Pride and Prejudice: Chapter 58 - Summary & Analysis

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      Summary: Darcy returns from London soon after Lady Catherine’s visit. Before Mrs. Bennet has time to tell him of his aunt’s visit, Bingley, Darcy and the girls set out to walk to the Lucases. Elizabeth and Darcy walk together, Bingley and Jane lagging behind. Elizabeth thanks Darcy for his kindness to Lydia. Darcy is distressed that Mrs. Gardiner has told her niece of the part he played. He tells Elizabeth that he did it for her sake and goes on to say that his affection for her is unchanged. Elizabeth tells him that her feelings have undergone a change and she welcomes his assurances. Darcy is made extremely happy. They walk several miles talking over past happenings and giving explanation of their actions under certain circumstances. Darcy tells Elizabeth that he has apologized to Bingley for his impertinent interference in his affairs and assured him of his mistake in thinking Jane indifferent towards his friend.

      Critical Analysis: This chapter present the proposal and the reconciliation between Darcy and Elizabeth; each admits how much they have changed as a result of their earlier encounters. There is an important difference between the Darcy-Elizabeth and the Jane-Bingley marriage. Jane and Bingley though suited to each other and in love, lack the understanding and maturity of Elizabeth and Darcy. Their relationship is however smooth and pleasant. Darcy and Elizabeth have a stormy but stronger relationship. Both are individualistic and their love is deepened by an intellectual awareness and understanding of their emotional state. Their marriage is Jane Austen’s concept of the good, happy marriage.

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