Write a close analysis of Chapter 43, showing how Jane Austen reveals Elizabeth’s changing attitudes towards Mr. Darcy. To what extent is this chapter a turning point in the novel?
In this chapter it shows that peoples first impressions of other characters are misjudged. This is so because Elizabeth begins to look at evidence to show that really Mr. Darcy is a nice man after all, and her first impressions are proved drastically wrong. Mr. Darcy then with his impressions on lower classes is proved wrong when he seems to gain affection for Elizabeth’s, Cheap Side Aunt & Uncle.
Prejudice is introduced very early on in the book when Elizabeth’s first impressions of Mr. Darcy are that he is very rude, stuck up and arrogant. She then carries on her discontent with him even after he has proposed to her. But all this begins to change when Elizabeth receives the letter from Darcy just after his proposal. This letter states Darcy’s doings with Wickham, this is a great turning point as is one great reason for Elizabeth to hate him. She hates him through this because Wickham seems to have told a terrible lie, saying that Darcy failed to give him what was owed from Darcy’s great father, due to this Elizabeth believes him and turns against Darcy. The letter also speaks of Darcy’s doings with her own sister, saying how he interfered and broke up her sister and Bingley. He admits to what he has done and even seems not to care, he also seems proud of his actions and his involvement in the matter. He spoke of his reasons for him doing this and these were her poor connections and also he believed her to not show enough if at all any affection for Bingley.
These poor connections were her Aunt & Uncle, which are from Cheap Side. They along with Elizabeth are being driven to Pemberley in chapter 43. The language in this chapter is very descriptive. This is so because Elizabeth is using much descriptive language to describe Pemberley in its highest light. She is looking around and seems to be re-evaluating her first impressions of Darcy. This is exaggerated in the language, which shows her looking through windows, describing furniture and giving great praise to all features of the house and gardens. This descriptive writing is shown as soon as they drive through the gates she says/thinks to herself ‘she saw and admired every remarkable spot and point of view’, this shows Elizabeth now looks differently upon Darcy and his possessions. She seems to praise everything, every aspect without a single fault.
However the same non-faultless approach of Elizabeth is definitely not used when she visits Rosings or Hunsford. This is so because when Elizabeth visits Rosings she notices that the owner Lady Catherine De Bourgh is just showing off the fact that she is rich. Things look out of place and prove that they are expensive but that they don’t really fit in with the other furniture. As for her Hunsford, Elizabeth thinks the place is average. Not the best but then again not the worst. She notices that Lady Catherine De Bourgh has her input in the house like when Mr. Collins tells of how Lady Catherine opted for the use of shelves in the corner cupboard, so it seems like Lady Catherine has put her mark on it. So Elizabeth’s views on these houses are very much different than in Pemberley.
When Elizabeth arrives inside the house she states that the owner has great taste, in which she has admiration for. She says that the taste of furniture is not gaudy but then again not uselessly fine, she believes Rosings to be uselessly fine because of the fact everything is there to show off Lady Catherine’s richness. When Elizabeth’s Aunt calls her over to view a miniature picture of Wickham, the housekeeper tells them that Wickham has gone off to join the army she then says ‘I am afraid he has turned out very wild’, this adds to Elizabeth’s growing discontent towards him, and adds to the proof she should believe Darcy over him. Then they come to the miniature of Mr. Darcy the housekeeper says to Elizabeth ‘Do you not think him a handsome gentleman ma’am?’ in which Elizabeth replies ‘Yes, very handsome’. I believe this proves that Elizabeth is growing fonder of Darcy.
Only a few chapters on and Elizabeth sees the full size version of the same miniature of Darcy. She is drawn to his eyes looking at her they entrap her. She notices the deep smile on the painting in what she remembered seeing sometimes when he looked at her. As she stands looking at the picture for several minutes she realises there is much more to Darcy than she first encountered. Just before they quit fro the gallery she returns to Darcy’s painting again, as it says in the text she gets a ‘More gentle sensation towards the original, than she ever felt in the height of their acquaintance’. This to me shows that she really is falling for Darcy now, to go back to look at his photo again proves this. As she is beginning to like Darcy for whom he really is, her previous grievances for him seem to be long gone and she seems to have forget them now as she is seeing Darcy in a different light.
All the evidence so far shows Elizabeth’s changing of attitude towards Mr. Darcy. As it seems she is re-evaluating the man, evidence such as the way Mr. Darcy’s eyes in the painting catch her or the way she praises everything about Pemberley seems to show this. She seems to really like the place; she hasn’t praised anything in the book as much as she praises Pemberley this shows I believe her growing affection for Darcy.
One thing that seems to confuse Elizabeth is that the housekeeper seems to praise Mr. Darcy dearly. The housekeeper describes Darcy as ‘the sweetest tempered, most generous-hearted boy in the world’. Elizabeth doesn’t believe what she is hearing, she even says ‘Can this be Mr. Darcy’; she just cannot believe she is talking about the same man. Also the housekeeper tells Elizabeth and her Aunt & Uncle about the spacious lobby in which Mr. Darcy had recently fitted a pretty sitting room with great elegance and lightness. According to the housekeeper he had done this for his sisters pleasure, as in her last visit to Pemberley she had taken a liking to the room. Elizabeth then states ‘He is certainly a good brother’ in which the housekeeper replies ‘whatever can give his sister any pleasure, is sure to be done in a moment. There is nothing he would not do for her’. This also seems to astound Elizabeth, as she does not expect this of Darcy, this also in turn seems to add to her affection of him, and also for another reason for her to believe Darcy and not Wickham. All the things said by the housekeeper although they do not seem to add to Darcy’s character in Elizabeth’s point of view. She still believes her because the housekeeper has known Darcy all his life and she doesn’t have any reason in which to be biased about Darcy. So the praising from the housekeeper will obviously help for Elizabeth’s attitude to change about Darcy.
When the entire house had been seen they all go outside to inspect the gardens. Outside Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth bump into each other, they are within twenty yards of one another. Both Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are very embarrassed, and upon both of them there cheeks turn to the deepest blush. After he enquires into his parents, when she left Longbourn and how long she has being in Derbyshire he takes his leave. Elizabeth is struck by his manners which are so little dignified, never had he spoken to her with such gentleness. Now Elizabeth has seen exactly how Mr. Darcy really is, it was exactly how Mr. Darcy had being shown to her through the housekeeper’s interpretation. His behaviour had strikingly altered from her old view of him as he usually spoke with sedateness but with this unexpected meeting his voice had none of the usual sedateness.
Mr. Darcy after recollecting himself and being changed had come outside once again to speak with Elizabeth and enquire upon her company. As Elizabeth introduced her Aunt & Uncle she had looked at him expecting him to decamp as fast as he could. But instead he entered conversation with Mr. Gardiner; this also made Elizabeth very apprehensive, as she wasn’t expecting anything like this from Mr. Darcy, this is because he had just made acquaintance to the very people in which his pride had revolted. Mr. Darcy continued to shock Elizabeth when the conversation or Darcy and Mr. Gardiner came upon fishing in which Mr. Darcy offered to lend tackle to Mr. Gardiner and let him fish when ever he wanted upon his lands. I believe this shows that not only is Elizabeth forced to reconsider her first impressions upon a person, as is Mr. Darcy. This is so because Darcy even states that Elizabeth has poor connections, these poor connections are in fact her Aunt & Uncle in which he has just made acquaintance. So Mr. Darcy, obviously reconsiders his first impression on her poor connections and then realises that they are actually very polite, courteous and actually very good acquaintances despite there poor background and there living area.
Also Elizabeth seems to be contemplating more, you can tell this through the sense of language in which is used to describe Elizabeth’s changing of view towards Mr. Darcy. In this chapter she is empowered this is because she is viewing Darcy how he really is, She can do this because now she doesn’t have the prejudices she had before.
I believe this chapter is quite a significant turning point in the novel; this is because Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s first impressions are both made to re-evaluate themselves. This is so because Darcy and the way his pride distinguishes his like for the inferiority of classes, and then Elizabeth’s first impressions of Darcy are both somewhat changed in this chapter. Also in this chapter I believe that Darcy and Elizabeth grow closer together and both learn new feelings for each other especially Elizabeth. This is because she sees him for how he really is, how his housekeeper sees him this make her see him much differently.