Tuesday, 21 March 2017


Jane Bennet
At the beginning of Chapter Four, Jane Austen describes the closeness between the two elder Bennet sisters while delineating a key difference between them. Jane is candid (meaning free from fault-finding) but Elizabeth is the opposite. Elizabeth thinks this establishes her superior discernment, though she acknowledges Jane's good sense. Yet we may notice that Elizabeth is being set up for a major fall when she tells Jane, ‘Compliments take you by surprise, and me never'.

The most important compliment of her life takes her completely by surprise. The fact that Mr. Darcy, a hugely wealthy and influential man, will fall in love with her and ask her to be his wife, eludes Lizzy's awareness. The irony is that Lizzy is showcasing her superior discernment in this conversation with Jane, but later on Jane's discernment regarding Mr. Darcy is shown to be much closer to the truth.