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|Lizzy & Darcy: Misunderstandings (chapters 6 to 18)
Written by Robbin
(5/8/2007 3:29 p.m.)
Lizzy did not misunderstand Darcy at the assembly ball. His distain was clear and concise and loud enough for her to hear. However there are many instances when Lizzy does misinterpret Darcy’s intentions.
In Chapter 6 Darcy listens in on Lizzy’s conservation as a step towards conversing with her himself but Lizzy misinterprets it as his looking to criticize her. Later in the chapter he follows Sir Williams’s advice and asks Lizzy to dance but she feels he is only being polite and refuses. She knows he does not want to dance with her from the assembly and I suspect from her declaration in Chapter 5, “I believe, ma'am, I may safely promise you never to dance with him.” that she really does not want to dance with him.
"Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Everything nourishes what is strong already. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away."
Darcy only smiled; and the general pause which ensued made Elizabeth tremble lest her mother should be exposing herself again. She longed to speak, but could think of nothing to say; and after a short silence Mrs. Bennet began repeating her thanks to Mr. Bingley for his kindness to Jane, with an apology for troubling him also with Lizzy. (Chapter 9)
In Chapter 9 Lizzy thinks Darcy is smiling at Mrs. Bennet’s vulgarity but I think he is smiling at Lizzy’s rejection of his assertion that poetry is the food of love.
In Chapter 10 Lizzy perceives Darcy is rather offended by Bingley’s description of him as an awful object but I think he is actually smiling at his friend’s way of ending the discussion on his tendency to do as other people ask. Lizzy also seems insensible of the compliment when Darcy asks she lead the way in performing at the pianoforte and thinks he keeps watching her because there is something wrong with her rather than the correct conclusion that he is attracted to her. When Darcy asks her to dance a reel she feels he is doing it in order to despise her taste but I am convinced by Julie W’s post on the popularity of Scottish airs that he is teasing her and if she had complied with the request—dancing would have commenced. Finally for the chapter, although not a misunderstanding, Lizzy is insensible of Darcy attentions to include her in their walk when the Superior Sisters make her the odd woman out. Maybe this last is too much on the side of general politeness to be particular attention but Lizzy also does not recognize Darcy wants her to join them where the Superior Sisters wished to exclude her.
In Chapter 11, Lizzy declares Darcy has a propensity to hate everyone and I think she is rather at odds with him at the end of this conservation although he is only more attracted to her and even suggests she is willingly misunderstanding him. He smiles after saying this so I feel he either thinks she is teasing him or likes how she stands up to him. In either case, I do not think his intent was to be overly critical about her character.
They stood for some time without speaking a word; and she began to imagine that their silence was to last through the two dances, and at first was resolved not to break it; till suddenly, fancying that it would be the greater punishment to her partner to oblige him to talk, she made some slight observation on the dance. He replied, and was again silent. After a pause of some minutes she addressed him a second time with -- "It is your turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy -- I talked about the dance, and you ought to make some kind of remark on the size of the room, or the number of couples." He smiled, and assured her that whatever she wished him to say should be said. (Chapter 18)
In Chapter 18, the Netherfield ball, Darcy asks her to dance and tries to carry on a civil conversation when she indicates there should be some. She decides speaking would be a punishment for him although his willingness to engage her in conversation indicates otherwise. No matter what topic he tries she discourages it and even brings up Wickham although witnessing the oddity of their greeting in Chapter 15 she knew it would not be a welcome subject. Lizzy sees Darcy’s unwillingness to talk about Wickham as an indication of guilt—that Wickham’s story is true. After all in Chapter 17 she said “If it be not so, let Mr. Darcy contradict it.”
I cannot think of any other misinterpretations but would not be surprised if some have been missed. I think Lizzy sees all of Darcy’s behavior towards herself from the perspective that he finds her wanting due to his disparagement of her in Chapter 3. I really do not blame her. Darcy never indicates that his opinion has changed and his attentions are so reserved they can easily be misinterpreted. Lizzy believes Wickham’s story and this further blackens Darcy’s character because now she thinks he is dishonorable as well as ill tempered and above his company. Any thoughts? ;D
|Julie W's Post|
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