Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Volume Two, Chapters 4-8 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Maria Lucas: Charlotte’s younger sister

Colonel Fitzwilliam: a handsome, well-bred cousin of Darcy who becomes infatuated with Elizabeth

Mrs. Jenkinson: the tutoress of Miss de Bourgh

Summary
Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth discuss marriage, Wickham, and money. When they stop for a night in London, Elizabeth is happy that Jane looks better and is enjoying her change of scenery.

Elizabeth, Charlotte’s father, and her sister, Maria, visit the parsonage for a fortnight, as they had planned earlier.

At the parsonage, Mr. Collins effusively praises his patroness, and tries to show Elizabeth what she missed by her refusal of his proposal. Elizabeth finds Lady Catherine to be rude, artificial, and condescending. The daughter receives Elizabeth’s pity for being reclusive.

During this visit, Darcy and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, arrive. Darcy is again attracted to Elizabeth, as is Fitzwilliam. Lady Catherine almost compels Elizabeth to play the piano for them at one of the requested dinner invitations, and then complains to Darcy about her style and lack of finesse. Darcy was attentive and enjoyed her performance.

Discussion and Analysis
Elizabeth’s arrival at the Collins’ parsonage is the essence of Chapters 4 and 5. She reaffirms her distaste for Collins, pities Charlotte’s position, and forms a decisive opinion that Lady de Bourgh is not a nice person. The woman is belligerent, domineering, outspoken, and condescending. She allows no one to have conflicting views, and looks down her nose at those she considers to be socially inferior. Her treatment of her young daughter explains why the poor child is so reticent.

A meeting with Darcy, who arrives to visit his aunt, rekindles old feelings. The emergence of Fitzwilliam offers new hope of a future relationship. All the other visitors to Lady de Bourgh’s estate feel cowed by her, but Elizabeth is not, and so earns her animosity. Elizabeth doesn’t allow her inferior social position to countermand good judgment. She presents herself as an independent person, even when there are social...

(The entire section is 503 words.)