Pride and Prejudice: Chapter 20 - Summary & Analysis

Also Read

      Summary: Soon after Elizabeth has left the room, Mrs. Bennet enters and congratulates Collins warmly on the happy prospect of his becoming her son-in-law. Collins receives and returns the congratulations with pleasure and tells Mrs. Bennett of Elizabeth’s bashful modesty. Her mother cannot believe that Elizabeth’s behaviour is meant as encouragement, but assures Collins that her daughter will be brought to reason. She tells him that Elizabeth is headstrong and foolish; on hearing this, Collins has doubts about the wisdom of the match and says so. Mrs. Bennet, alarmed, contradicts her own statement and hurries to tell Mr. Bennet to make Lizzy accept Collins before he changes his mind. Mr. Bennet sends for Elizabeth and tells her that her mother will never see her again if she does not marry Collins, but that her father will never see her again if she does. Mrs. Bennet tries to coax Elizabeth to accept Collins but her daughter is adamant in her refusals. Mr. Collins suffers nothing but hurt pride. He tells Mrs. Bennet that his object was to secure an amiable companion for himself with due consideration for the advantage of all the Bennet family and if his manner has been at all reprehensible, he apologizes.

      Critical Analysis: The economic motif of Elizabeth’s situation rises to the surface in this chapter. While criticising Elizabeth, Mrs. Bennet says, “I am sure I do not know who is to maintain you when your father is dead. I shall not be able to keep you.” Mr. Bennet, however, approves of his daughter rejecting the proposal. Elizabeth’s spiritual courage in having rejected the material comfort extended to her by Collins is indeed, praiseworthy for she is a young woman without any livelihood, any profession and with the additional disadvantage of very low connections. Even Mr. Collins can see that it is by no means certain that another offer of marriage may ever be made you.” Elizabeth’s strong moral character is evident in her refusing collins.

Previous Post Next Post