Pride and Prejudice: Chapter 41 - Summary & Analysis

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      Summary: The younger Bennett girls are dejected because it is the last week that the regiment will be in Meryton. Lydia’s grief, however, is assuaged when she receives an invitation to accompany a friend, Mrs. Foster, to Brighton. Elizabeth talks to her father about the danger of Lydia undertaking such a trip, but Mr. Bennet in his usual irresponsible and cynical manner says that Lydia will never be easy till she exposes herself in some public place, so it is better to let her go. On the regiment’s last day in Meryton, Wickham and other officers dine at Longbourn. Elizabeth tells him of her stay at Hunsford and mentions meeting Darcy and Fitzwilliam there. Wickham looks surprised, displeased and alarmed at this, particularly so when Elizabeth remarks that Darcy improves on acquaintance. Wickham retorts that Darcy is always on his best behaviour when staying with his aunt, whom he fears.

      Critical Analysis: Elizabeth in her new found perception is clear sighted about Wickham and directs him nicely in their last conversation. She is right too in asking her father to restrain Lydia from going to Brighton.

      Mr. Bennet’s character is also revealed. In allowing Lydia to expose herself to corrupting influences merely to preserve, his own personal peace, he shows himself to be an irresponsible parent. Lydia and Kitty expose themselves as exuberant, immature, vain, ignorant idle and absolutely uncontrolled.

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