Slow-Read Sunday: Pride and Prejudice, Volume II

Here are some areas to consider as you read, or after you read Volume II of Pride and Prejudice. The story is becoming more and more Elizabeth and Darcy’s story:

1. What is Elizabeth’s chief aim in the novel? What is Darcy’s?

Characters can be motivated by any number of things, but I’ll throw out a few potential suggestions: Marriage, Happiness, Wealth, Class Status. What do you think is motivating Darcy and Elizabeth, understanding their motives may be different. Or, is it unfair to put one motivation on these characters? Are they more complex than that?

2. What external or internal forces work against Elizabeth and Darcy?

Who or what works against Darcy and keeps them from getting what they’re after? Think about this as you read the rest of the novel. Is there anything that stands in the way of Darcy’s happiness? Elizabeth’s?

3. The novel itself asks this question, “…what is the difference in matrimonial affairs, between the mercenary and the prudent motive?” Also, “where does discretion end and avarice begin?” p. 102

This touches on a question we’ve asked already, what are the proper motives for marriage? Is there a line between marrying for prudent reasons, because they set you up for a good life, and greed?

4. It’s funny to read what “nice things” the characters have to say about Lady Catherine.

Words used are: “attentive neighbor;” “respectable;” “sensible.” I get a good laugh hearing what each character has to say about her. Do you think the novel is intentionally funny? p. 105.

5. Elizabeth is a natural contrast to Lady Catherine.

Elizabeth is self-taught for the most part and she is proud of that fact, isn’t she? Is that a healthy form of pride? Contrast that with Lady Catherine. How was she taught? Does she display any particular result of that teaching? p.110.

Is Lady Catherine a social critic, and, if so, is she doing society good through her criticism?

Is Lady Catherine a role model, and, if so, who is she set up to model for? Elizabeth and her sisters?

6. Is Elizabeth justified in her anger at Darcy?

Elizabeth believes Darcy separated Bingley and Jane. Is Elizabeth justified in her anger on this point? Elizabeth also believes Darcy was unfair in his dealings with Wickham. Same question, is the anger justified? p. 123, 127.

7. What is the effect of the 3-page Darcy letter?

The three page letter from Darcy is the most we’ve heard from him by way of explanation or apology. p. 128-134. Does the Darcy letter effect your answer to question 7? Should Elizabeth be ashamed of herself ? She expresses as much on p. 137.

8. What is the effect of Darcy having used the letter to convey his thoughts?

The letter gave Elizabeth a chance to study Darcy’s response at a comfortable distance. p. 140. What other effects did delivering his message by letter have? Was it an effective way to communicate? Does this method of communication particularly suit Darcy?

9. What is the effect on children of marrying for wealth? Love? Happiness? p. 155

10. What is Elizabeth’s primary aim in life? To be happy? Is that a noble aim, alone? p. 157.

11. Will Elizabeth’s visit to Pemberley have any effect on her opinion of Darcy?

We conclude Volume II with Elizabeth going to visit Pemberley. Do you think Pemberley will have an effect, either positive or negative, on how Elizabeth views Darcy? Should it?

12. What is a romantic? Which characters in the novel could you make an argument for being “romantic?” Elizabeth? Charlotte Lucas? Jane? Darcy?

For next time let’s read to p. 208, or Volume III, Chapter X for those with another edition.

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