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|Prejudice against Caroline, or good sense?
Written by Kathi
(5/6/2007 3:04 a.m.)
In the "kindly" meant warning Lizzy receives from Caroline about Wickham, there is a sentence that I had never noticed before: "Wickham's coming into the country at all is a most insolent thing, indeed, and I wonder how he could presume to do it."
I think that this is a measure of how partisan Caroline is. She doesn't even know what it was that Wickham did (she says she doesn't know the particulars -- I rather doubt she knows anything at all, other than that Darcy detests Wickham). And yet she doesn't think Wickham should be allowed in the same county (which is what I assume she means by "country") as the one Darcy is visiting (not even residing).
There are those who have posted in the past that Lizzy should have put her prejudice aside and listened to Caroline (even though of course at this point in the group read, we don't know who is right), but I don't think there is evidence of prejudice here. Lizzy puts her finger precisely on the weakness in Caroline's argument ("His guilt and his descent appear by your account to be the same") and cites her lack of any evidence.
One test that occurred to me was to wonder whether, if Carlotte, Lizzy's intimate friend, had come to Lizzy in the same way -- would she have listened, or would she have dismissed the advice for the same reason? Of course we can never know for certain, but I think Lizzy would have done the latter.
Whatever the outcome turns out to be, I think Lizzy was right to dismiss Caroline.
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