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Free Study Guide-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-Free Plot Summary
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Chapter 39

Summary

Kitty and Lydia wait at the village inn for their elder sisters. On their way back to Longbourn, they tell anecdotes and jokes to Elizabeth and Jane. Lydia reveals that Miss King has gone to Liverpool to break free from Wickham.

Elizabeth and Jane are warmly welcomed by their parents. Mrs. Bennet is pleased to see Jane is still so beautiful, and Mr. Bennet more than once voices how glad he is to have his darling Lizzy back. Mrs. Bennet and her younger daughters are aggrieved because the militia regiment is leaving for Brighton. Elizabeth is relieved on hearing the news for two reasons. First, she does not want to see Wickham in her present agitated state of mind; and secondly, she feels her sisters will not be so capricious with the soldiers gone.

Lydia has been invited to Brighton for the summer, and Mrs. Bennet and the younger girls want Mr. Bennet to take the whole family there. Although Mr. Bennet has no intentions of doing this, his answers are vague and equivocal.


Notes

Elizabeth returns home to find her younger sisters still crazy about red coat soldiers. Mrs. Bennet, as always, is still an indulgent mother, giving in to every demand of her daughters, especially to Lydia. She is also still obsessed with getting her daughters married.

Elizabeth’s decision not to disclose Wickham’s true nature to her family has serious repercussions. First, it leads to the Wickham- Lydia affair, which could have been prevented; and secondly, Darcy continues to be considered an unjust man and is treated accordingly.

Lydia pleads to be granted permission to visit Brighton for the summer; Elizabeth begs her father not to let her go. Mr. Bennet, however, is too irresponsible to put his foot down, a fact which makes him as responsible as his wife for the family’s sad state at affairs. Elizabeth is shocked by the behavior that she sees in her family and realizes the truth Darcy has stated about the weak impression they make.

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