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|Reader Vs. Lizzy Chapters 4 & 5 (long)
Written by amytat
(4/8/2013 9:04 p.m.)
I don’t know if anyone else will find this interesting but I’ve often heard people speak of P&P as being only from Elizabeth’s perspective or POV. So I’d like to focus on information the reader has that Lizzy doesn’t, either because we are given insights into someone’s thoughts or see things she isn’t present for, and see if this brings me any new insight.
Starting this off is a bit tricky because it takes some time for Lizzy to emerge as the main character and in the first few chapters it’s not totally clear what information she might or might not have. This could be a whole other discussion so for my purposes I’m going to start with Chapter 4. To me this feels like a good starting place since the beginning is clearly Lizzy’s POV, she and Jane are alone, we hear the whole conversation but get Lizzy’s thoughts, “Elizabeth listened in silence, but was not convinced….”
Then the narrative quickly shifts to give us a information about Mr. Bingley,his sisters and Mr. Darcy, “They were in fact very fine ladies; not deficient in good-humour when they were pleased, …. but proud and conceited… and were therefore in every respect entitled to think well of themselves, and meanly of others.… Mr. Bingley inherited property to the amount of… … Between him and Darcy there was a very steady friendship, in spite of a great opposition of character… Bingley was sure of being liked wherever he appeared, Darcy was continually giving offence. .”
It’s possible Lizzy would have heard some of this information through local gossip but it doesn’t seem to be coming from her perspective. Then we have a conversation between Bingley and Darcy she clearly isn’t privy too, “The manner in which they spoke of the Meryton assembly was sufficiently characteristic. Bingley had never met with pleasanter people or prettier girls in his life… Darcy, on the contrary, had seen a collection of people in whom there was little beauty and no fashion… Miss Bennet he acknowledged to be pretty, but she smiled too much. Mrs. Hurst and her sister allowed it to be so; but still they admired her and liked her,…”
This information and conversation seem to me to verify the opinions of the of Bingley and Darcy that were formed at the assembly, “Mr. Bingley was good-looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners… Mr. Darcy was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased.” It may also give us a hint that Lizzy’s opinion of Bingley’s sisters, “she was very little disposed to approve them.”has some merit.
In Chapter 5 things get a bit murky again with some background info on Sir William Lucas “Sir William Lucas had been formerly in trade in Meryton,…” Much of this might be common knowledge known to Lizzy as well as the reader but it’s hard to be sure. At the moment I don’t really have anything to comment on here but maybe it will tie in later.
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