Illustration of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy with neutral expressions on their faces

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

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Why do you suppose Mr. Bennet teases his wife instead of telling her directly about his visit to meet Mr. Bingley? What is revealed about Kitty, Mary and Lydia Bennet in this chapter?

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In Chapter 2, Mr. Bennet hides the news of his calling on Mr. Bingley because he enjoys the momentary power he holds in the household, a home that is dominated by women.  In the Bennet house, the women, especially Mrs. Bennet, Lydia and Kitty are all chattering and...

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giggling and complaining all the time.  The only relief that Mr. Bennet has from the feminine chaos is his study where he distances himself the goings on in the house and retreats into his books.

Mr. Bennet has done as his wife asked and called on Mr. Bingley, understanding the urgency of the matter to secure the attentions of any eligible bachelor, he has five daughters to marry off.  He does not tell Mrs. Bennet because he enjoys the shock and surprise that his news brings, it makes him happy to feel that he can provide for his family.

"The astonishment of the ladies was just what he wished; that of Mrs. Bennet perhaps surpassing the rest; though, when the first tumult of joywas over, she began to declare that it was what she had expected all the while." (Austen)

Mr. Bennet realizes that the family home, Longbourne will pass to his next male relative, Mr. Collins, and should he die before the girls are properly settled and married, the family would be homeless.  Therefore, he takes the job of calling on Bingley very seriously, but does not reveal this aspect to his wife.

Kitty has a cough in this chapter and her coughing gets on Mrs. Bennet's nerves.

Mary is the daughter who is not much of a talker, but a deep thinker prone to reflection.

Lydia is the youngest, she has a few words at the end of the chapter.

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