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Notes on Pride and Prejudice Themes

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Pride and Prejudice Topic Tracking: Misunderstanding

Volume 1, Chapter 6

Misunderstanding 1: Misunderstandings and crossed wires create and motivate the love story between Jane and Bingley as well as Elizabeth and Darcy. The first major misunderstanding of the story begins here when Elizabeth decides that it's best for Jane to play it cool around Bingley to protect her feelings. This lays the groundwork for Bingley to misunderstand Jane's feelings, just as Charlotte predicts that he might.

Misunderstanding 2: Darcy has changed his mind about Elizabeth, but she has no clue that this has happened. So when Darcy tries to pay her some sort of attention by following her around and eavesdropping on her conversations, she thinks that he's making fun of her. It never occurs to her that he's trying to find a way to make a move on her, so she's mean to him.

Volume 1, Chapter 8

Misunderstanding 3: Darcy is trying to compliment Elizabeth by emphasizing her preference to read as a good thing, but Elizabeth sees the comment only as Darcy's way of adding to the long list of accomplishments and skills that a woman must have to satisfy a man like him. She misunderstands him and feels that he's showing her another way in which she is inferior to him, and so she's rude to him again.

Volume 1, Chapter 10

Misunderstanding 4: Darcy is trapped in an awkward position when the Bingley sisters make it seem as if he is part of their plot to exclude Elizabeth as they are walking through the garden. When he tries to smooth things over and find a way for them to all walk together, Elizabeth tells him not to bother because she is just fine walking alone. Once again he looks as if he is trying to insult her despite his attempts to be kind to her.

Volume 1, Chapter 11

Misunderstanding 5: Darcy accuses Elizabeth of intentionally misunderstanding him because she has so often misinterpreted what he has tried to do when he's around her. Elizabeth doesn't realize that he means that, however. She thinks he's only referring to their conversation about his flaws.

Volume 1, Chapter 16

Misunderstanding 6: This is the beginning of a great misunderstanding on Elizabeth's part. She is so sure that she was correct about Darcy's snotty character that she is eager to believe this negative report about him. Wickham makes her believe that he is a good guy and that Darcy is a bad guy, and because she believes this, it takes a long time for Elizabeth to see that she is wrong about Darcy.

Volume 1, Chapter 19

Misunderstanding 7: Collins misunderstands Elizabeth's refusal. He believes that she's just playing hard to get and so he continues to court Elizabeth. Unfortunately for Mister Collins, Elizabeth's immediate refusal is quite sincere.

Volume 1, Chapter 21

Misunderstanding 8: Elizabeth and Jane have differing opinions on why the Bingleys left Netherfield, but Elizabeth is closest to right. She blames Miss Bingley, but what these ladies don't know is that Darcy was really the one behind the evacuation. He encouraged the Bingleys to leave and meet Mr. Bingley in London so that he would not return to Netherfield. Darcy did this because he thought that Jane did not care for Bingley as Bingley cared for Jane. To protect his friend, Darcy thought it best that Bingley remain in London away from Jane.

Volume 2, Chapter 10

Misunderstanding 9: What Elizabeth still doesn't know is that Darcy thought is was an unwise match because Bingley and Darcy were not sure that Jane cared for him because she behaved so calmly and distantly around Bingley. Instead Elizabeth believes that all Darcy cares about is money and status.

Volume 2, Chapter 13

Misunderstanding 10: Darcy's letter serves to clear up many of the misunderstandings that existed between he and Elizabeth.

Volume 3, Chapter 1

Misunderstanding 11: Elizabeth uses the information from Darcy's letter to clear away the misunderstanding about Darcy's character as far as her aunt and uncle are concerned. But she's still uncertain about the way he feels about her and how she feels about him.

Volume 3, Chapter 12

Misunderstanding 12: Jane misrepresents her feelings for Bingley because she doesn't want to be hurt again, but Elizabeth knows that Jane and Bingley care for each other a great deal and that the misunderstanding between them will be mended.

Volume 3, Chapter 15

Misunderstanding 13: Collins' letter to Mr. Bennet makes Mr. Bennet believes that Collins is laboring under a great misunderstanding to think that Elizabeth and Darcy are engaged. What Mr. Bennet does not yet know is that Collins is on the right track, if a little ahead of the game. Elizabeth is embarrassed at the confusion, but she does not explain to her father how she feels for Darcy.

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