Pride and Prejudice: Chapter 51 - Summary & Analysis

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      Summary. Lydia and Wickham arrive at Longbourn after their wedding. Mrs. Bennet is in raptures, but Mr. Bennet is not so cordial. The young couple show an easy assurance of manner which is enough to provoke him. Elizabeth is disgusted and even Jane is shocked. Elizabeth and Jane are covered in blushes as Lydia chatters, untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy, and fearless as ever. She is in fine fettle and is anxious to meet all her friends and hear herself called “Mrs. Wickham”. The Wickhams are to stay only ten days. Elizabeth sees that Lydia’s affection for Wickham is greater than Wickham’s for her. She is exceedingly fond of her husband and is always boasting about his accomplishments. While talking to Elizabeth and Jane, Lydia discloses that Darcy was present at the wedding. Lydia has promised to say nothing about it but lets the secret out. Elizabeth is anxious to know more and writes to her aunt to find out why a stranger should have been present at a wedding which was strictly a family affair.

      Critical Analysis. Lydia is thoughtless as ever and the stigma of having lived with Wickham before marriage does not touch her at all. She is even condescending to her elder sisters, offering to find husbands for them.

      Mrs. Bennet is also untouched by any sense of shame. The wedding of a daughter is to be celebrated even if it has been a matter of social disgrace.

      Mary is her usual pedantic self, speaking platitudes. Lydia’s slip that Darcy was present at her wedding is indicative of the major role Darcy has played in arranging the marriage.

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