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Pride and Prejudice | Study Guide

Jane Austen

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Chapter 49

Professor Bradley Greenburg of Northeastern Illinois University provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 49 of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice | Chapter 49 (Volume 3, Chapter 7) | Summary



Soon after Mr. Bennet's return, the Bennets receive a letter from Mr. Gardiner. He reports that Wickham has been found. Wickham has agreed to marry Lydia, on the condition that the Bennets guarantee that he will receive a small income in return. Mr. Bennet agrees with the demand in order to prevent the ruin of his family, but he believes that Mr. Gardiner must have paid Wickham additional money to marry Lydia; Wickham would have never agreed otherwise. Mrs. Bennet is thrilled to have one of her daughters married at last. She swiftly shifts into an ecstatic mood, planning for her daughter's new clothes and so on.


This chapter reveals the resolution to the crisis. The Bennets' individual reactions are true to form. Mrs. Bennet's delight that one of her daughters is going to be married overwhelms any disgust about the circumstances. On the other hand, Mr. Bennet, whose passivity allowed the situation to happen in the first place, can't resist making a joke about how Wickham would be a fool to take less than £10,000 to marry Lydia. Good-hearted Jane is convinced that Wickham is not so bad after all and that he and Lydia will live happily ever after.

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