Ugh, let’s just call this the section of hideous Mr. Collins and be done with it, okay? He’s so incredibly detestable, I didn’t even want to read this part. He’s self-righteous, too outspoken, and PROUD. Oh, wait, wasn’t that supposed to be Mr. Darcy’s flaw? Seems like Mr. Collins has that weakness in spades. I cringe when he comes onto the page, but I guess he serves a purpose: he shows that Darcy’s pride is less offensive because it is at least MERITED.
A total digression, but here is a series of ridiculous photos of him from the P&P miniseries I watched this weekend. I cringe even more when he comes onscreen in his Puritanical parson’s getup. He’s a simpering idiot who reminds me incredibly of Wormtail in Harry Potter. I wonder, do all noncharacters in Britain go to the same acting school???
Of course, we do get to meet the dashing and debonair Mr. Wickham in section 2, the soldier “in regimentals” who manages to sweep Lizzy and her sisters off their feet. He’s flattering and charming and everything his dreaded former playmate from Pemberley is not. Again, like the smarmy preacher Mr. Collins, Wickham’s character here seems placed primarily to highlight flaws in Mr. Darcy and to let us know just how unforgiving Darcy can be to his enemies. More on that and “dear Wickham” in future posts, though, to be sure 😉
Finally, Lizzy receives, and refuses, her first offer of marriage here. This, I believe, is a very bold move given her standing in society…no money for a dowry, no rich connections to recommend her, a family (mostly) full of socially inept dingbats, and soon, it would seem, not even a home to live in. While she has charms enough, her outspoken nature would seem yet another deterrent to men of her time looking for a docile and obedient wife. Still, I admire her boldness AND her smarts as she turns down a lifetime of pedantry and ickiness with Mr. Collins and his noted patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
I’m on to more interesting sections…with less of the dreaded Mr. Collins and more of Jane missing Bingley, Charlotte’s upcoming nuptials, more pettiness from the Bingley sisters, several visits from Wickham, and much gallivanting around the countryside by (most of) the Bennet girls. Except poor Kitty and Mary…left out again 🙁