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Pride and Prejudice

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In Volume II, Chapter 11, Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth. What is the sequence of her feelings on receiving this proposal? Why does she actually refuse him? Why does she think she refuses him?

Pride and Prejudice, published in 1813, is one of the most mature and popular Jane's Austen's works. When Austen began writing the novel in 1796, she was going to call it “First Impressions” in order to reflect the main theme of this book. Writing about fundamental things that do not change over time, the author is naturally addressing ordinary people. This book is about how intelligent people can make prejudicial decisions. The symbol of an initial prejudice is Elizabeth, the main character of the novel.

Elizabeth is considered the most intelligent and sensible of the five Bennet sisters. She is a quick-witted, attractive, cheerful and well-read young woman. She is fully aware of the limited prospects of her family, but these constraints do not affect her thoughts, feelings, values or behavior. To marry a financially comfortable gentleman would be a highest prospect for her. Nevertheless her highest and unspoken ambition would be to marry for love a respectful man of good character and sufficient means to support the life of an upper-class family.

Elizabeth has enough confidence to trust her own ability to judge people's characters and situations. However, her perceptive abilities fail her several times because she is influenced by pride and judges people hastily. Her prejudice leads her to making a terrible mistake. When Elizabeth first encounters Mr. Darcy, an extremely wealthy and intelligent gentleman, she considers him as offensively rude man because of his displayed arrogance and aloofness at the Meryton ball. After judging him negatively by his first impression, she is blinded to any changes in him. At the same time, Elizabeth is so truly convinced that Mr. Darcy looks down on her. She can not imagine that Mr. Darcy actually might be attracted to her. The thought never enters her mind and this serves for the reason why Elizabeth is shocked when Mr. Darcy proposes to her.

There is no preparation in Elizabeth’s mind for Mr. Darcy’s unexpected proposal. This is not what she has thought could happen. The girl experiences a sequence of feelings together with her thoughts. First of all, Elizabeth is surprised and amazed by the Mr. Darcy’s proposal: “Elizabeth's astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent”. Mr. Darcy accepts her emotional state as an encouragement. He spends more time emphasizing Elizabeth's lower rank than really asking her to marry him "he was not more eloquent on the

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