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Written by Penelope
(1/26/2004 3:25 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Lizzy's prejudices...?, penned by MelanieB
At this point Lizzy condems Charlotte partly because, as you say, Charlotte hasn't acted in the way Lizzy would and had acted. But Lizzy's views or standards here are also somewhat naive, as she ignores that fact that both Charlotte and herself and her sisters have very few options other than marriage to preserve them from 'want'. In both families the financial future is not certain, which Charlotte appears to acknowledge but Lizzy does not.
Jane's views are more reasonable, though she too is initially surprised by the match - "You do not make allowance enough for difference of situation and temper. Consider Mr. Collins's respectability, and Charlotte's prudent, steady character. Remember that she is one of a large family; that as to fortune it is a most eligible match; and be ready to believe, for everybody's sake, that she may feel something like regard and esteem for our cousin."
Lizzy cannot accept that anyone could feel 'esteem' for Mr Collins - and she may be right here :) - but on the other points Jane is being more realistic. It often seems to me that both Lizzy and Mr Bennet take rather too lightly their lack of security - it's not as if it's easy or even possible for a woman to support herself in that society at the time. They are relying on the assumption that at least one of the girls is going to marry very well financially - and he's also going to be a good and likeable man, of good social standing, and the marriage a marriage of affection and respect. It's quite a tall order really - more so if you consider that the Bennets only had beauty and charm to recommend them - no fortune or rank, and no connections, other than undesirable ones.
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