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Pride and Prejudice | Chapter 47 (Volume 3, Chapter 5) | Summary

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Summary

Elizabeth and the Gardiners prepare to leave Pemberley to return to Longbourn. The Gardiners attempt to reassure Elizabeth that Wickham, to preserve his own reputation, will likely marry Lydia. Elizabeth cannot share the information about Wickham's earlier attempt to elope with Georgiana, and she is unconvinced that Wickham will marry someone with no fortune.

When they arrive at Longbourn, Elizabeth learns that her father has already left for London. Her mother is somewhat hysterical. She blames the Forsters for being negligent in watching over Lydia. Jane tries to reassure Elizabeth, who is blaming herself, that nobody could have prevented Lydia's actions.

Analysis

The uproar caused by Wickham and Lydia's running off together illustrates another intersection of the themes of reputation, social class, and love versus marriage. The damage to Lydia is hardly more important than the damage that will come to the entire Bennet family if she and Wickham do not marry. There is very little sympathy expressed for her plight as a barely sixteen-year-old girl in the hands of a conniving older man. In fact, her family would prefer her to be married to a villain rather than to simply bring her home. Lydia's honor is more important than her health or well-being, because it affects the entire family.

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