Discussion Questions for Pride and Prejudice, CHs 15-23

1. In your opinion, what factors contributed to Elizabeth Bennet being immediately drawn to Wickham, as opposed to Mr. Collins or Mr. Darcy?

2. After Elizabeth politely rejects Mr. Collin’s marriage proposal, he quickly convinces himself that this action is to be expected: “‘It is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept when he first applies for their favour; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second time or even a third time. I am therefore by no means discouraged by what you have just said and shall hope to lead you to the altar ere long” (CH 19). Why do you think Mr. Collins didn’t take Elizabeth’s polite rejection as a firm answer?

3. What do you think might have been Mr. Bennet’s motive for not encouraging Elizabeth to marry Mr. Collins?

4. Despite Mr. Collins unsuccessful effort to better the lives of the Bennet women by asking Elizabeth to marry him, his new marriage plans cause the issue of the entail to raise its ugly head again, especially for Mrs. Bennet: “I never can be thankful, Mr. Bennet, for anything about the entail. How any one could have the conscience to entail away an estate from one’s own daughters I cannot understand; and all for the sake of Mr. Collins too! – Why should he have it more than anybody else?” (CH 23).

Compare Mrs. Bennet’s reaction to that of Mr. Bennet and Mr. Collins. Why don’t they share her concern about the entail?

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5 Responses to Discussion Questions for Pride and Prejudice, CHs 15-23

  1. KE says:

    I think Mr. Collins didn’t takes Elizabeth’s proposal refusal seriously because in this period a proper marriage for a young women is something that is very important and without be married to someone a young women, once her father is has passed, will have nothing and no money to take care of herself. Mr. Collins knowing this, and knowing that Elizabeth’s mother approved of the proposal, was probably stricken when Elizabeth said no and though maybe it was shock that kept her from saying yes. Also, another reason he may have thought her first answer not firm is because as a cousin Mr. Collins is the male heir to Mr. Bennet’s estate. Had Elizabeth said yes she would have been part of keeping her fathers estate, and would not have to wonder who will take care of her when the day of her father passing does come.

    After discussing the entail with Mr. Bennet I am unsure as to why Mr. Bennet seems to be so calm compared to Mrs.Bennet. When reading I did realize more of a change in Mrs. Bennets tone that she was more hurt that Miss. Lucas would be taking her spot in the estate than she was worried about what would happen to her family.

  2. KG says:

    What I believe might have been Mr. Bennet’s motive for not encouraging Elizabeth to accept Mr. Collins’ marriage proposal is the fact that maybe in addition to the fact that he does not entirely like Mr. Collins, that in fact he does care about the happiness of his daughters. Even though it is important for them to be married off for the future of their economic and social security, I think he still wants to ensure their happiness and he knows that Elizabeth does not want to settle for security with Mr. Collins, and that she really wants to end up happily married with no regrets. Why would he want his daughter to marry the arrogant man who wants to take over his estate? However, this is not what Mrs. Bennet is portraying for her daughters, so she is visibly appalled by her daughter declination of marriage, as well as security, so her husband’s contrary statement only ceases to annoy her even more.

    • AC says:

      It makes me wonder what Mr. Bennet truly thinks of his daughter. If he wants her to be happy in her marriage, does he believe that she will have other and better opportunities for marriage? Because if he does not think that she will receive another proposal, then he should have considered her future as a single woman and been upset.

      • AC says:

        I think Mr. Bennett knows Lizzy is smart and that she has a future of finding someone better for her. He sees the potential that she has. He treats Lizzy a lot different then the rest of his daughters, in that he shares different things with her, and even speaks to her in different ways, so I know that if perhaps Mary or Kitty or Lydia were up for the proposal that he probably would of made her marry him because he knows that they might either not be married or make a stupid mistake and marry the completely wrong man (as Lydia did).

  3. AC says:

    1. Elizabeth is clearly drawn to Wickham because of his looks and charm. He knows just what to say and what to do in order to get what he wants. He plays the sympathy card well and this is what really hooks Elizabeth in to him. Also, the fact that he is a red coat makes him appear even more attractive because they are seen as dangerous and daring.

    2. I think Mr. Collins thinks of himself as a great catch and doesn’t see that he is not all that he thinks he is. He does make a valid point though, in that women tend to act as if they don’t want to married, when in reality they do. Women do play coy at first, but then cave in. He does not know Lizzy all that well though, and just thinks she is desperate to be married to anyone. I think Mr. Collins sees himself as higher rank than the Bennetts and thinks that Lizzy should have no reason not to accept his proposal.

    3. I think Mr. Bennett doesn’t want Lizzy to end up with a poor marriage and be unhappy. Mr. Bennett knows his daughter is smart and will end up with someone who she loves. Mr. Bennett knows what it’s like to be in an unhappy marriage and does not want that for her.

    4. I think Mr. Bennett knows that his daughters will end up okay and that they won’t have to worry about where to live. Also, I think that because it is custom that the men don’t worry so much as the women. Mrs. Bennett is so worried about her daughters marrying well that she worries about what would happen if they don’t marry at all. Also, I just think that it is her character in the book to worry about these kind of matters and bring them to the readers attention.

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