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|Reader’s knowledge vs. Lizzy’s Mr. Bennet & Jane
Written by amytat
(5/1/2013 10:55 p.m.)
This week we get a bit of the back story on the Bennet’s marriage from Mr. Bennet’s POV.
Her father, captivated by youth and beauty, and that appearance of good-humour which youth and beauty generally give, had married a woman whose weak understanding and illiberal mind had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her. Respect, esteem, and confidence had vanished for ever; and all his views of domestic happiness were overthrown. … To his wife he was very little otherwise indebted, than as her ignorance and folly had contributed to his amusement.
While we are told “Elizabeth...had never been blind to the impropriety of her father's behavior as a husband” she probably doesn’t know the details JA gives us here.
Things get a little murky with Jane this week.
When Elizabeth tell her of Darcy’s proposal and his story about Wickham, “Miss Bennet's astonishment was soon lessened by the strong sisterly partiality which made any admiration of Elizabeth appear perfectly natural; and all surprise was shortly lost in other feelings. She was sorry that Mr. Darcy should have delivered his sentiments in a manner so little suited to recommend them; but still more was she grieved for the unhappiness which her sister's refusal must have given him. … What a stroke was this for poor Jane! who would willingly have gone through the world without believing that so much wickedness existed in the whole race of mankind.
I’m not sure if we are seeing thoughts Elizabeth is not privy to or getting a summary of things Jane expressed in their conversation (or some combination).
A similar thing happens here:
[Elizabeth] was now, on being settled at home, at leisure to observe the real state of her sister's spirits. Jane was not happy. She still cherished a very tender affection for Bingley. Having never even fancied herself in love before, her regard had all the warmth of first attachment, and, from her age and disposition, greater steadiness than first attachments often boast; and so fervently did she value his remembrance, and prefer him to every other man, that all her good sense, and all her attention to the feelings of her friends, were requisite to check the indulgence of those regrets which must have been injurious to her own health and their tranquillity.
As kathleen (elder) says in her post below this passage seems to mix some of Elizabeth's concerns w/ an omniscient narrator's observations. I can’t be sure here how much we know that Elizabeth doesn’t. (sorry to repeat that but I couldn’t figure out how to cover the topic without doing so)
I think this lack of distinction between Jane’s thoughts and what Elizabeth knows about Jane adds to the impression of how close they are.
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