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Pride and Prejudice | Chapter 24 (Volume 2, Chapter 1) | Summary

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Summary

A second letter from Caroline Bingley arrives. This letter makes clear that Mr. Bingley will not be returning to Netherfield from London. She also writes about the growing affection between her brother and Georgiana Darcy. Jane is distressed, especially because her mother dwells on Mr. Bingley's absence. Elizabeth becomes convinced that Darcy and Bingley's sisters have persuaded Bingley to keep away from Jane. She becomes increasingly angry with both Bingley and Darcy and more drawn to George Wickham. In fact, her whole family becomes more negative about Darcy and sympathetic toward Wickham.

Analysis

The deep pessimism Elizabeth expresses in this chapter is uncharacteristic. However, she feels betrayed both by Charlotte and by Bingley, of whom she thought better. Her anger with him is particularly ironic, because earlier in the novel she praises him for his easygoing manner. Now she sees this manner as a deep character flaw that has allowed his sisters and Darcy to steer him away from Jane.

As Mrs. Bennet becomes more upset over the dwindling prospects for her daughters, it is interesting to contrast her reactions with those of Mr. Bennet. He actually jokes with Elizabeth that she should keep her sights set on Wickham so that he might break her heart. Although he is being sarcastic, his words foreshadow Elizabeth's disillusionment with Wickham.

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