Pride and Prejudice Readalong: Chapters 21 – 40

main-imageToday is the second discussion for the Pride and Prejudice readalong that I’m hosting with Wendy from Wensend.   We are doing this readalong for the Austen in August event, hosted by Lost Generation Reader.  Following the first discussions on Chapter 1 – 20, I hope you all are ready to be discussing Chapters 21 – 40! Please comment and join in the discussions, even if you didn’t sign up initially. You’re also welcome to tweet us with hashtags #AustenInAugustLGR and#PandPReadalong.

Here are my thoughts:

The humor that played a big role in the beginning of the novel seems to have fanned out a bit in these chapters. They are a lot more serious in content and I took a bit longer to read them as I did the first twenty. As I said in previous discussion, I really do like Elizabeth for her strength and opinionated nature, but she is quite motherly as well. I like how she is very concerned about her sister Jane’s wellbeing.   I’m impartial to Jane (see what I’m doing there?) she is so…weak, but that’s probably to be expected of women in that era, but I would’ve expected her to have more of a motherly nature.  She guarded herself, not showing too much of her feelings and that has cost her Bingley (apart from her family’s influence).   I may be wrong in saying that!  I can’t remember now, but did she advise Lizzie to guard herself against Wickham? She seems a bit selfish to me.

I thought Darcy to be crossing the line between confident and arrogant, but I feel less inclined to say so now. I am actually happy that his character has improved and I found his proposal to Lizzie to be quite romantic. It’s a pity she refused him, but at that time she still believed all the untruths Wickham has told her about Darcy. She might have slightly changed her mind on her opinion of him, but her decision of refusing him is still valid. I know what is going to happen towards the third part of the book, so it might be pointless to say I hope she changes her mind.  As much as I think Elizabeth has a strong character, she is still pretty naïve and I hope she learns from it. Just goes to show again – never judge a book by it’s cover. Looks can be so deceiving (Wickham vs Darcy)

I like Bingley, but I think that he just took Darcy’s opinion on Jane at face value.  Should I blame him? Surely his friend has his best interest at heart and if we think about it, nothing Darcy has said is entirely untrue, is it? i.e. His observations about Jane’s behavior towards Bingley and that blasted Mrs Bennett. Can someone hand her a gag-order? 🙂  Having said that, Bingley can also be more of a man and speak to Jane himself after what he has heard. I guess he is too proud? I still don’t like Bingley’s sisters…

Lady Catherine –  there is only one person I find more annoying than her and that’s Mrs Bennett.   What did you think of her opinion that Mrs Bennett must be a slave to her five daughters since she brought them up WITHOUT A GOVERNESS? HOW UNTHINKABLE!  What do you think of the other Bennett sisters? Mary is a little anti-social, but I can identify with her, because sometimes I also prefer books over people. Haha.  Lydia, is one snarky little girl. Did you also catch on how she seems to be quite a snob?  And mean. That comment she made about Miss King and why would anyone care about such a “nasty freckled little thing!”

So what do you guys think? Out with it!

  • Miso

    Oooh Mel 🙁 I’m sad I can’t join in, I broke my phone! This was a chance for me to finally finish this book!

  • Darlene@Lost in Literature

    I am still with you, but I fell way behind this time. I had to finish another big read so I took a good five days or more away from Pride and Prejudice. I’m back on it though. And I’ll be checking in for more discussion!

  • Monica’s Bookish Life

    Hello, Melinda!
    I agree with what you’ve said about the tone of this section of the book being a bit more serious. I liked the Gardiners and was glad to see that Jane and Elizabeth have some relatives who are not as flighty as Mrs. Bennett or even Mr. Bennett who seemed to prefer his library to understanding what was going on with his daughters. And I agree with you about Darcy and his marriage proposal. It was very romantic. I was impressed with his letter because he revealed a lot about himself in trying to set things straight with Elizabeth and provide her with information about Wickham. I also continue to have a strong dislike of the Bingley sisters. Lydia is equally comical and annoying at times. It is so funny to see how excited she gets over the prospect of seeing the soldiers! I’m looking forward to continuing on with the book!

    • Yes that is funny (about her and the soldiers). She is being a typical teen – amorous, mean and snarky at times! I also loved Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth. It really had to take some doing for him to open himself up like that, yet Elizabeth remains indifferent. Hopefully she will open her eyes sooner or later, but we already know that she will?

    • Quite agree with you on the Gardiners. They’re such nice people! Unfortunately the Bennett sisterse won’t have to expect much from their parents, but they’re lucky to have such nice other relatives. 🙂

  • Els (

    Darcy is just so… unsure what to do with himself it seems. Coming over all the time, but then not talking. It’s weird! The proposal really came out of the blue for Lizzie (and for me!). And then the letter… I liked how Austen first created this one picture, and then completely turned it over, with both pictures making complete sense. I liked that!

    And I agree with you on Lady Catherine. I might even find her more annoying than Mrs. Bennet. And how she is revered by Collins etc. bugs me. It’s understandable in that period of time, but it’s still annoying.

    • Character development is one of the most important aspects of a book for me and Austen is totally doing it right! Major turnovers and plot twists, I like it.

      • One of the things I like too. Honestly, I can see why people think the book is boring, but if you pay attention there is a lot going on there if you just get over the “typical romance tale’ thing.

    • I’m glad that Darcy redeemed himself in his way, and now I’m waiting for Lizzie to redeem herself by Darcy, because I think he is a good man for her. Lizzie as strong and opinionated as she is with Darcy who is a quiet, yet thoughtful man. That’s a good couple, I say 🙂

      I would like to learn what the deal is between Lady Catheine and Collins!

  • I quite agree with you at all points. Elizabeth is my all time favorite character: she’s so witty and just says what she thinks. Reminds me of myself haha (though I’m not sure if I would also have been like that, had I lived in that era). Looks can be so deceiving! I liked Jane at first, because she was quiet, but she’s too quiet and doesn’t show much of herself. I think either she or Mr Bingley should have stepped up and said something about their ‘relation’. Mr Darcy is growing quite likeable: I think I would’ve fallen for him. 😉 I feel bad for Lizzy that she declined his request, but didn’t know what she was doing at that time. Though she was right from her own perspective, I loved the letter Darcy wrote to her.

    I also noticed the plot isn’t moving on that fast. It was much faster in the beginning of the book, which makes me read veeeery slowly. Is that a good or a bad thing?

    • It can be a good thing, then you can savour the writing hahaha! 🙂
      I think it’s a good story so far. As I’ve said in my reply to Els below, I think Darcy and Lizzie makes a good couple and I can’t wait to get to that part where we all know they will end up together anyway.

      Jane and Mr Bingley are weak, honestly. Why would Mr Bingley not just step up and find out for himself, instead of listening to others’ opinions?? So annoying.

  • The Ghostwriter

    I’ve been catching up with Pride & Prejudice over the last week or two, and – having neglected posting feedback on chapters 1 to 20 – had to think for a bit on which elements of the story struck me in these penultimate chapters (21-40). Almost right away, off the top of my head, I have to say that the book (for me, anyway) really features two major characters in a rather big way: Elizabeth, and Mr Darcy (but mostly Elizabeth, of course).

    The character development is very well refined, and one can easily see how both of them grew over the last 20 chapters (well, from chapter 1 already, really). How they grew as characters, but also on each other and on the reader. Elizabeth remains one of my favourite characters, but so closely followed by Darcy that I have to mention them together in one breath. Which is exactly what the author had in mind, I’m sure. The two of them, while striking me as opposite poles of a magnet, seem to gel together quite flawlessly. Even if the both of them don’t really seem to realise it at the same time.

    As far as Darcy is concerned, his aloof attitude from the first part is slowly (but very slowly) starting to give way and reveal more about the man himself. Something that I’ve noticed especially, is that the deadset detachment has been replaced with some uncertainty (and earnest?), which is not something I would’ve expected at the beginning. But it does make for an entertaining pairing.

    The rest of the characters.. eh. I agree with those who say Jane is a weak character. Purposefully so, of course, but perhaps infuriatingly so? (Hang on, I’m beginning to sound like an 1813-era author myself now. The style is contagious).

    On the other end of the scale: the characters I actively dislike at this point. Definitely Mrs Bennet (in an amusing, “oh honey, no…” kind of way), and I’d even go so far as to put Mr Bingley in that category. Mostly due to him being so easily influenced that it’s painful to watch sometimes. But that’s mostly down to personal taste, I guess.

    • I guess Mr Bingley is also weak, or gullible for that matter, but I don’t think Darcy meant anything bad by it, although sometimes you just have to stay out of people’s business…

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