Pride and Prejudice
Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
The rapture of Lydia on this occasion, her adoration of Mrs. Forster, the delight of Mrs. Bennet, and the mortification of Kitty, are scarcely to be described. Wholly inattentive to her sister's feelings, Lydia flew about the house in restless ecstasy, calling for everyone's congratulations, and laughing and talking with more violence than ever; whilst the luckless Kitty continued in the parlour repined at her fate in terms as unreasonable as her accent was peevish. (41.12)
In Pride and Prejudice, selfishness and self-importance are the opposite of empathy and fellow-feeling. Here, despite Kitty's histrionics, Lydia can't even see that she's upset. No wonder Lydia constantly misunderstand everything, ever.
"Yes, very different. But I think Mr. Darcy improves upon acquaintance."
"Indeed!" cried Mr. Wickham with a look which did not escape her. "And pray, may I ask?—" But checking himself, he added, in a gayer tone, "Is it in address that he improves? Has he deigned to add aught of civility to his ordinary style?—for I dare not hope," he continued in a lower and more serious tone, "that he is improved in essentials."
"Oh, no!" said Elizabeth. "In essentials, I believe, he is very much what he ever was. […] When I said that he improved on acquaintance, I did not mean that his mind or his manners were in a state of improvement, but that, from knowing him better, his disposition was better understood."
Wickham's alarm now appeared in a heightened complexion and agitated look. (41.33-38)
We hear you. What about this totally innocent conversation could possibly make Wickham freak out? Well, with so many rules about how and what one person can say to another in public, just a slight shift away from the standard is enough to convey a whole bunch of extra meaning—like, "I know you're a liar and a cheat."
On reaching the spacious lobby above they were shown into a very pretty sitting-room, lately fitted up with greater elegance and lightness than the apartments below; and were informed that it was but just done to give pleasure to Miss Darcy, who had taken a liking to the room when last at Pemberley.
"He is certainly a good brother," said Elizabeth, as she walked towards one of the windows. (3.1.43-44)
Here, Darcy's actions are finally doing some actual communicating. As Elizabeth thinks about the way he treats his sister —not what he says, but how he actually puts some effort into making her comfy in the big estate —she can see more of the man inside the stiff, socially awkward exterior.