Chapters 12, 13 and 14 – Mr. Collins
Mr. Bennett’s cousin, William Collins, arrives. He will inherit
Longbourn on the death of Mr. Bennett because the estate must pass to a male heir, in other words the estate is entailed. As Collins has this power over the Bennett family, they are obliged to overlook his
pompousness and ridiculous behavior, and ingratiate themselves to him. Through his patron, Lady Catherine De Bourgh, he has obtained a good living as the Rector of Hunsford Parish.
Lady Catherine is Darcy’s aunt, and a very forceful character.
She has indicated to Collins that he should acquire himself a wife, and he has it in mind to ask one of the Bennett daughters.
The reader can now appreciate Mrs. Bennett’s obsession with getting her
daughters married, for it is revealed that their home will pass to Mr. Collins, so the whole family will need to be supported by at least one rich husband of the daughters, or they could end up penniless.
Collins could be a potential husband for one of the girls, for although he is not rich himself, he has a very wealthy patron.
Austen makes an interesting contrast in the characterizations of Darcy and
One method she uses is showing their writing and reading skills. Remember these are the main modes of communication at this time, and the way in which a person writes is an indication as to the way in which they think. The reader should, therefore, pay particular attention to the form and manner in which the correspondence from the characters is portrayed. For example, Darcy’s writing style is slow and deliberate, whilst Collins’ writings are a strange blend of arrogance and subservience. So far as reading is concerned, we have heard that Darcy has a large library on his estate, whereas Collins normally only reads books in public and out loud, and he usually chooses to recite other people’s sermons. He, therefore, has poor communication skills compared with Darcy.