How does Austen portray Georgiana Darcy and Miss Bingley?

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Austen portrays these two women of the upper class by contrasting their personalities.  Georgiana Darcy, Mr. Darcy's younger sister is an innocent, refined, polite and kind young lady.  She is shy and unsophisticated, this is evidenced by the fact that she was completely fooled by Wickham.

Wickham convinced Georgiana that he loved her, whisking her away at the tender age of 15 to elope.  It was through the efforts of her brother, Mr. Darcy, that Georgiana was saved from the cunning con man that Wickham had become.  He was carefully cultivating Georgiana in order to steal her fortune.  He did not care for her, Wickham only wanted to use her.

Georgiana is a kind and gentle girl, who when she meets Elizabeth Bennet immediately sees the character of the woman is belongs to a lower social class than she.

"She was less handsome than her brother, but there was sense and good humour in her face, and her manners were perfectly unassuming and gentle." Elizabeth Bennet expects that she will dislike Georgiana just as much as she initially dislikes her brother, but she turns out to be favorably impressed."

Caroline Bingley, the unmarried sister of Charles, is depicted as an upper class snob, incapable of a kind word or thought, prejudiced in her attitudes toward the Bennet sisters, pretending to befriend Jane and Lizzie, while, behind their backs, she mocked their commonness and their simple clothes.

Caroline has another reason to dislike Lizzie Bennet, she has set her sights on Mr. Darcy, except he does not pay much attention to Caroline.  Then, when Darcy sets his eyes on Lizzie, Caroline becomes more pompous and obnoxious in Darcy's company attempting to make Elizabeth feel uncomfortable and to distract Darcy's attention away from the common girl in the simple dress.

Caroline is well dressed, but possesses a caustic personality, she is petty and small minded, and easily boasts of their family fortune. Caroline and her sister try desperately to control their brother, Charles.  In the early part of the book, Caroline shares the same arrogant pride and prejudiced attitudes that Darcy displays toward Jane Bennet, which results in the Bingleys leaving the country in a great hurry without any explanation.

This leaves Jane to imagine that Charles did not really care for her at all, which is not true.  But Caroline, even when Jane is in London, does nothing to help her "Friend, Jane" reconnect with her brother.  She acts pleasant, and tries to be policy but more often than not she ends us being sarcastic and sour in her conversation. Caroline Bingley is depicted as a bitter woman, controlling her anger and contempt for a woman, Lizzie, who she feels is beneath her and who has succeeded in securing Mr. Darcy's attention, something that she has failed at.

"Caroline and her sister are willing to go to great lengths to prevent his marriage into the poorer Bennet family. It is Caroline who reveals to Jane Bennet her plans to have Charles marry Fitzwilliam Darcy's sister Georgiana."


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