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ENL 4122
English Novel

Spring 2006
Time: Monday and Wednesday
11:00-12:15 pm

Class 20

Reading Assignment:

Mar. 27 Pride and Prejudice: Volume Three, chs. 1-8, pp. 158-204
    Post #10 (Group A)
    Historical Annotation: Robin O'Dell and Maguene Jerome's presentations


Class Objectives:

  • To discuss Austen's structure of Volume III, chapter 1
  • To discuss the impact of Lydia's elopement


Notes and Discussion Questions:

1. Volume III, chapter 1

Describe Elizabeth's encounter with Pemberley, the estate and house. What impact does it have on her? What is the significance?

Describe Elizabeth's and the Gardiners' interaction with Mrs. Reynolds, Darcy's housekeeper. What do they learn? What is the significance?

Describe Elizabeth's encounter with Darcy's portrait. How does this objectification of the "original" affect Elizabeth? What is the significance?

Describe Elizabeth's encounter with the "owner" and "master" of Pemberley. How does she react? What are her expectations? How is Darcy changed?

NOTE: for those of you familiar with the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice this and the following chapters offer a significantly different plot development. Please keep in mind Austen's Darcy.

Comment on the structure of this important reintroduction of our hero and heroine. How is Elizabeth's knowledge of Darcy different now?


2. Evaluating Lydia's elopement

"She certainly did not hate him. No; hatred had vanished long ago, and she had almost as long been ashamed of ever feeling a dislike against him, that could be so called" (172). Examine Elizabeth's new feelings toward Darcy and his "family." How does the visit to Miss Darcy differ from Elizabeth's earlier interactions with this social set at Netherfield?

Why is the news of Lydia's elopement with Wickham so distressing to Elizabeth? What is elopement (and Gretna Green)? Why is the news that they do not intend to go to Scotland even more distressing?

After telling Darcy the contents of Jane's letters, his response pains her: "Her power was sinking; every thing must sink under such a proof of family weakness, such an assurance of the deepest disgrace" (180). What does Elizabeth think about Darcy in this scene? Why?

How do the members of the Bennet family respond to Lydia's elopement? What do these responses indicate about the characters? About the family?

When Wickham is brought to marry Lydia, what problems are resolved? What problems are begun?

For Elizabeth, their union becomes a "gulf impassable" between her and Darcy, just at the moment when she understands her desire for him.

    "She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man, who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved, and from his judgment, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance" (202).

Note that this description is very short on love. What makes Elizabeth and Darcy such a highly desired match? Why does Lydia's marriage prevent it?

The next sentence grounds Elizabeth's high-flown idealism: "But no such happy marriage could now teach the admiring multitude what connubial felicity really was. An union of a different tendency, and precluding the possibility of the other, was soon to be formed in their family" (202).

Evaluate Lydia's prospects for "happiness."


3. Ideas for Historical Notation

    Gretna Green


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