What does the following quotation from Pride and Prejudice convey?
'She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequences to young ladies who are slighted by other men.'
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This quotation is the famous comment that Mr. Darcy makes about Elizabeth Bennet in Chapter Three of this great novel. It comes when Bingley, frustrated at having so much fun himself but seeing his friend withdrawing from the Meryton Assembly, encourages him to dance with somebody. He offers Elizabeth as a suitable enticement to tempt his friend, and he gives the remark as indicated. The importance of this quotation is that it conveys the pride of Mr. Darcy which yields the first quality that is used as the title of this book. Mr. Darcy feels that he is above everybody else around him, and that the Meryton Assembly is not dignified or refined enough for him. He, being as high and mighty as he is, will not settle for dancing with any woman, but needs some serious enticement. The quotation thus conveys his pride but also, because it is overheard, gives Elizabeth the opportunity to display her prejudice. Note what she says to her mother a couple of chapters later:
I believe, Ma'am, I may safely promise you never to dance with him.
Elizabeth has formed her impression of Darcy, and it is very difficult for that impression to be challenged in any way, as the subsequent events confirm. The quotation referred to in this question therefore is used to establish the pride of Mr. Darcy which then clashes with the prejudice exhibited by Elizabeth Bennet.
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