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|Connections and social standing
Written by Kathi
(5/12/2010 2:12 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, in the same profession, you know; only in different lines., penned by Stephanie
My point is that Darcy considered Lizzy beneath him -- her status was an issue for him. I admit it's a little ambiguous, but I don't think you can categorically state Darcy's reluctance to give Lizzy consequence has nothing to do with her social status. Do you think Darcy would have made that statement about the granddaughter of the Earl of _______? Seems unlikely to me.
Why do you think that connections were irrelevant to social standing? As has often been discussed on these boards, social standing was determined by three factors -- birth, connections, and fortune. Darcy never mentions fortune (to his credit, as you say), so we'll leave that aside, but while Lizzy and Darcy were both members of the gentry, he was a member of the gentry with connections of the aristocracy, putting him near the top of the gentry, and she was a member of the gentry with connections in trade, putting her near the bottom. That gave them a different social standing, a difference that Darcy objected to.
How do you interpret the statement Lizzy made about her father's respectability? Whatever she means, she is not saying that her father's social standng was equal to Darcy's, is she?
I probably did overstate when I said that the impropriety of Lizzy's family had no effect on Darcy, but it is Darcy's thought that it is Lizzy's connections that are saving him from danger, not her family's behavior.
Just before he details the impropriety of Lizzy's family, Darcy writes:
"My objections to the marriage [of Jane and Bingley] were not merely those which I last night acknowledged to have required the utmost force of passion to put aside, in my own case; the want of connexion could not be so great an evil to my friend as to me." (emphasis mine)
Darcy indicates that it wasn't the impropriety of Lizzy's family that he had been referring to the previous evening. And Darcy did not need to disparaged Lizzy's lack of social standing in the letter (other than to imply that it was a great evil in his own case) because, as he indicates, he had already disparaged it to her face.
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