'Pride and prejudice' – chapter three
This chapter contains quite an even amount of both dialogue and narration. Looking to page two of this chapter, we are introduced to what we later realise is a regular occurrence in the novel, this is the deception of appearances. We are shown how appearances can deceive others by Mr Darcy's arrival at the ball with Mr Bingley, Mr Bingley at this stage in the novel is described as a 'pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners', but we are then told how the attentions of the majority of the room are stolen away from Mr Bingley and turned to Mr Darcy on account of, initially, his 'tall person' and 'handsome features'. But, throughout the evening, his appearances are proved to be extremely misleading, as his personality is revealed to 'be proud', 'above his company' and 'above being pleased' after his true personality has been revealed, those present realise that, in fact, despite his wealth and looks, he is not even worthy of being compared with Mr Bingley. Mr Darcy's pride at the dance helps develop one of the central themes of the novel, pride.
We also learn a bit more of Lydia's character through the course of this chapter, for example, when the ball has ended, it is described as having been a pleasing night for lydia, as she was never without a partner, it is said that this is all she has yet learnt to care for at a ball. This actually foresees what is to be the main aim of Lydia's life, to 'never be without a partner'. As demonstrated by her excitement at the officer's arrival in Meryton, later in the novel.
On the opening page of this novel, Mrs Bennet comments, 'if I can see but one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield, and all the others equally well married, I shall have nothing to wish for'. This relates to the novels themes of marriage, love and wealth. Mrs Bennet has not yet personally had the opportunity of gaining much knowledge of Mr Bingley's character, so all she can possibly be judging the said daughters happiness on, is account of Mr Bingley's comfortable life style, looks and wealth, love at this stage can certainly not come into the equation of her daughters, as not one of her daughters have yet even held a short conversation with Mr Bingley, so there has been no opportunity for love at this stage. This quotation also informs the reader of Mrs Bennet's views on what defines a successful marriage.
Early in chapter three the Bennet family organise for Mr Bingley to accompany them at dinner, but in his reply he states he is having to leave Netherfield to go into town and cannot accept their invitation. This desertion of their dinner plans, and the comment that he 'might be always flying about from one place to another', could be said to forecast events later in the novel, when Mr Bingley deserts Netherfield and also, it seems, his relationship with Jane.
The link between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth is established in this chapter, though their relationship at this stage of the plot is very different to their relationship later in the novel, as the only link between them is formed through an incident at the ball where Mr Bingley suggests Mr darcy dances with Elizabeth and Mr Darcy comments that 'she is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me', and Elizabeth, sitting nearby, overhears this, this causes her to feel a prejudice against Mr Darcy which becomes clear later in the novel. Establishing this relationship between the two afore mentioned characters, was a clever twist on Jane Austen's part, as it makes events concerning these characters later in the novel more surprising to the reader.