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|The significance of a month
Written by Kathi
(2/7/2004 7:10 a.m.)
In refusing his proposal, Lizzy tells Darcy that she had not known him a month when she knew he was the last man on earth she would ever marry. One thing I've wondered was why it took her a month. I would have thought that she had reached that decision when she heard him expressing uncomplimentary opinions about her at the Assembly, apparently without caring whether she overheard. Or possibly even earlier, when she saw how clearly he was showing that he found all the locals at the Assembly uninteresting.
This time reading through P&P, I noticed something I hadn't noticed before. Wickham arrived in Meryton about a month after Darcy. (From Chapter 16: [Wickham] asked in an hesitating manner how long Mr. Darcy had been staying there. "About a month," said Elizabeth...)
Is there a significance to this? Some have said that Lizzy was dead set against Darcy from the time she overheard his uncomplimentary remark. However, the mention of that specific period of time may indicate that until hearing Wickham's story, Lizzy believed Darcy to be an unpleasant but honorable man. When she heard Wickham's story, she came to believe he was dishonorable, and then she did become dead set against him.
Am I reading too much into this? Is it just a coincidence?
Also, if Darcy had not been sending such mixed signals (e.g., ignoring Lizzy for a day when she was a guest at Netherfield), would she have been more open to him? Perhaps less likely to believe Wickham?
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