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ENL 4122
English Novel

Spring 2006
Time: Monday and Wednesday

Class 19

Reading Assignment:

Mar. 22 Pride and Prejudice: Volume Two, pp. 89-158
    Post #9 (Group B)
    Historical Annotation: Anna Constanzo's presentation
    Minidraft of Paper 2 DUE

Class Objectives:

  • To discuss Elizabeth's second rejection of marriage
  • close analysis of Darcy's letter and Elizabeth's reaction


Notes and Discussion Questions:

1. Elizabeth's second rejection of marriage

Despite Collins' prediction that it would extremely unlikely that Elizabeth would receive a second offer of marriage, there it is, and in his home, too (Volume II, chapter XI). This scene between Elizabeth and Darcy is one of the most exquisitely rendered arguments in the history of British literature. What leads up to this proposal? What makes the exchange so fine? What is the source of its energy?

How does this proposal compare with the first proposal?

Upon what grounds does Elizabeth reject Darcy?

How is his reaction similar to Collins'? What role does the vaunted "understanding" play in this scene?


2. Close analysis of Darcy's letter and Elizabeth's reaction

Carefully read Volume II, chapter XII. Evaluate the letter as a letter. What does Darcy aim to do in this letter? What methods does he use? How effective is it?

Evaluate the letter as a statement of Darcy's character. What do we learn from the letter?

What is Elizabeth's response to Darcy's letter? How does she evaluate his claims against Wickham? Does he achieve his goal in writing the letter?

"She grew absolutely ashamed of herself. ---Of neither Darcy nor Wickham could she think, without feeling that she had been blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd.

    .... Till this moment, I never knew myself." (137).

What prompts Elizabeth's reassessment of herself? What does she now know?

How does this development influence her later discussion with Mr. Bennet regarding Lydia's journey with the Fosters?

Note Chapter XIX. To what extent does the Bennet marriage disturb Elizabeth's notions of "conjugal felicity"?

What is the significance of ending this volume with the sentence: ""To Pemberley, therefore, they were to go" (158)?


3. Ideas for Historical Notation


    "coming out"

    domestic tourism

    piano forte


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