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Pride and Prejudice | Study Guide

Jane Austen

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Chapter 39

Professor Bradley Greenburg of Northeastern Illinois University provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 39 of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice | Chapter 39 (Volume 2, Chapter 16) | Summary



This chapter brings Jane and Elizabeth toward Longbourn; they are met halfway there by the youngest Bennet sisters, Kitty and Lydia, at an inn. Lydia orders a lunch for the group without having the money to pay for it. Kitty and Lydia are distressed about the fact that the militia men, the objects of their flirtations, will be leaving for Brighton shortly. Elizabeth is relieved that she will not have to encounter Wickham. She also learns that Miss King, the most recent object of Wickham's attention, is out of the picture. Meanwhile, Lydia is hoping to spend the summer in Brighton in order to be around the officers. Returning home at last, Elizabeth is relieved that her father seems to have no intention of letting Lydia go to Brighton.


The news that the regiment is departing is welcome to Elizabeth because she has no desire to encounter Wickham, especially now that she has learned about his true nature. Her sister's immature behavior—ordering lunch without thinking about who will pay for it—and her obsession with the departing officers contrast with Elizabeth's deep internal struggle.

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