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Free Study Guide-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-Free Plot Summary
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Chapter 57

Summary

A letter arrives from Mr. Collins congratulating Mr. Bennet on Janeís betrothal and also hinting at the rumors which are floating in and out of Hertfordshire that Darcy and Elizabeth are soon to be engaged. Mr. Collins also conveys that Lady Catherine views the Darcy-Elizabeth match with an unfriendly eye. Mr. Bennet reads the letter to Elizabeth and voices his thorough amusement, for he believes that Darcy has no interest in his daughter. Elizabeth pretends to be equally surprised at the rumors.


Notes

In this chapter, it is obvious that Mr. Bennet has been able to put the Lydia-Wickham episode behind him. He is again in a happy frame of mind and can read Mr. Collinsí letter with amusement. Not knowing the feelings of Elizabeth, he is certain that the reported rumors about Darcy are a total joke. He even remarks that man seems to live "to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn". This remark also emphasizes the difference between Elizabeth and her fatherís social outlook. Elizabeth is concerned about the decorum and good repute of her family, while Mr. Bennet sees human behavior as a humorous specimen to be studied under his satiric eye.

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