In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, what does Elizabeth think of Bingley's conduct when he leaves for the winter without informing Jane?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth is certain that Charles Bingley is without blame in the letter that arrives to her sister Jane from Bingley's sister Caroline.

Bingley has left for London on business, thinking to be gone only a few days. His sister and the rest of the household follow him to London, and Caroline sends a note to Jane inferring that they will stay away the entire winter, during which time she expects Charles will become engaged to Darcy's sister.

Jane is devastated by the news, but Elizabeth keeps her wits about her and convinces Jane that this is only Caroline's plan, and that her intentions do not reflect the reality of Charles Bingley's feelings for Jane.

First Elizabeth comforts Jane by saying:

Indeed, Jane, you ought to believe me. — No one who has ever seen you together, can doubt [Bingley's] affection...

In fact, Elizabeth is certain that he truly cares for Jane and his intent will not be swayed by his sister's plotting. In fact, though it is a struggle, Elizabeth eventually convinces Jane that all will be well and Charles will return to her, committed still to his feelings for her.

As we later read:

[Elizabeth] represented to her sister as forcibly as possible what she felt on the subject, and had soon the pleasure of seeing its happy effect. Jane's temper was not desponding, and she was gradually led to hope, though the diffidence of affection sometimes overcame the hope, that Bingley would return to Netherfield and answer every wish of her heart.

The scene ends with Jane's hope renewed. Elizabeth is aware that Bingley has had no part in this piece of nonsense—it has all been manipulated by his sister Caroline who is a snob, thinking a marriage to the Bennets would be beneath her brother's station within society.

 

 

Additional source:

http://www.enotes.com/pride-and-prejudice/volume-one-chapters-19-23-summary-analysis

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