Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Pride and Prejudice Question 14

A variety of reactions here to Longbourn in comparison to Netherfield, though overall, everyone seems to agree that Longbourn is more chaotic, while Netherfield is more proper and well kept. If you're like Meredith and Laura Hartness, you find that the chaos adds as sense of warm and family. Others, like jnanj, think the chaos as a humorous reflection of the dysfunctional inhabitants. Certainly, as people pointed out, the two households, especially the number of servants, are far apart. I should point out that in the 1995, Netherfield is accurately shown to have a lot of male footmen and servants. Male servants at that time were much more expensive, so they indicated wealth and status.

On to the next question:

Pride and Prejudice Question 14

Knowing Mr Darcy's snobbish attitude before he met Elizabeth, would Mr Darcy have have married his cousin Anne or Caroline Bingley? Why/Why not? 

12 comments:

  1. My immediate reaction is neither. If he were going to he would have, right? I guess he could have been stalling trying to figure out what he wanted, but then again, he didn't seem to have any trouble once he decided to propose to Elizabeth. He didn't seem torn with Anne while he was proposing to Elizabeth to me at least.

    So I guess for me it comes down to if he hadn't met someone he did want to marry, like Elizabeth, do I think he would have eventually let Caroline get him or let his aunt's claim to family wishes win him over. I still just can't see either happening the way we knew them all. I think something would have had to change for one of the ladies, though for some reason I can see familyh wishes winning out if he had never found someone he wanted and him marrying Anne. For some reason I just can't see him marrying Caroline without her growing and changing.

    I think I've always thought if he hadn't met Elizabeth he would have eventually found someone else he'd rather marry than either of those ladies.

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  2. Even before Darcy was obsessed with Elizabeth, he found Caroline tiresome and Anne wholely uninteresting; marriage with either seems ludicrous.

    Where Caroline is concerned, who knows? Perhaps without the threat of Elizabeth, she would have been a pleasant human being, someone Darcy could enjoy being with. However: given her limited interest in worthwhile occupations, her narrow understanding, and the shameless way she throws herself at Darcy, it seems that he, with so much sense and freedom of choice, would not be stupid enough to fall in love with her, or indeed presume her capable of improvement--for before Lizzie's interference, intentional or not, he could easily make such arrogant assumptions.

    In Darcy's actions related to personal freedom and independence, he freely admits that as a child, he was given morals, but left to pursue them as he pleased. It strikes me that he would not take kindly to the arrogant, selfish wishes of his aunt, however much stock he may put in blood ties. He visits his aunt, but does not come at her beck and call. In fact, I don't believe he likes her much; it took Elizabeth's presence to get him to Rosings. And his behaviour where she is concerned--his bewitched state, his utter indifference to all other women--suggests to me that he is a man who rather likes to fall in love (albeit unused to the concept), and for it to be his own idea, not that of an interested relative or ambitious young lady.

    He's a sensible young man who gets around. I'm pretty sure he could do some hard looking and come up with someone half decent, if not as great as Lizzie.

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  3. I think Anne wouldn't have stood a chance at becoming Mrs. Darcy no matter how much her mother begged and tried to force the match. How much were they really together outside of Rosings? Anne was too sickly to enjoy outings so they were never together.

    As far as Caroline goes, I think she could have won Darcy's heart. Caroline saw Elizabeth as a rival so she tried to put herself in a better light in front of Darcy. Had Elizabeth not been there, Caroline would have been a different person with Darcy. We never really get to see the real Caroline because she's forced into situations she's unfamiliar with. Perhaps there was an "understanding" between them BEFORE they landed in the country. We'll never really know.

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  4. If Darcy had been completely true to the notion of marrying within his station, he should have logically chosen to marry Anne. This would have increased his properties and ensure his social standing. He could have, if he was that type of man, had extra-marital affairs to compensate for marriage to such a dismal woman. But, Darcy respected marriage and wanted a good marriage with a woman he could love and respect.

    As for Caroline, she was really out of her league in pursuing Darcy. For all of her snobbery, she came up from the "trades" and did not have Darcy's rank. Her attitude towards Lizzie's Cheapside relations was quite ridiculous. I don't know if Darcy felt that she was out of his class. I just don't think he loved her.

    With no one pressuring him to marry, except his aunt, and his aloof manners, maybe he would have remained a bachelor and enjoyed his nieces and nephews. Austen doesn't say how his estate was to pass on, but maybe one of Geogianna's children could have been master of Pemberley some day.

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  5. I believe that at the time he met Elizabeth, Darcy was holding out for a marriage like his parents', who we assume were happily and lovingly married. The elder Mr. Darcy never remarried after his wife's death, which would have been expected in Austen's time, particularly given that Georgiana was still very young and Darcy was not yet grown. To me, that would indicate that the elder Darcy had a great love with his wife that he wasn't looking to replace.

    If Darcy was going to marry for station or due to some arrangement (as with Anne), I believe he would have done so prior to meeting Elizabeth. He was already 28 or 29 - - not old by any means today, but certainly of a marriageable age for Austen's time.

    I also think if an arrangement with regards to Anne did truly exist, Darcy - - in all likelihood- - would have honored it. He had a great deal of respect for his parents and for his station in life and I think if he believed his parents wanted him to marry Anne, he would have done so. I would venture that such an arrangement existed in Lady Catherine's mind only or came from idle chatter she and her sister (Mrs. Darcy) might have had years before, but with nothing permanent attached.

    Caroline would never have been suitable for Darcy. Her temperament was completely wrong for him (at least as presented in P&P) as she seemed less than passionate about anything other than perhaps gossip. She did not appear to be someone with whom he could have lively debates and conversation and certainly appeared to have no love of outdoor activities (which he clearly enjoyed). I think she would have been more in love with the position and all that being mistress of Pemberley entailed versus the man himself.

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  6. Lori -- I love your crazy avatar! lol

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  7. Darcy does say to Bingley at the first assembly that the only women worth dancing with are Bingley's sisters, so he obviously appreciates them at first. He is so brutally honest at that assembly, he probably wouldn't have said something like that without meaning it. I think Anne didn't have a prayer--Darcy wouldn't have thought that sickly little thing would be good company, much less a good wife--but Caroline...? She seems to start looking worse to him as Elizabeth starts looking attractive. The scene at Netherfield where she's hanging on him and praising his handwriting really shows this--he's starting to watch and compliment Elizabeth, and Caroline starts to get a little desperate because she can't get his attention anymore.

    Long story short, I think Caroline might have had a shot with Darcy, if he hadn't met Elizabeth. (Never underestimate the ability of a guy to make a poor choice based on superficial things--look at Mr. Bennet!) Of course, I think most of us believe that they wouldn't have brought the best out of each other like Darcy and Elizabeth do!

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  8. Tracygrrrl- you may have a point. It makes me wonder how often Darcy meets women like Elizabeth, as opposed to women like Caroline and Mrs. Hurst--women of fashion but not necessarily sense--and whether he would have gone on believing that Caroline or someone similar was a good option, or found a girl he was truly able to love and respect. We're led to believe in the strength of his character, but were he not confronted by someone of equal or superior sense and intelligence, would it have held?

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  9. I would like to think neither as he obviously didn't love either one. Over time he may have married Caroline as he obviously liked to talk with her and loved her family. Anne was a little too dull in the original novel for his tasts.

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  10. I think that Darcy was looking for a marriage with love, so I don't think that he would have married Caroline or Anne. Even though he was snobbish we all know that inside he was a loving man. :D

    milkavainamo@lyseo.edu.ouka.fi

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  11. Despite Darcy's snobbish demeanor, he would not have married either. His station affords him a degree of flexibility in terms of marriage, and he could have waited until he was older to marry. Additionally, he didn't seem to enjoy balls and would rather have avoided those social situations, which signals his lack of desire to find a wife.

    With that in mind, he probably just was waiting for the right person or at least someone more desirable than the weak Anne and overbearing Lady Catherine and the overly petting and rude Caroline.

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  12. I don't think that he would have married either of them. Darcy is smart and passionate under that cool exterior. He needed a woman who could be his equal, both in mind and depth of passion.

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