Pride and Prejudice | Study Guide

Jane Austen

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Chapter 22

Professor Bradley Greenburg of Northeastern Illinois University provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 22 of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice | Chapter 22 (Volume 1, Chapter 22) | Summary

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Summary

As the Bennets and their guest Mr. Collins dine with the Lucas family, Elizabeth is grateful to Charlotte for engaging Mr. Collins in conversation. Charlotte has her own motives for talking with Mr. Collins. Sure enough, the next day, the irrepressible Mr. Collins makes a new marriage proposal—this time to Charlotte, Elizabeth's good friend. Charlotte accepts the proposal and shares the news with Elizabeth the following morning. Charlotte explains to Elizabeth that she believes the marriage is her best chance to avoid being a spinster. She is less romantic than Elizabeth and does not think that love is an essential ingredient for marriage. Elizabeth is shocked that her friend would marry for security in the absence of love.

Analysis

Charlotte again shows her practical side by making sure she secures Mr. Collins's proposal. Elizabeth, in reacting with disappointment, is projecting her own values onto Charlotte. Charlotte has previously expressed that love is not a necessity for marriage. Elizabeth is idealistic in her desire for love in her marriage. In fact, in the absence of a good marriage, she will have limited prospects. Her family estate is going to Mr. Collins. Readers may applaud Elizabeth for her idealism. However, in early 19th-century England, it is Charlotte who represents reality. She recognizes the benefits of establishing her own future security.

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