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Free Study Guide-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-Free Plot Summary
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Chapter 17

Summary

Elizabeth discloses to Jane everything that she has learned from Wickham. Jane wisely says that there are two sides to every story.

A ball is announced at Netherfield, and Mr. Bingley and his sisters call on the Bennets to issue an invitation. Mr. Collins asks Elizabeth for the first two dances. Elizabeth accepts grudgingly, for she had hoped to dance with Wickham. For the next few days, the girls are confined indoors because of the rains, but they eagerly await the Netherfield ball.


Notes

This chapter points out a contrast between the two oldest Bennet sisters. Jane is hesitant to believe Wickham’s account about Darcy; she always sees the good in a person and wants to give the benefit of the doubt. Elizabeth, on the other hand, accepts Wickham’s story as fact, largely because she is already prejudiced against Darcy. Although Elizabeth is usually more insightful of people than her sister, in this case she is totally blinded. She judges Darcy as unacceptable and finds Wickham acceptable, hoping to dance with him at the ball.

The excitement and eager preparations of the girls for the Netherfield ball serve to stress the importance of social gatherings in the microcosmic world the village gentry inhabit.

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