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Thread: Storyline Questions

  1. #1
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    Storyline Questions

    I just finished chapter 17 of this book and I've realized that I'm going to get really confused with this book and that I'm going to need an outlet for asking all of my questions. So, I've decided to use this thread for that purpose! Also, I know many of you have already read this book, but if you could please answer these questions without spoiling anything, I'd GREATLY appreciate it (Perhaps it'd help to use how far I currently am in the book as a reference?)

    So, here's a couple questions for now (Just finished chapter 17):

    1. After Elizabeth hears about the thing between Mr. Darcy (and his father) and Mr. Wickham, she talks to Jane about it. Now, this is where I got confused about the situation as Jane brought up Mr. Bingley for some reason. An example quote:

    "I can much more easily believe Mr. Bingley's being imposed on than that Mr. Wickham should invest such a history of himself as he gave me last night..."

    What does this mean? I thought all the drama was between Wickham and Darcy (As Darcy prevented Wickham from receiving the money that Darcy's father wanted to give him) and that Mr. Bingley has no idea about all of this?

    2. At the end of this chapter, Mr. Collins asks Elizabeth if she would dance with him for the first 2 dances of the upcoming ball. Elizabeth is apparently floored by this -- why? She seemed so exciting about this for some reason, but I thought she was already interested in Wickham at the moment (After their talk) and that she was indifferent to Collins (Or maybe had a slight negative attitude due to him inheriting the home after Mr. Bennet)? Maybe I misinterpreted it or something? I thought that Collins was the only one who showed that he was interested (When he talked with Mrs. Bennet about Elizabeth)?

    3. I'm confused as to the relationship between Collins and Catherine de Bourgh? When she was first brought up and Collins started absolutely raving about her and being blessed for meeting her and living so close to her, I thought that the two were a couple or something. But then I read that she had a daughter (Darcy's cousin). Why is Collins so enthusiastic about her (What did she do?)?


    Thank you
    Last edited by Azure; 07-28-2006 at 06:47 AM.

  2. #2
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    I hope it's not too late to un-confuse you, but figured I'd take a stab at it anyway...

    1) Jane's mention of Bingley has to do with her trying to figure Mr. Darcy out; if what Wickham has told Elizabeth is true, then Bingley must be a fool for thinking Darcy worthy of his friendship, and Jane (being the angelic soul she is) would rather think Bingley is foolish than think that Wickham is a liar (foolishness being much more forgivable than being deceitful).

    2) The answer to your second question is right in the text itself:

    "Elizabeth felt herself completely taken in..." it reads, right after Mr. Collins asks her for the first two dances, meaning that she's realizing too late that in making idle conversation about the dance with Mr. Collins (which she never would have done except that she was feeling giddy about Wickham), she had completely screwed herself, because she gave him an opportunity to ask her for the dances she had hoped to save for Wickham. She has to accept Collins' invitation to avoid offending him.

    3) Collins is excited about Lady Catherine because he's impressed by her wealth and status (you'll notice he mentions her title and her huge house/gardens/furniture/etc). It's the same idea as someone who's completely starstruck finding out they live next-door to a celebrity.

    Hope that helps!

  3. #3
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    Thank you so much for the explanation!

    I just finished Chapter 47 and I have another question (I actually had a TON over the 30 chapters, but unfortunately I didn't think I'd ever get a response so I just dismissed them and I'm now sure that I'm only half-understanding exactly what's going on):

    Why the heck does Mrs. Bennet wish for Lydia to be married to Wickham:

    ``Oh! my dear brother,'' replied Mrs. Bennet, ``that is exactly what I could most wish for. And now do, when you get to town, find them out, wherever they may be; and if they are not married already, make them marry. And as for wedding clothes, do not let them wait for that, but tell Lydia she shall have as much money as she chuses to buy them, after they are married.

    Ugh, this book can get so confusing at times (Especially with all the names of the different people, cities, and all the -----shire stuff). Why is she saying this? Later on or a bit before she talks about how bad the situation is and everything, then she says this.

  4. #4
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    Also, what the heck are they talking about in these two passages:

    Mrs. Gardiner went away in all the perplexity about Elizabeth and her Derbyshire friend that had attended her from that part of the world. His name had never been voluntarily mentioned before them by her niece; and the kind of half-expectation which Mrs. Gardiner had formed, of their being followed by a letter from him, had ended in nothing. Elizabeth had received none since her return, that could come from Pemberley.

    (What the heck are they talking about PERIOD? Could somebody please explain this in simple terms? What Derbyshire friend? What the heck does she mean by their being followed by a latter from him? HUH?)

    Then, after a short silence, he continued, ``Lizzy, I bear you no ill-will for being justified in your advice to me last May, which, considering the event, shews some greatness of mind.''

    (What happend last May? What was the advice and what was the event???)


  5. #5
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    Ugh, this is getting so confusing. Could somebody summarize all the points highlighted in the letter? It really didn't make much sense to me. Could somebody please explain to me why he wanted Lydia to marry Wickham (Ugh, this makes so sense at all to me; he talks about rushes the two into marriage)? And what the heck is "P" in this sentence:

    "But slyness seems the fashion. Pray forgive me if I have been very presuming, or at least do not punish me so far as to exclude me from P."

    And what the heck is going on here:

    "It was painful, exceedingly painful, to know that they were under obligations to a person who could never receive a return. They owed the restoration of Lydia, her character, every thing, to him."

    How did Darcy restore Lydia? Didn't he do nothing and only ended up helping her get married to Wickham??

    What is "Lambton"? And Pemberly is the place where Darcy lives? With Mr. Bingley? What is the connection between Wickham and Pemberly? Does he visit there or live there? What is "Kent"??

    Last edited by Azure; 08-13-2006 at 10:49 PM.

  6. #6
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    1) Why does Mrs. Bennett want Lydia to marry Wickham:

    - Firstly, you have to understand that the one thing that Mrs. Bennett wants more than anything else in the world is for her daughters to get married -- and she isn't terribly picky about who their husbands are, as long as they have a man to take care of them. Mrs. Bennett is very silly. Any husband is a good husband in her book. Also, she likes the idea of new clothes (again, very silly).

    - Secondly, it's extremely important to remember that this novel takes place in 1811 or thereabouts -- Lydia HAS to marry Wickham; if she didn't marry him after running away with him, her reputation would be completely ruined (because, just as now, people would assume that she had slept with him), and that's not all -- all of her sisters would be shunned by society just for being related to Lydia, and their own chances of marrying well would be ruined too. Mrs. Bennett is silly, but she's not completely stupid, and she knows that Lydia has put them all in very serious danger; if her daughters don't get married, there will be no one to take care of them all if/when Mr. Bennett dies.

    2) About Mrs. Gardiner's feelings on Lizzy & Darcy:

    - Unlike Mrs. Bennett, Mrs. Gardiner is NOT a silly person -- she's very perceptive, and she suspects that there is a growing attraction between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (Darcy is the Derbyshire friend). She notices it first during the trip to Derbyshire, when Darcy is so nice to them, and Lizzy seems pleased by his attention -- but it confuses Mrs. Gardiner because until then, Lizzy has not had anything good to say about Mr. Darcy. Mrs. Gardiner hopes ("half-expects") that something more will happen to prove that they have fallen in love -- that either Lizzy will talk about Darcy, or that Darcy will send a letter to her. But when Lizzy doesn't mention him, and no letter comes, Mrs. Gardiner is left just as confused as before (I hope that makes sense).

    3) Mr. Bennett, Lizzy, and the advice of last May

    This is a pretty easy one. In May, Lizzy had advised her father not to allow Lydia to go to Brighton -- she had warned him that Lydia would make a fool of herself somehow, and could jeopardize the whole family's reputation. Mr. Bennett is telling Lizzy that he doesn't hold it against her that she turned out to be right (wouldn't blame her for saying "I told you so").

    4) All the rest...

    I'm not sure how to answer the rest of your questions without summing-up the whole story to you:

    a) The Bennetts live on a manor called Longbourn which is located in the county of Hertfordshire (in southeast England).

    b) Mr. Bingley has recently leased a large house in the Bennett's neighborhood (in Hertfordshire) called Netherfield. He doesn't own the estate, but is like a renter. His sisters and Mr. Darcy are visiting him there at the beginning of the story. The Bingleys also have a house in London where they go later on.

    c) Mr. Darcy is the master of a large estate called Pemberly, in Derbyshire (that's why he's Lizzy's "Derbyshire friend"), which is some 100 miles north of where the Bennetts live. His sister Georgianna lives at Pemberly.

    d) Wickham's father was an employee of Mr. Darcy's father, and Wickham and Darcy grew up together at Pemberly.

    e) Mrs. Gardiner grew up in the village of Lambton, which is near Pemberly, but she now lives with her family in London.

    f) Kent is a county next to Hertfordshire in southeast England. Mr. Collins (and Charlotte), and Lady Catherine live in Kent.

    So that's the places mentioned. As for Mrs. Gardiner's letter to Lizzy, here's a synopsis for you:

    First, you have to understand that at the very end of the last chapter, right after Lydia lets slip the "secret" that Darcy was at her wedding, Lizzy immediately writes a letter (an inquiry) to Mrs. Gardiner to get the real scoop. In her reply, Mrs. Gardiner teases Lizzy about it -- she has always suspected that Lizzy and Darcy were in love, and is surprised that Lizzy has to ask her about it -- Mrs. Gardiner thinks that Lizzy and Darcy have been in contact, and that Lizzy must already have known all about his trip to London to help find Lydia (of course, Lizzy did not know anything about it).

    Mrs. Gardiner goes on to explain how Darcy managed to find Wickham and Lydia in London (because Mr. Bennett and Mr. Gardiner had not been able to find them), and how he confronted them and offered his help. Then, we get the details of why Lydia and Wickham ran away in the first place.

    The most important details that Mrs. Gardiner gives though, is that a) Darcy has paid Wickham's huge gambling debts, so that Wickham will have enough money to marry Lydia, and b) that Darcy refuses to be paid back. This is important because it shows great sacrafice: Darcy does not like Lydia, and he hates Wickham, but because he loves Lydia's sister (Lizzy), he is willing to give Wickham an enormous amount of money to make sure that Lydia (and the rest of her sisters) does not become a social outcast. This is how he "restores" Lydia. It would be very painful for the Gardiners and Lizzy to know that Darcy had done this for him, and that they could not pay him back.

    Hope that helps. If you think of anything else that puzzles you, drop a line...
    Last edited by Yorke; 08-18-2006 at 08:04 PM.

  7. #7
    Registered User lizmac's Avatar
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    I know this is a little late but I have some advice for you, Azure. I had to read this at least twice before I could really get what was going on through the whole book. I understand you wanting to know what your reading and this is definitely a good avenue for that. However, I recommend you giving it another go. Now, after I've read P&P about six times, new things still jump out while I'm reading.
    Good luck. I'm glad you're hanging in there!

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