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|Deception in Ch. 13-17 (long)
Written by Connie
(4/19/2010 12:51 p.m.)
There are some interesting passages concerning Mrs. Bennet in Ch. 13. First, as earlier, she refuses to understand a subject she doesn't want to--this time, the details of the entail. She wants to blame someone for the future loss to herself and her daughters. Then she immediately criticizes Mr. Collins' overtures towards reconciliation in his letter, accusing him of hypocrisy and being a false friend! There is no reason to think Mr. Collins is not sincere. She is simply determined to hate him. None of this is astonishing, given her behavior in earlier chapters, but I think the following is: She seems to be the only person who understands Mr. Collins' hint about making amends! Jane seems to speak for all the girls, when she says, [I]t is dfficult to guess in what way he can mean to make us the atonement he thinks is our due... If Mr. Bennet understands, he does not show it.
What of Mrs. Bennet's "mean understanding"? It seems she can understand cryptic references to possible matches for her daughters just fine. In fact, I think she can understand what furthers her own interests, but is *stupid* when it comes to understanding a situation or person she does not like.
In Ch. 14 we have the first hint that Mr. Collins is not always sincere. He sometimes composes compliments for the ladies in his spare time, saying, I always wish to give them as unstudied an air as possible.
Ch. 16 contains the first conversation between Wickham and Lizzy regarding Darcy. We only have Wickham's word for what happened between him and Darcy, so it is impossible at this point to know how true a representation of the facts he is giving her. However, there are some clues that he is not being completely forthright. He says of Darcy, Till I can forget his father, I can never defy or expose him. Yet, he is exposing Darcy to Lizzy, without any grave reason, so his words and his actions don't agree. Indeed, though he expresses scruples, Lizzy seems to be the most scrupulous of the two, trying not to pursue the conversation, let alone bring it up herself, even though she is extremely curious.
There are other references to deception and blindness in this scene. Wickham says, apparently candidly, It is impossible for me to be impartial. He states that, The world is blinded by [Darcy's] fortune and consequence, and that Darcy chose to doubt that his father really promised a living to Wickham.
Lizzy remembers the conversation about Darcy's faults and says, I do remember his boasting one day, at Netherfield, of the implacability of his resentments". I highlight this passage due to an earlier discussion with Stephanie and AnnetteJ. They were both saying that Darcy was boasting in that conversation. Here we see that Lizzy agrees with that interpretation. But that does not necessarily mean it is the correct one. It is still possible that Lizzy "wilfully misunderstands" Darcy's meaning.
In the next Chapter (17), Lizzy discusses Wickham's revelation with Jane. Jane, typically, says, They have both been deceived, I dare say... Lizzy more readily believes that Bingley could be deceived about Darcy's character, than that Wickham could be lying. Does one know what to think?
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