Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice Family Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do." (18.20)
To be honest, knowing that we'd never see Mrs. Bennet again is definitely motivation enough not to marry Mr. Collins. (As though we needed any more.) But we should point out that "see" here means more like, "recognize" or "acknowledge." Basically, Lizzy is being threatened with being disowned—a very real possibility. Well, probably not for refusing to marry someone. But, in most families, Lydia could well have been kicked out forever.
Her father, contented with laughing at them, would never exert himself to restrain the wild giddiness of his youngest daughters; and her mother, with manners so far from right herself, was entirely insensible of the evil. […] Catherine, weak-spirited, irritable, and completely under Lydia's guidance, had been always affronted by their advice; and Lydia, self-willed and careless, would scarcely give them a hearing. They were ignorant, idle, and vain. (37.17)
Yikes. The worse we've ever said about our little siblings is that they were being pests, and even then we didn't really mean it. How is it possible that the five sisters are so different? And would having good parents really have made a difference?
But she had never felt so strongly as now the disadvantages which must attend the children of so unsuitable marriage, nor ever been so fully aware of the evils arising from so ill-judged a direction of talents; talents, which, rightly used, might at least have preserved the respectability of his daughters, even if incapable of enlarging the mind of his wife. (42.3)
You know that painful moment when you realize that your parents aren't perfect? Lizzy probably never had to experience that with her mom, but this is the moment she figures out that her father isn't quite as awesome as she thought. Unpleasant, sure—but it's a crucial part of growing up.