Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Volume One, Chapters 4-8 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Mr. and Mrs. Hurst: Bingley’s “stuck-up” sister and his lazy brother-in-law

Caroline Bingley: Bingley’s selfish sister, who has aspirations of becoming Mrs. Darcy

Mr. and Mrs. Phillips: Mrs. Bennet’s sister and brother-in-law. They own a home in Meryton which Lydia and Kitty love to visit because of the nearby officers’ quarters

Chapter 4 describes the previous ball, and we are presented with the different reactions of Jane and Elizabeth. Then, in contrast, we learn the reactions of Darcy and Bingley. Elizabeth reproaches Jane for being “blind,” which is ironic because later she is the one who becomes blind to Darcy’s attention. Elizabeth seems to have a very perceptive nature, unless she is personally involved with the individual. Lizzy also chides Jane about being naive, thinking the best of everyone. Jane admits to her sister that she is quite impressed with Bingley. Darcy and Bingley express totally opposite views of the evening. Bingley enjoyed the people and the ball, but Darcy complained that they’re common people with little or no beauty or fashion.

Chapter 5 begins with Mrs. Bennet and her daughters visiting the Lucas’ home the next day. The women gossip and discuss the men and their manners. All are quite miffed with Darcy’s statement that Elizabeth was merely “tolerable.” They end in a big discussion of the differences between pride and vanity. He, apparently, is the epitome of both.

Chapter 6 takes place a few weeks after the first ball. Many social occasions have thrown the Bennets, Bingleys, and Darcy together. There is a definite relationship developing between Jane and Charles. Darcy is beginning to become attracted to Elizabeth, because of her quick wit and perceptive analysis. He discusses his new admiration of Miss Bennet with Charles’ sister, who immediately sees Elizabeth as a threat to her own happiness.

Chapter 7 deals with the two youngest Bennet daughters, Kitty and Lydia. Their favorite pastime seems to be to walk to their Aunt and Uncle’s home, because an army barracks is located nearby. Their incessant chatter about uniforms and officers irks their father into stating that they are two of the silliest girls in the country.

Jane is sent a note inviting her to dine with Bingley’s sister, Caroline, that evening. She has to take a horse instead of the coach, and arrives there soaked to the skin after a severe storm unexpectedly develops. Jane becomes seriously ill with a cold, and she stays the night. Her note the next day alarms Lizzy, who walks through the countryside to visit her. She arrives with muddy feet and stockings, and the two Bingley sisters can hardly hold back their disdain. However, Mr. Bingley and Darcy are impressed by her devotion. This impression is strengthened by the way she handles her silly mother and younger sisters when they visit Netherfield while Jane’s condition worsens. Elizabeth stays at Netherfield, and helps nurse Jane back to health.

Discussion and Analysis

(The entire section is 746 words.)