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Free Study Guide-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-Free Plot Summary
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Chapter 19

Summary

The day after the ball, Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth, who wastes no time in declining the offer. Mr. Collins, undeterred by Elizabethís rejection, replies that it is usual for young ladies to initially turn down a proposal for marriage. He believes that Elizabeth really wants to accept and intends to do so in the end; as a result, he repeats his proposal. Elizabeth declines again, refuting his arguments. Mr. Collins, however, is blinded by conceit and does not realize that the lady is truly not interested in him. Elizabeth decides she will seek her fatherís help if this vulgar suitor continues to believe her repeated refusals are really "flattering encouragement".


Notes

Mr. Collinsí proposal to Elizabeth is outrageously comic. It is worded as pompously and as absurdly as one would expect from this foolish man. When she quickly refuses his offer, he brushes her refusal off, saying it "the usual practice of elegant females". In his conceit, he is convinced that she says no only to encourage him to propose again, which is exactly what he does. The entire scene if amusing to the reader and frustrating to Elizabeth. It is important to note, however, that this is the first marriage proposal of many in the novel.

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