Pride and Prejudice: Chapter 29 - Summary & Analysis

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      Summary: Mr. Collins is elated at the invitation and spends hours instructing the guests on what to expect at Rosings so that the grandeur of the place will not overpower them. They arrive at Rosings and are introduced to Lady Catherine, her daughter and a Mrs. Jenkinson. The former receives them with condescension. She is a large woman with strongly marked features and an authoritative way of speaking. Her daughter is small and insignificant-looking and speaks very little in a low voice, and then only to Mrs. Jenkinson, who listens intently to her, fussing all the while over her comfort. The dinner is good and Mr. Collins and Sir William praise it fulsomely. Lady Catherine seems gratified by their excessive admiration. Mrs. Jenkinson is chiefly employed in pressing Miss de Bourgh to eat. After dinner Lady Catherine talks for some time. She advises Charlotte how to manage her home, her cows and her poultry. It is easy to see that she takes great pleasure in dictating to others. She asks Elizabeth a great many questions about her family, many of which the latter considers impertinent. Elizabeth stands up to Lady Catherine, who seems astonished at having her questions parried. After several games of cards, Lady Catherine indicates that the evening is over.

      Critical Analysis: This chapter is mainly concerned with Lady Catherine de Bourgh. She has a domineering personality; she has apparently subdued everyone she has met. Elizabeth speaks back to Lady Catherine and surprises the great lady. This suggests Elizabeth’s own sense of personal worth. She functions as an individual capable of standing upto her own convictions. Just because her social position is lesser she does not allow herself to be treated as an inferior.

      We can see that the most disgusting trait of Lady Catherine’s personality is her obsession with self-importance. She treats everyone else as her inferior and is very interfering—wanting to advise everybody on everything. In her demeanour, she betrays as much ill-breeding as Mrs. Bennet.

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