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Pride and Prejudice | Chapter 57 (Volume 3, Chapter 15) | Summary

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Summary

The next day, Mr. Bennet shares with Elizabeth a letter he has received from his cousin, Mr. Collins. In it, he brings up the rumored impending engagement between Elizabeth and Darcy. Mr. Collins warns Elizabeth not to thwart Lady Catherine's will. Mr. Bennet is completely baffled by this notion of an engagement. He believes the idea is ludicrous. Her father's reaction is insulting to Elizabeth, and the exchange between them is awkward.

Analysis

Mr. Bennet's obliviousness to the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth is not entirely surprising. Elizabeth has been very discreet about her feelings, even with Jane. However, the Gardiners were well aware of Darcy's attraction to Elizabeth in Derbyshire. Even though Darcy and Elizabeth's rapport has been uneasy since her return to Longbourn, surely there must be some chemistry between them; how could Mr. Bennet not notice? He seems to be out of tune with his family. Elizabeth's pained reaction to her father's insensitivity shows that the equilibrium she displayed with Lady Catherine is fragile. Though she has no doubt of her right to be with Darcy, she is not sure whether he wants her.

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