Pride and Prejudice Chapters 50-55 Summary

In this section, Elizabeth realizes, seemingly too late, that if Darcy were to propose again, she would happily accept. Over the course of time, her feelings toward him have gradually changed, especially since she saw a completely different side to him at Pemberley. However, she knows that another proposal from him is not something she should expect, given Lydia's circumstances. In her mind, if he objected to her family before everything happened, then he certainly must now.

With Lydia now married, Mr. Gardiner writes home to tell the Bennet family that Wickham's regiment is being stationed to the north of England. After much arguing and disagreement, Mr. Bennet concedes to Mrs. Bennet's wishes to allow Lydia to return home before she leaves. However, throughout the entire visit, Lydia seems completely unaware of all the trouble she has caused. She brags about her new husband and how ironic it is that she, the youngest, should be married before her elder sisters. Wickham, in a similar fashion, acts as if he has done nothing to cause the family a great deal of stress. Elizabeth is disgusted by their behavior.

However, one day Lydia describes her wedding to Elizabeth and Jane. Elizabeth is shocked to hear that Mr. Darcy was present at her wedding. Unable to think of a reason why he would be there, Elizabeth writes a letter to Mrs. Gardiner asking for more information.

The letter that Elizabeth receives back from Mrs. Gardiner contains some surprising details. It was actually Darcy who found Lydia and Wickham, and it was Darcy who paid Wickham a handsome sum in order to ensure that he marry Lydia. Mrs. Gardiner seems to believe that Darcy did this because of some feelings he has toward Elizabeth; she also advises Elizabeth that this should be a secret, as Darcy does not want everyone to know what he did.

Shortly after this, Mr. Bingley returns to Netherfield. A few days after his return, Mr. Bingley calls on the Bennet family, Darcy in tow. Mrs. Bennet, as usual, is overeager to please him. Ironically, she is rude to Darcy, not knowing that he was responsible for saving her family. The gentlemen agree to dine at Longbourne soon.

When Darcy and Bingley do come to dinner, Bingley sits next to Jane , speaking warmly to her, his interest seemingly renewed. Jane seems to be similarly interested in him once again. Elizabeth finds herself at the opposite side of the table from Darcy, unable to talk to him. Disappointed, she tries to accept the fact that there is no way he will ever propose to her again.

Over the next few days, Mr. Bingley comes several times to Longbourne to dine with the Bennet family. Eventually, he asks Mr. Bennet for Jane's hand in marriage. Mr. Bennet is happy to agree, and Jane is overjoyed. With the engagement is settled, Bingley visits Longbourne often. Jane learns that Bingley had no idea she was in London because his sister never told him. Jane and Elizabeth realize that was Carline Bingley's attempt to keep Charles from Jane. In addition, he admits that he left Netherfield initially because he thought Jane indifferent to him; however, he realizes, now, that he was wrong.

This section, once again, shows a great development of character on the parts of Elizabeth and Darcy. Elizabeth realizes, for the first time, that Darcy is a perfect match for her. This is, of course, ironic considering that she rejected this man's proposal earlier on, even deeming him the "last person in the world [she] could be prevailed upon to marry." However, she has certainly overcome her prejudice against him, seeing him now for who he truly is. His act of saving Lydia was seemingly completely selfless. Additionally, she seems to realize that everything Darcy did was intended to keep her from any pain.

Though Darcy himself doesn't do much in terms of action in this section, his character is further developed through his actions behind the scenes. He obviously had something to do with Mr. Bingley's return. In turn, this implies that Darcy himself has overcome his own overly proud nature because he has encouraged Bingley's union with Jane. He seems to have moved past all of the objections about Elizabeth and her family that he outlined in his proposal to Elizabeth.

Additionally, Lydia's appearance in this section serves as a clear reminder of her indiscretion. Not only do her scandalous actions end well enough, but she also seems oblivious to any wrong-doing on her part. This serves as reminder to the reader of Darcy's objections to Bennet family were perhaps no unfounded. To some degree, it also speaks again to Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's shortcomings as parents.

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