Pride and Prejudice: Chapter 6 - Summary & Analysis

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      Summary: The ladies of Longbourn and Netherfield begin to exchange frequent visits. Jane becomes quite a favourite with Mrs. Hurst and Miss. Bingley. Elizabeth and Charlotte often discuss the probability of Jane’s marriage with Bingley. Elizabeth is happy that Jane makes no great display of affection but Charlotte feels that to be so very guarded could prove disadvantageous. “If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she will lose the opportunity of fixing him, and it will then be but poor consolation to believe the world equally in the dark.” Charlotte believes that a woman ought to take the initiative and so feels that Jane should make the most of every moment she spends with Bingley. Elizabeth however disagrees.

      In the meanwhile, to the reader’s surprise, Darcy is getting more and more interested in Elizabeth in spite of himself. Though he had dismissed her as unattractive he now finds her face “rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes.” He is attracted too, to her easy playful manner and finds himself desiring her company. Elizabeth however, is unaware of Darcy’s growing interest in her and still thinks him to be a disagreeable fellow. Therefore, when at a dinner party, thrown by Sir William Lucas, Darcy offers to dance with her Elizabeth refuses the offer.

      The chapter ends with a conversation between Miss Bingley and Mr. Darcy. Miss Bingley is not pleased to find Darcy contemplating Elizabeth’s fine pair of eyes and chides him sarcastically by remarking that in choosing Elizabeth, he would also be letting himself for a mother-in-law like Mrs. Bennet.

      Critical Comments: This chapter contains an important universal truth expressed by Charlotte Lucas.

      Charlotte tells Elizabeth that human relationships do not grow in isolation. In order to make it perfect it is necessary that it should be encouraged. Man is temperamentally full of vanity. He wants that his sense of self-importance should be boosted up and he should be flattered. Love must meet a healthy response from the other side. If a person loves another person it is obligatory for one to encourage the other. It is very seldom found that love grows even without encouragement.

      It reveals that Charlotte herself wants to marry for practicality convenience and position; In this chapter several other views are also expressed about marriage: Lydia wants to find sexual pleasure; Jane and Elizabeth both want to marry for love and position. Ultimately then each character does marry according to her view of this relationship. 

      Another ball is presented in this chapter. The gap between Elizabeth and Darcy begins to shrink, largely from the latter’s initiative. His original prejudice against Elizabeth starts dissolving whilst hers remains intact, probably because of his refusal to dance with her at the first hall. She refuses to dance with him, and there begins a series of conversations in which they misunderstand each other. Jane Austen deals with the complex relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy in a beautiful manner.

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