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|Reader’s knowledge vs. Lizzy’s: The Lucases
Written by amytat
(4/16/2013 9:55 p.m.)
Then the Bennets dine with the Lucases and Lizzy thinks Charlotte is being kind in listening to Mr Collins but we get our first peek into Charlotte’s thoughts and learn Charlotte's kindness extended farther than Elizabeth had any conception of; -- its object was nothing else than to secure her from any return of Mr. Collins's addresses, by engaging them towards herself.. (I just have to interject I love the way JA phrases that!) Charlotte is successful and when Mr. Collins comes to propose and she sees him from the window “and instantly set out to meet him accidentally in the lane. So we see some calculated behavior on Charlotte’s part as well.
Once Charlotte accepts Mr. Collins we learn what she thinks of him, Mr. Collins, to be sure, was neither sensible nor agreeable; his society was irksome, and his attachment to her must be imaginary. We also learn more about Charlotte’s views on marriage, it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want. we also learn having obtained this preservative without ever having been handsome she felt all the good luck of it.. Here I feel a little sorry for her in that she feels she’s lucky to get a man finds irksome. So far the only down side from Charlotte’s POV is how Lizzy will react and we are told she valued [Elizabeth’s friendship] beyond that of any other person Lizzy is just as surprised as Charlotte expected, “that Charlotte could encourage him seemed almost as far from possibility as that she could encourage him herself, … and she could not help crying out - "Engaged to Mr. Collins! my dear Charlotte, impossible!"
It seems as if at this point Charlotte knows Lizzy better than Lizzy knows her. I do wonder if Lizzy knows how much Charlotte values her friendship.
We also get a quick peek at how Charlotte’s family members react:
Sir William and Lady Lucas seem to think of nothing but his fortune, ”Mr. Collins's present circumstances made it a most eligible match for their daughter, to whom they could give little fortune; and his prospects of future wealth were exceedingly fair.” with Mrs Lucas going so far as to calculate how much longer Mr. Bennet is likely to live. Sir William quickly focuses on a future appearance at St. James’s and Lady Lucas enjoys rubbing Mrs. Bennet’s nose in her happiness.
Charlottes siblings seem to think only of how they are affected. Her sisters formed hopes of coming out a year or two sooner and her brothers were relieved from their apprehension of Charlotte's dying an old maid
Perhaps this quick look at her family makes Charlotte’s attitude less surprising.
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