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Pride and Prejudice | Study Guide

Jane Austen

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Chapter 19

Professor Bradley Greenburg of Northeastern Illinois University provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 19 of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice | Chapter 19 (Volume 1, Chapter 19) | Summary



Mr. Collins now embarks on his mission to find a wife. He surprises Elizabeth with a marriage proposal. She politely turns him down, and he persists, not believing that she is sincere in her refusal. He tells her that it is not uncommon for women to pretend to be uninterested. He repeats his offer and lists the many reasons the match would be a good idea. She insists that she is not pretending to be uninterested and indeed does not want to marry him.


Now more than ever, Mr. Collins proves to be a ridiculous character. His idea that a proposal is a checklist of reasons for the match is laughable and completely at odds with Elizabeth's values. The actual proposal is one of the most comical moments in the novel. Collins represents a purely pragmatic view of marriage. Affection has no place in the equation. Austen's use of the ridiculous Mr. Collins as the proponent of this view underscores her antipathy toward it.

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