Pride and Prejudice: Chapter 23 - Summary & Analysis

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      Summary: Shortly after Charlotte’s confidence, Sir William Lucas arrives and announces to the Bennets his daughter’s engagement. Mrs. Bennet is extremely put out by this news and a week passes before she can see Elizabeth without scolding her. She is sour and ill-natured with the Lucases for a month and it takes a much longer period for her to forgive Charlotte. Collins returns to Hertford-shire and writes to say that Lady Catherine heartily approves his marriage and wishes it to take place soon. Meanwhile, Jane is concerned by the fact that she has not received any news about Bingley from his sister, as she had expected. A fortnight later Collins returns to Longbourn, where he is not a welcome visitor. However, he spends most of his time at Lucas Lodge. Mrs. Bennet looks upon Charlotte with jealous abhorrence as her successor at Longbourn.

      Critical Analysis: This chapter brings to a conclusion the first volume of the novel as was originally published. The first volume ends at a very black moment; all seems destroyed or threatened. Charlotte’s marriage to Mr. Collins seems to be undeniable evidence of the economic forces which control human lives. On a lower scale, human antagonists are hindering the happiness of the Bennet girls. Elizabeth has no doubt that Darcy and Caroline are deliberately obstructing the course of Bingley’s true love. Elizabeth’s prejudice against Darcy is another barrier.

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