had attracted him more than he liked’. He was nervous about his confession to Elizabeth. This can be in the text where it states that ‘The pause was to Elizabeth’s feelings dreadful.’ He confesses to Elizabeth, but still retains his arrogance. This also worsened his relationship with Elizabeth, which can be seen in the chapter about how ‘He is not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness then of pride.’ Darcy was also honest enough to tell Elizabeth the truth and his reason, unlike some of the other characters who put on a façade. Darcy admitted to separating Bingley and Jane, even though he is pursuing Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. Darcy is a bit ignorant about why Elizabeth rejected him. This can be seen as evidence that Darcy still has not overcome the issue of pride. As he is unconscious of how his arrogant remarks had insulted Elizabeth. This can be seen in this quote from the chapter saying that ‘Darcy asked Elizabeth why she is ’ “with so little endeavour in civility.” ’
On the other hand, Elizabeth rejected Darcy’s advances; surprised when learning of his love as she did not expect someone of such high prestige and status to be in love with someone of a lower status than him. Her dislike for him fuelled further upon Darcy’s admittance to breaking up Jane and Bingley’s romance. She was surprised to see Darcy confessing his love to her, as seen by ‘ (her) astonishment was beyond belief.’ Elizabeth also did not believe what Darcy says, believes that he is mocking her because ‘Elizabeth replied to Darcy’s confession saying that “why with evident a design of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character?” ‘ She was hesitant about hurting Darcy’s feelings by rejecting him out rightly, but as Darcy continued on and sounded more arrogant, it made her so angry she lost all compassion and talked back against him. Elizabeth also has a soft spot for Mr. Wickham in the sense that she remembers the misdeeds that Wickham claims that Darcy had taken away his inheritance. This also shows how Elizabeth still has a tendency to see things based on first impressions or prejudice. This can be seen from Elizabeth’s comment: “He [Darcy] who knows that what (Wickham’s) misfortunes have been, can help feeling an interest in him”
In conclusion, we are notice a slow trend in the progression of the budding love between Darcy and Elizabeth, though till now it is still considered an unreciprocated love on Darcy’s part. Darcy, being faulted at first for leaving such a poor first impression in Elizabeth, aims to rescue the situation and turn things round with the confession of his love for Elizabeth, but due to his arrogant nature, did not manage to do so effectively. On the other hand, Elizabeth’s impression of him worsens upon Darcy admittance to playing the ‘devil’s advocate’ in the breakup of the relationship between Jane and Bingley.

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