Pride and Prejudice: Chapter 36 - Summary & Analysis

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      Summary: Elizabeth reads the letter eagerly and disbelieves that Darcy considered Jane insensitive to Bingley. As regards Wickham, she does not know what to believe; but on thinking matters over, it gradually appears to her that Darcy is telling the truth. Wickham’s subsequent behaviour with Miss King bears out the stories she has heard of him and his grasping nature. She goes for a walk to think matters over and on her return to the parsonage hears that Darcy and the Colonel have called to say good-bye earlier in the afternoon.

      Critical Analysis: The chapter reveals Elizabeth’s reaction to Darcy’s letter and we see that she is capable of self-knowledge, self-realisation, capable of changing and growing. She recognizes the shortcomings of her own family. Her mother is loud and indiscreet in her behaviour; Lydia and Kitty are silly and vulgar. She appreciates now the justness of Darcy’s intervention in the Jane-Bingley affair. Even Charlotte had commented that Jane is not demonstrative enough in showing her love for Bingley. So if Mr. Darcy is not convinced of Jane’s passion, he is not wholly to blame.

      She begins to revaluate Wickham too in the light of Darcy’s revelations of Wickham’s villainy in the letter. She notes that Darcy had never done anything that is not honorable. Ultimately she is made to realize that she has been blind, partial, prejudiced and absurd. The chapter is thus, important in showing Elizabeth shedding her prejudice.

      The circumstances now seem ripe for Darcy and Elizabeth to come close to each other.

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