Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
The next morning, Elizabeth dispatches a note to Longbourn requesting her mother to visit Jane. Mrs. Bennet, accompanied by Lydia and Catherine, arrives soon after breakfast. She is not alarmed by Janeís condition, but both she and the apothecary decide that Jane has not yet sufficiently recovered to return home.
During the visit, Elizabeth is embarrassed by her motherís inane talk and the foolish behavior of her sisters. Lydia continuously presses Mr. Bingley to give a ball at Netherfield Park. After Mrs. Bennet and her two daughters depart, Elizabeth goes to attend to Jane. The Bingley sisters chat disparagingly about the inappropriate behavior of Mrs. Bennet and her daughters.
Mrs. Bennetís visit to Netherfield is a purely farcical episode in which she proves that she is "a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper". During the visit, Mrs. Bennet is seen at her preposterous worst. Every time she opens her mouth, she makes a fool of herself. Elizabeth is totally embarrassed at her motherís lack of tact and social correctness. Although Elizabeth is a woman of impulse and speaks spontaneously, she never defies social decorum. The contrast between Jane and Elizabeth and the rest of the family is blatant. The elder sisters are well-mannered and dignified and earn the esteem of others, while their mother and younger sisters behave foolishly and frivolously. It is ironic that Mrs. Bennet, who wants to get her daughters married to wealthy and polished gentlemen, is a major deterrent to their suitors.