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English 2307E - Lecture 2.docx

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English 2307E
Krista Lysack

English 2307E Tuesday January 14 Lecture 2 Pride and Prejudice In-Class Essay • The format is the same as last time • One of the choices for the essays will likely come from Pride and Prejudice Negotiating the Marriage Market: Love or Duty? • Marriage is seen as an absolute in Pride and Prejudice • In one way or another, people have to reckon with it (you can’t simply ‘opt out’) • Marriage has all of these economic concerns – it isn’t just a personal choice o eg. the Bennett family has 5 daughters and no sons, and there is a financial burden for these daughters if they don’t marry well Elizabeth and Collins – 135ff (ch. 19) • Mr. Collins is proposing to his cousin, Elizabeth • Elizabeth refuses (but not just because Collins isn’t a very appealing person) • She says that her feelings in every respect forbid it (she doesn’t love him) • This is a pretty radical idea for Elizabeth to refuse Collins. Today we see love as the basis for marriage, but at this time, there was a lot of risk by not getting married. • Elizabeth was putting the feelings of love over the norms of her society and her and her sisters’ futures (the stakes were high) • Collins has to drop out of the picture so that Darcy can emerge as a prospect for Elizabeth • Darcy is initially dismissed as remote and loud, but the elaborate dance in the novel positions Elizabeth and Darcy as right for each other • The reason why Elizabeth doesn’t see Darcy as the proper object of her desire for so long, is because of his reputation o At first the community is dismissive of Darcy, and they love Bingley o Wickham talks about how Darcy cheated him out of his inheritance (Elizabeth hears this gossip and it taints her opinion of Darcy)  These turn out to be lies, but it contributes to Elizabeth’s dislike of Darcy Darcy’s Proposal – 210ff (ch. 11) • At this point there are good reasons for Elizabeth to start to see Darcy differently and find him attractive, but she still refuses him • Darcy puts himself out there and admits to his feelings – it is quite a long proposal • Why does Elizabeth refuse him? Darcy admits his feelings (which Elizabeth had stated were so important when she refused Collins’ proposal), but Elizabeth still rejects him. o Darcy offended Elizabeth with backhanded compliments – he said that everything about her made her someone he wouldn’t usually be with  He implies that he’s of a higher class and higher on the social hierarchy o Elizabeth not only wants love, but love that is grounded in equality (which Darcy doesn’t acknowledge) • At this point, Darcy and Elizabeth are at an impasse o Elizabeth may have to modify her basic list of requirements How does Elizabeth have to alter her views? • In many of Austen’s novels, the hero has to go through some sort of education, or re-education • Elizabeth has a sound sense of herself, but the novel still shapes her as someone who has to come to terms with her own prejudices (Darcy has the pride, Elizabeth has prejudices), and undergo a moral education Real Estate at Pemberley 259ff (ch. 1, Vol. III) • Seeing Pemberley (Darcy’s estate) makes Elizabeth re-think how she sees Darcy and his proposal • Elizabeth is accompanying her aunt and uncle (the gardeners) on a trip from Longburn (where Elizabeth lives) to another county where Pemberley is located and where Darcy comes from • This was written before the age of mass tourism, when middle class and working class people would have the time and leisure to become tourists o It would have been acceptable for the gardeners to go to an estate and ask the housekeeper if they could have a tour • Elizabeth only agrees to this because she has been told that Darcy is away (and doesn’t want the embarrassment of talking to someone she has refused a proposal from) • At this point, we are given a detailed description of Pemberley (a large stone building, a stream in front of the house, lots of land) • When Elizabeth saw the estate, she thought it was beautiful and started to think about what it would be like to be the mistress of Pemberley • The people who worked there talked about how wonderful Darcy was and how they loved to serve in his house o Everything is described with a tone of admiration o It puts us in Elizabeth’s place – admiring Darcy’s taste, getting to know his character better through what his taste is o Darcy appeared to be snooty, so we might have thought that he was showy, but he turns out to be the opposite – he buys good quality things, but they are suitable and tasteful (nothing grand or ornamental about his taste) • The estate was a ‘union between the natural world and cultivated world’ o It was tasteful o The grounds understood the natural world and catered to that (it was never artificial) • Pemberley is a stand-in for Darcy himself o Pemberley says everything for Darcy, and what it is saying about him is very favourable o Elizabeth loves the taste, and by extension, she begins to fall in love with the person who has created it and owns the grounds • It was fairly early at this time in history to see your possessions and your house as an extension of yourself • Elizabeth starts to show her true colours – it’s not that love has gone by
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