Pride and Prejudice | Study Guide

Jane Austen

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Chapter 8

Professor Bradley Greenburg of Northeastern Illinois University provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 8 of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice | Chapter 8 (Volume 1, Chapter 8) | Summary

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Summary

During dinner at Netherfield, the conversations are strained, and Elizabeth feels uncomfortable. Mr. Bingley and Darcy, however, express their admiration for Elizabeth, to Caroline's irritation.

Analysis

The Bingley sisters continue to behave politely toward Elizabeth when in her presence, but she senses their true feelings about her; her willingness to bear an uncomfortable journey on foot may not be fitting for a proper lady. However, as the sisters make snide remarks behind Elizabeth's back, Mr. Darcy is learning to appreciate Elizabeth in new ways. He admires her wit and conversational ability. He appreciates her ability to express her ideas clearly.

In discussions about what makes a woman accomplished, Darcy is struck by Elizabeth's intelligence. Caroline Bingley is too ready to agree with anything he says. Against her intentions, Caroline Bingley may be helping to bring Darcy and Elizabeth together. This chapter reveals that Darcy is not one to just accept what is expected or usual—directly contrary to Elizabeth's initial impression of him. He clearly appreciates Elizabeth, who does not seem impressed by his wealth.

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