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Free Study Guide-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-Free Plot Summary
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Chapter 23

Summary

Sir William Lucas arrives at the Bennets to announce the engagement of his daughter to Mr. Collins. Mrs. Bennet is dumbfounded and extremely disgruntled by the news. A week elapses before she can see Elizabeth without scolding her for refusing Mr. Collins’ proposal, and a month passes before she can speak to the Lucas family with civility.

Disappointed in her good friend Charlotte, Elizabeth spends more time with Jane. She grows increasingly anxious about her sister since there is no news of Bingley. Jane is also dejected over not hearing from him, but she retains her composure.

A week later, Mr. Collins arrives at Longbourn and receives a cold, indifferent welcome from the disappointed Mrs. Bennet. She complains to her husband that "it was very strange that he (Mr. Collins) should come to Longbourn instead of Lucas Lodge; it was also very inconvenient and exceedingly troublesome". Even though he is staying with the Bennets, Mr. Collins spends the larger part of his time at Lucas Lodge.


Mrs. Bennet is in a terrible state, weighed down by the twin tragedy of Mr. Bingley’s sudden disappearance and Mr. Collins’ engagement to Miss Lucas. The sight of Lucas is particularly abhorrent to her, for Mrs. Bennet can only think about her being the future mistress of Longbourn.

Notes

The marriage of Mr. Collins and Charlotte is proudly announced by her family. Lady Lucas’ gleeful strutting and Mrs. Bennet’s sadness shed light on the competitive nature of the marriage- market, where even a man like Mr. Collins is considered a worthy catch by the mothers. It is important to note Mrs. Bennet’s fickle attitude about Collins. She has now reverted to her previous attitude of hatred towards him, jealously viewing him as the inheritor of Longbourn rather than as an eligible and acceptable suitor for her daughter.

It is to be noted that Charlotte’s marriage to Collins is vital to the plot, for it allows Elizabeth to visit her later and gives her the chance to again meet Darcy.

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