Discussion Questions for Pride and Prejudice VOL II CHs 11-19

Discussion Questions for Group 2: LC, EJ, KM

1. Why does Mr. Darcy focus on and even mention to Elizabeth “his sense of her inferiority- of its being a degradation” (Austen 160)?

2. Why did Mr. Darcy feel that his “character required [this letter] to be written and read” and that he could “demand [Elizabeth’s] attention?” (Austen 166).

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8 Responses to Discussion Questions for Pride and Prejudice VOL II CHs 11-19

  1. KG says:

    I think Darcy feels as though he is requiring Elizabeth to read his letter is because after she angrily turns down his marriage proposal, he really wants her to see that he is not who she thinks he is. He wants her to know the truth about Wickham because maybe if she really understands what his side of that situation was, she would have less animosity towards him. In addition, I think he purposely writes his feelings in a letter because maybe this way she would really understand him and take the time to actually read what he is feeling because he might feel as though when he talks to her she doesnt listen and just accuses him. Also, he may be doing this as a way of putting aside his pride because he doesnt want her to see his weaknesses.

  2. JG says:

    As for the first question, my knee-jerk response is that he is pretty much talking out of his ass, because he seems to have a fair bit of social anxiety in general, and speaking to (or about) Elizabeth tends to exacerbate the problem. He is trying to say the right things but because of his anxiety he gets a bit carried away with his speech and ended up saying some things that, although he may feel them to be true, are not really helping his case much. After he screws up his initial advance he writes her a letter explaining his feelings and the situation at hand more eloquently and succeeds in changing her mind. He required himself to write the letter because he needed her to know that he is not so arrogant and prideful as he may have seemed. I think he demanded her to read it, not only somewhat in desperation but also because he is still of a higher rank than her, and even though he is trying to put that aside, it may still have come through a bit.

  3. MP says:

    I think Darcy mentions to Elizabeth the fact of her inferior rank not only to reveal how much he cares for her but also what obstacles that places in front of them. Darcy mentions that it is not ideal for him to be in love with Elizabeth, but he can put aside his pride because of his love for her. If Elizabeth were to have accepted Darcy’s proposal of marriage then her inferior rank would have caused alarm to many in the community, Lady Catherine to be specific. Despite her inferior rank, and her family’s ill manners he still not only wants to be associated but married to Elizabeth which shows his true affection towards her.

  4. KE says:

    At first I didn’t realize why Mr. Darcy would mention his inferiority to Elizabeth, but I think Mary Ann makes a good point. Maybe Darcy is trying to express ( in an odd way) how he admires her, and his admiration must be intense because he is of higher rank and it may be a shock to others.

    As for the letter, I think Darcy felt his character has been ruined and that what happened, especially with Mr. Wickham, he wanted to correct who he was as a person. I also think maybe after hearing Elizabeth speak to him about his character he felt a little ashamed even though he maybe didn’t show it.

  5. RT says:

    Darcy’s strong desire for Elizabeth to read his letter shows that he is becoming more attached to her and craving her attention. She is probably the only girl that has hurt his pride this much, especially when she rejected his marriage proposal, so he is attempting to change her mind in any way that he can. Elizabeth seems to not care too much until she reads the letter and starts to second guess her thoughts about Darcy. I think Austen sets up this scene as an attempt to soften the barrier between Darcy and Elizabeth. It also seems to be a form of foreshadowing because we start to predict that Elizabeth will soon fall for Darcy.

  6. BU says:

    Mr. Darcy brings up Elizabeth’s inferiority meaning to express to her the depth of his affection for her. He wants to let her know that despite her being of a lower class, he still loves her. But due to his lack of skill in communication, his words come out wrong and he ends up insulting her, although it was not his intention. I think that Mr. Darcy feels compelled to put his thoughts down in a letter to Elizabeth for multiple reasons. One of them being that it is quite obvious that he is not gifted when it comes to speaking freely with others. Writing a letter instead of speaking to Elizabeth in person allowed Darcy to express his feelings without the anxiety that comes with face to face communication. In writing a letter he would not be interrupted by Elizabeth, who at this time in the novel is so quick to find fault within him at every chance.

  7. HC says:

    Despite the fact that Elizabeth said no to Darcy’s marry proposal, Darcy still could not give up. He wrote a long letter explaining his situation and feelings toward her. He thinks the misjudgment, and prejudice between them are the reason that their relationship was getting complicated. I thought this long letter with all the explanation might be the turning point in their relationship. Since Darcy is a well educated from wealthy family, he knows how to write a convincing letter with big words. Therefore, I think Elizabeth would fee very complicated and think differently after reading this letter.

  8. AC says:

    I think that because Elizabeth is of lower rank and class and that she is “untouchable” it wears at Darcy. His feelings for her are growing more and more and he is unable to socially be with her makes him want her even more. He mentions this to her because I feel that he wants her to know just how much her presence affects him and how much he wants to be with her. Yet his pride still seems to get in the way of saying what he truly feels. I think that Darcy doesn’t want to completely show that he is weak around her and that he is a still a strong, proud man. He wants Elizabeth to know that she is inferior to him and that he is still above her in rank and class. I don’t think he means to hurt her. I just think that because he is socially awkward, and it is custom to be with people of the same rank, that he didn’t mean to come off in a rude way.

    I think that his letter is valuable resource for Elizabeth to have. We all know that Darcy isn’t the best public speaker. He tends to say the wrong things and in a harsh way, and they never come out the way he intended it to. Because the accusations that Elizabeth said to him came out of no where to him, this letter allows him to explain himself. Darcy is an eloquent and master of writing letters. This letter is very key to Elizabeth’s self-actualization and really aids in favor of Darcy in that she begins to really fall in love with him. He wants to show Elizabeth that he is not all that she thinks he is and that he does things for a good reason.

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