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|Deception in Ch. 24-28 (long)
Written by Connie
(4/27/2010 12:02 p.m.)
Ch. 24. Jane receives another letter from Caroline that put an end to doubt on whether the Bingleys would return to Netherfield that winter. Lizzy doesn't believe Caroline's statements about Bingley liking Miss Darcy. Jane claims it was error or fancy that made her think Bingley loved her, and that she would soon forget him. Does she really believe the latter?
A later conversation between the sisters on the subject segues into a discussion of Charlotte and Mr. Collins. Jane says that believing Charlotte will not be happy will ruin your happiness. She is also distressed by the thought Bingley's friends and family might have persuaded him to give her up, when he really loved her. She says:
By supposing such an affection, you make everybody acting unnaturally and wrong, and me most unhappy. Do not distress me by the idea. I am not ashamed of having been mistaken--or, at least, it is light, it is nothing in comparison of what I should feel in thinking ill of him or his siters. Let me take it in the best light, in the light in which it may be understood.
Astonishingly, Jane seems to be taking after her mother here. She cannot understand a situation that does not fit into her view of the world. She wants to think everyone innocent, but can only do so by blaming herself. It seems to me that in both situations, she chooses to wilfully shut her eyes to other people's blameworthy behavior. Lizzy replies (regarding Charlotte), To oblige you, I would try to believe almost anything... [but] insensibility of danger [is not] security for happiness.
Lizzy says she does not attribute Bingley's conduct to design. But when Jane says, Women fancy admiration means more than it does, Lizzy replies, And men take care that they should. What does Lizzy really believe here? This last statement is interesting, given her earlier conversation with Charlotte about Jane and Bingley. Charlotte had counselled that Jane should show more admiration than she felt. Now Lizzy seems to be accusing Bingley of doing that very thing! (As another foil to this, we have seen Darcy in earlier chapters trying to show less admiration for Lizzy than he feels.)
Mrs. Bennet can't understand why Bingley doesn't return. Lizzy tries to convince her of what she did not believe herself about Bingley's regard for Jane.
Ch. 25. Wickham, though he had earlier said he could never expose Darcy to the world out of respect for Darcy's late father, tells enough people in Meryton of his story now that Darcy is not there to contradict it, that everyone knows about it.
Ch. 26. Lizzy tells Mrs. Gardiner about her relationship with Wickham. I will not be in a hurry to believe myself his first object. But she does not promise not to believe it or act on it over the long run.
Jane, meanwhile, in London, endeavored to persuade herself that she did not regret [not seeing Bingley]; but she could no longer be blind to Miss Bingley's inattention. Even so, she says she has not learned from her experience, and would be just as trusting again. She believes Caroline wanted to persuade herself that [Bingley] is really partial to Miss Darcy.
Lizzy clearly sees Wickham's attentions to Mary King and reports them to her aunt. Her vanity was satisfied with believing that she would have been his only choice, had fortune permitted it. The ON tells us she was less clear-sighted than she had been in Charlotte's case--presumably because she had not liked Mr. Collins, but had admired Wickham. It is her turn to wilfully ignore evidence she does not like.
Ch. 27. Wickham takes leave of Lizzy before she goes to Hunsford (where she will meet Lady Catherine), trusting that their opinion...of everybody would always coincide. Why does he choose these as his parting words? Is he afraid his story may be contradicted among Darcy's relatives?
Lizzy continues to defend Wickham's attentions to Mary King. What is the difference in matrimonial affairs, between the mercenary and the prudent motive? She certainly said nothing like this in Charlotte's case.
Ch. 28. In Hunsford, Charlotte in general...wisely did not hear the embarassing things Mr. Collins says. So she is continuing her wilfull blindness after marriage.
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