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Plot Summary

The novel begins with Mrs. Bennet's announcement that a nearby estate, Netherfield, has been rented by a young, handsome man named Bingley. She implores her husband, Mr. Bennet, to call on the man, and decides that he would make a suitable husband for one of her daughters. Though her husband does eventually call on the new neighbor, the Bennet women do not get a chance to meet him until the night of a ball, when he dances with the oldest Bennet daughter, Jane. Meanwhile, a friend he has brought along, Mr. Darcy, while handsome and wealthy, turns out to be proud and ill-mannered. He insults Elizabeth, the second Bennet daughter, and refuses to dance. A few days later, Jane is invited to dine at Netherfield with Bingley's two sisters. Caught in a rainstorm on her way over, she becomes very sick and must remain at Netherfield for several days. Elizabeth, or Lizzy, also goes to Netherfield to care for her sister. While she is there, Bingley's affection for Jane is every evident, while Darcy finds himself strangely attracted to Lizzy, and Bingley's sisters take every chance possible to make fun of her. Meanwhile, a group of militiamen has come to Meryton, and it is all the youngest Bennet sisters can talk about. Lizzy meets a handsome officer named Wickham, and discovers that he has been wronged by Darcy in the past. She immediately deepens her dislike for the man. Soon after, the Bennets' boorish cousin, Mr. Collins, arrives at Longbourn and sets his eyes on Lizzy. At a dance at Netherfield, Lizzy hints to Darcy that she knows what he has done to Wickham, while Jane and Bingley spend the entire evening together. A few people talk openly of the wedding that will likely occur between Jane and Bingley, and Darcy overhears. The next day, Darcy, Bingley, and his sisters leave for London. His sister sends word to Jane that they will not be back. Mr. Collins also chooses the next day to ask for Lizzy's hand in marriage. She refuses, which infuriates her mother, and Mr. Collins instead weds Charlotte Lucas, a neighbor and friend of the Bennets.
Over Christmas, the Bennets' aunt and uncle, the Gardiners, visit, and invite a lovesick Jane to return with them to London for a while. Jane agrees, and though she writes to Bingley's sisters, she sees them only twice, and they are rude both times. They explain that their brother is too busy to see her - that he is becoming more intimate with Darcy's sister - and Jane is heartbroken. Lizzy, meanwhile, travels to Hunsford to visit Mr. Collins and Charlotte. She is introduced to the ill-mannered Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and is slightly pleased to hear that her nephews, Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam, are also coming to visit. After they arrive, Fitzwilliam reveals an attraction to Lizzy, but says that he cannot marry her because she is not wealthy enough. He also reveals that Darcy convinced Bingley not to marry Jane. Lizzy is furious, and is further maddened when Darcy admits his love for her, and asks for her hand in marriage. He says that she is inferior and that her family is embarrassing, but that he loves her anyway. Lizzy is highly insulted, and rudely refuses him. The next day, he gives her a letter, which reveals his innocence in the Wickham affair, and his reasons for disliking her family. Her feelings are slightly changed, but she remains unconvinced. Back at Longbourn, she recounts Darcy's letter and proposal to Jane, leaving out anything that would hurt her sister. Jane is surprised, and admits that she has given up on Bingley.
That summer, Lizzy travels with the Gardiners to Derbyshire. They come across Pemberley, Darcy's massive estate, and upon hearing that no one is there, take a tour of the grounds and listen to the housekeeper's praise for her master. Darcy, meanwhile, returns early, and catches them in his yard. He is completely changed however, and very friendly. Lizzy is stunned, while her aunt and uncle are very impressed by the man. He introduces his sister to Lizzy, and makes every attempt to regain her favor. Their visit is cut short, however, by news from Jane that Lydia, the youngest Bennet sister, has run off with Wickham, thoroughly disgracing the family. Her uncle and father travel to London to search for the pair, while Lizzy gets home as quickly as possible. Her mother is in hysterics, and refuses to leave her room, while the entire town gossips about the Bennet family's disgrace. Mr. Bennet returns to Longbourn dejected, having not found the couple, and is only slightly happier when news arrives that Mr. Gardiner has found them and forced them to marry. Lydia and Wickham visit the Bennets before they leave for the north, where Wickham's new place in the military is, and Mrs. Bennet dotes on her loud and obnoxious youngest daughter. Lizzy accidentally finds out that it was Darcy who found the pair, forced them to marry, and paid off all of Wickham's extensive debts, and is both embarrassed and dumbfounded. Her affection for Darcy, however, only grows.
Bingley and Darcy eventually return to Netherfield, and begin calling on the Bennets again. After a few days, Darcy is called away to London, and Bingley asks Jane for her hand in marriage. Lady Catherine then comes to visit, and insists that she has heard that Lizzy and Darcy are also to marry, a match which she forbids. Lizzy says that they are not to marry, but that she will do as she pleases, no matter what the old woman wants, and they argue. Soon after, Darcy returns, Lizzy thanks him for his role in helping Lydia, and he declares that he is still in love with her. Although her family is initially shocked, they plan to marry. Both couples marry on the same day, Lizzy moves with her husband to Pemberley, and the Bingleys buy an estate nearby.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapters 1, 2, and 3
Chapters 4, 5, and 6
Chapters 7 and 8
Chapters 9 ,10, and 11
Chapters 12, 13, and 14
Chapters 15 and 16
Chapters 17, 18, and 19
Chapters 20, 21, and 22
Chapters 23, 24, and 25
Chapters 26, 27, and 28
Chapters 29, 30, and 31
Chapters 32, 33, and 34
Chapter 35
Chapters 36, 37, and 38
Chapters 39 and 40
Chapters 41 and 42
Chapters 43 and 44
Chapters 45 and 46
Chapters 47 and 48
Chapters 49 and 50
Chapters 51 and 52
Chapters 53, 54, and 55
Chapters 56 and 57
Chapters 58 and 59
Chapters 60 and 61



 






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