Essential Passages by Character: Elizabeth Bennet
Essential Passage 1: Book 1, Chapter 3
“I would not be so fastidious as you are,” cried Bingley, “for a kingdom! Upon my honor, I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and there are several of them, you see, uncommonly pretty.”
“You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room,” said Mr. Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss Benet.
“Oh, she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you!”
“Which do you mean?” and turning round he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till, catching her eye, he withdrew his own, and coldly said, “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.”
Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained, with no very cordial feelings toward him. She told the story, however, with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous.
At the ball at Meryton, the Bennet family meet Mr. Bingley as well as his friend and advisor, Mr. Darcy. Mr. Bingley is taken with Jane Bennet, dancing with her twice, a clear signal that she has gained his favor. Mr. Darcy, however, dances only with those whom he is already acquainted, which does not include any of the local people and especially not the Bennet girls. Standing near the two gentlemen, Elizabeth Bennet overhears their conversation. Bingley chides Darcy for being “fastidious” in his opinion of the ladies, but Darcy says that Bingley has already chosen for himself the only attractive girl in the room—Jane Bennet. Bingley suggests that Darcy ask Jane’s sister, Elizabeth, to dance, but Darcy refuses by saying that her modicum of beauty is not enough to tempt him. Elizabeth goes immediately to her sisters and friends, more amused than offended by Darcy’s prideful attitude and remarks.
Essential Passage 2: Book 1, Chapter 22
Charlotte did not stay much longer, and Elizabeth was then left to reflect on what she had heard. It was a long time before she became at all reconciled to the idea of so unsuitable a match. The strangeness of Mr. Collins' making two offers of marriage in three days was nothing in comparison of his being now accepted. She had always felt that Charlotte's opinion of matrimony was not exactly like her own; but she could not have supposed it possible that, when called into action, she would have sacrificed every better feeling to worldly advantage. Charlotte, the wife of Mr. Collins, was a most humiliating picture! And to the pang of a friend disgracing herself, and sunk in her esteem, was added the distressing conviction that it was impossible for that friend to be tolerably happy in the lot she had chosen.
Because the Bennets' Longbourne estate is "entailed" (i.e., legally inheritable only by male...
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Essential Passages by Theme: First Impressions
Essential Passage 1: Book 1, Chapter 18
“I remember hearing you once say, Mr. Darcy, that you hardly ever forgave—that your resentment, once created, was unappeasable. You are very cautious, I suppose, as to its being created?”
“I am,” said he, with a firm voice.
“And never allow yourself to be blinded by prejudice?”
“I hope not.”
“It is particularly incumbent on those who never change their opinion to be secure of judging properly at first.”
Mr. Bingley at last holds a ball at Netherfield. Elizabeth had hoped there to see Wickham, in whom she finds some appeal, but he has not attended. Elizabeth blames Darcy for Wickham's absence and tells him why: years ago, Darcy maliciously denied Wickham the rectorship he had been promised by Darcy’s father. Confronted with this accusation, Darcy gives Elizabeth his opinion, which is that Wickham is dishonest, manipulative, and corrupt. Elizabeth reminds Darcy of his prior claim that once having formed an impression of a person, he never changes it. She asks him if he is thus blinded by the prejudice of his first impression, but Darcy denies this. Elizabeth then says that if one never changes a first impression, one had better make sure it is correct to begin with. Darcy still rejects Wickham’s interpretation of events, and in this he is backed up by Miss Bingley. However, since Elizabeth has already decided on her own first impressions—namely, that Darcy and Miss Bingley are prideful—she decides to believe Wickham because her impression of him is more favorable.
Essential Passage 2: Book 2, Chapter 11
“From the very beginning, from the first moment, I may almost say, of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”
Elizabeth arrives at Charlotte Lucas’s new home for the first time since Charlotte's marriage to Mr. Collins. As rector, he is a sycophant to Lady Catherine de Bourgh and goes to visit her often. Elizabeth avoids these encounters as much as she can. On one occasion when she is at home alone in the parsonage, Darcy comes to pay a visit. Recently, Elizabeth had detected a sad tone in Jane's letters, knowing it is because her sister has lost Mr. Bingley due to Mr. Darcy's interference. When Darcy unexpectedly confesses his love to Elizabeth, she gives vent to her anger. From their very first meeting, Darcy has made it clear that he has little regard for Elizabeth and her family. He has been the cause of sadness for Jane and has tried to alter Elizabeth's own opinion of Wickham. The fact that Darcy is now reluctantly proposing marriage strikes her as preposterous, and she tells him that he is that last man she would ever consent to marry. Darcy, angered at her refusal but repressing his emotions, leaves her.
Essential Passage 3:...
(The entire section is 1383 words.)