Pride and Prejudice: Chapter 22 - Summary & Analysis

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      Summary: Charlotte Lucas earns Elizabeth’s gratitude by listening to Mr. Collins, which keeps him in a good humour. Miss Lucas schemes to make Mr. Collins interested in her and with such success, that he entreats her to “name the day”. Sir William and Lady Lucas and the rest of their family are delighted with the match. Charlotte tells Elizabeth the news in confidence. Her friend is horrified that Charlotte should marry the insufferable Collins, but Charlotte prefers marriage with Mr. Collins to the lonely future which she risks if she does not accept his proposal.

      Critical Analysis: The economic basis of marriage is emphasized in this chapter. The Lucas family feel triumphant about the proposal of Mr. Collins. It is a financial boon to them; they not only have the family estate to themselves now but also the likelihood of coming into possession of Longbourn. This chapter also shows how Elizabeth has been mistaken about the character of one of her friends, Charlotte Lucas. The latter admits, “I am not romantic you know. I never was. I ask only for a comfortable home.” Jane Austen is not a romantic either, but she clearly disapproves of a marriage based on such materialistic grounds. Charlotte stands as a contrast to Elizabeth. The latter has a more ideal view of marriage and will consent to marriage only when the ideal has the possibility of being fulfilled.

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