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|scruples that had long prevented my forming any serious design
Written by Stephanie
(5/12/2010 12:14 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Connections and social standing, penned by Kathi
If you insist that connections are part of social standing, then our only disagreement may be semantics. You have my permission to re-read my posts, substituting 'social standing' and 'social status' with the words 'family's standings' and 'birth status' and see if you then agree with me. I stated that Elizabeth's connections are objectionable to Darcy in all of my posts. But if you say Darcy disapproved of a marriage to a woman of a gentleman's family only because that gentleman was not descended from an Earl or better? then we continue to disagree.
The refusal to 'raise Elizabeth's consequence' at Meryton had nothing to do with her birth, connections, or fortune - Darcy knew none of those at the time. How could he? He had refused any introduction to the locals, and Mr. Bingley was too busy dancing to catch Darcy up on the local standings. She COULD have been an Earl's granddaughter...or a Harriet Smith, brought out for an evening by a gentlewoman. He did not enquire. The only 'consequence' that makes sense for him to be speaking of at that time was whether or not young men found her pleasing enough with which to dance.
Yes, I DO believe Elizabeth was grading her father's respectability above Darcy's when she thought that comparison through. I had always assumed it implied that the Bennett family was longer settled, had more history, etc., than the Darcys, but Jane Austen never explains, so I simply take Elizabeth saying Darcy could never reach Mr. Bennett's respectability at face value. How do you parse it?
Darcy was descended from the peerage, and Elizabeth was below him within the aristocracy. But I fail to see Darcy ever saying that as a reason for his condemnation of her. He says 'degradation,' 'family obstacles,' 'inferiority,' - all of which could be attributed to her poor connections, and her family's frailties. I am sure that prior to the novel opening, Darcy imagined himself wedding someone of fortune, fashion, connections, and education. Elizabeth has little enough of the first three, and he discarded his attraction to her as unworthy of pursuit. He needed to recombine his ideas into what would make him happy, instead of what would complete his self-portrait of perfection, to understand Elizabeth's hold on him. But I do not believe that he ever considered the Bennett family's condition in life beneath him - only their relations' conditions.
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