Pride and Prejudice

by: Jane Austen

Chapters 9–12

In these chapters, the narrator portrays Miss Bingley as Elizabeth’s opposite—foolish where the heroine is quick-witted, desperate for Darcy’s attention while Elizabeth disdains him. Bingley’s sister spends her energy attempting to conform to what she perceives to be Darcy’s idea of a perfect woman. Her embarrassingly obvious flirtation makes her a figure of amusement for the reader—she is a parody of the man-hungry, snobbish, upper-class woman. By toadying up to Darcy, she ends up losing him to Elizabeth, despite the fact that Elizabeth does not make any attempt to appeal to him. By showing Miss Bingley as a scheming rival for Darcy’s love whose tactics are uninspired, the novel highlights Elizabeth’s originality and independence of spirit, and suggests that these, not the laundry list of accomplishments that Darcy gives, are the qualities that Darcy truly desires in a woman. His rejection of Miss Bingley’s advances, then, serves to improve the reader’s opinion of Darcy, as his ability to admire a social inferior separates him from ultra-elitist snobs such as Miss Bingley.

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