Arguably one of Jane Austen’s most iconic novels, Pride and Prejudice, tells a story of an unlikely romance between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. What makes this novel so wonderful is the characters and their interactions. In chapter fifty-nine, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have become engaged. This chapter is wonderful and necessary to the novel for the description of Elizabeth’s true emotion and the reactions of Elizabeth’s family after they learn Elizabeth is engaged to Mr. Darcy.
Chapter fifty-nine displays Elizabeth who secretly becomes engaged and then becomes apprehensive in revealing the information to her family. Even though the novel was first published in 1813, Elizabeth’s situation is very relatable to many people. The prospect of having news, but being nervous about the reactions of family members is all too real even in today’s society. Austen explains this with her language in the following quote, “and Elizabeth, agitated and confused, rather knew that she was happy, than felt herself to be so; for, besides the immediate embarrassment, there were other evils before her. She anticipated what would be felt in the family when her situation became known; she was aware that no one liked him but Jane, and even feared that with the others it was a dislike which not all his fortune and consequence might do away.” This quote is superb as it shows how nervous Elizabeth is and how desperate she is for her family’s approval of the engagement. To have her true emotion of love completely masked (so she cannot “feel” it) by her anxiety shows just how much Elizabeth values her family and their opinion.
This chapter displays each character in their own reaction to Elizabeth’s engagement. The reactions are each different and are each laced with emotion and humor. First, Elizabeth reveal her news to her sister, Jane, in the hopes of receiving some immediate approval. This is a plausible decision on Lizzy’s part as Austen has written Jane as a true optimist; who is very mild mannered and level-headed. Often in the novel, she becomes Lizzy’s voice of reason, so it is only natural in this chapter to reveal the engagement to Jane first. However, when Jane immediately says, "You are joking, Lizzy. This cannot be! -- engaged to Mr. Darcy! -- No, no, you shall not deceive me. I know it to be impossible." Lizzy becomes increasing flustered and anxious to her prospects of her family’s approval. This can be read in Elizabeth’s quote "This is a wretched beginning indeed! My sole dependence was on you; and I am sure nobody else will believe me, if you do not.” However, the discussion between the two is quickly saved as Elizabeth shows her true affection for Mr. Darcy to Jane and Jane immediately gives her approval.
Next, Elizabeth must speak to her father after Mr. Darcy asks for his permission to marry Elizabeth. His approval is not so easily won as Jane. This scene is full of emotion and endears Mr. Bennett as a good father. This scene was beautiful in its...