Pride And Prejudice Essay

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While Elizabeth certainly recognizes the importance of class, particularly in the awkwardness of Mr. Collins’ interaction with Mr. Darcy, Austen’s novel as a whole paints a more nuanced portrait of social rank. The moral opinion regarding the issue being formally summarized in Elizabeth’s rebuttal of Lady Catherine De Bourgh:
‘I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me’ (Austen 233).
It is Elizabeth’s resolve to think independent of social class that places Austen’s stance purely in line with the individual above the ranks of society as a whole. Elizabeth is not without experiencing the discomfort of social
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Elizabeth Bennett being the ultimate conduit of Austen’s views. Elizabeth stands in stark contrast to the man in the novel who most epitomizes social norms. Mr Collins is humorously sad in his endeavor to acquiescence to the social hierarchy in his life. His worshiping of Lady Catherine De Bourgh is borderline hedonistic, and the self satisfaction he gains from her acquaintance is a sickeningly submissive social idolization. Further, the relationship between Lady Catherine and Mr. Collins is equally parasitic and symbiotic. Whereby, Lady Catherine gains social adoration from Mr. Collins, and Mr. Collins gains a feeling of self-worth from Lady Catherine, all the while, Lady Catherine sits on top of Mr. Collins and everyone else in the novel in social rank, literally instilling anxiety in to those she meets, take Maria, Miss Lucas’s sister for example. The height of Mr. Collins’ gross indulgence of flattery comes in his manic resolve to approach Mr. Darsey, Lady Catherine’s nephew. Elizabeth, reads the situation and anticipates Mr. Darsey’s discomfort, and she warms Collins:
Elizabeth tried hard to dissuade him from such a scheme; assuring him that Mr. Darcy would consider his addressing him without introduction as an impertinent freedom, rather than a compliment to his aunt” (Austen 66).
While Elizabeth is right that it would cause Mr. Darcy discomfort, at this points she is not able to recognize that it is more out of social anxiety on the part
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