Saturday, December 15, 2012

Darcy's vs. Collins's Proposals




This is another of my essays I wrote when I studied Pride and Prejudice last year which I have adapted, a little, into a blog post about Darcy and Collins's proposals. 


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of good fortune must be in want of a wife’ - one of the most famous openings to one of the most famous novels of all time.  It is referring to one the major themes in pride and prejudice – marriage, and the importance of it! This theme is the cause of a lot of the events which take place throughout the novel. Two of the major events which are a result of this theme would have to be Mr Darcy's (first) and Mr Collins's proposals!




Both proposals are quite similar. Both the addressers assume Lizzy is going to accept.  Collins is Lizzy’s cousin and Mr. Bennet’s estate, where she lives, is entailed to Collins which is one of the main reasons, if not THE main reason (but the Lady Catherine reason he also put rather high on his lists of reasons!), why he assumes she’ll accept him and why he asks her in the first place - he does know how to flatter the ladies!  He believes that because marrying him will keep the estate in the family, and therefore helping the rest of Lizzy's family, this should be reason enough for her to accept him and “impossible” to not agree, especially as is would secure a safe future for her and her family, so why would she refuse?

 

Darcy’s proposal is similar in that he talks about how advantageous a marriage between them would be and not only for Lizzy herself, but again for her family.  He explains how the connections he has will be very beneficial to her family, which he doesn't hesitate to conceal what he thinks of their low status and poor connections!  He also adds how his wealth will be of great help to her as he knows she is never to inherit a large fortune, which maybe wasn't the best way to phrase it ;)  Collins also talks about money as he says that marrying him will provide sufficiently well enough for them as he  also knows how she will not be entitled to much on her father’s death.  In this way, both Collins and Darcy are very (I don't like to say this but at this point it is true >.<) arrogant and confident in assuming her acceptance and they also both talk about the advantages to her family which, in their opinions, make it seem too good an opportunity to miss, and everyone is pining over Darcy aren't they? Well Darcy thought so! They pretty much place the advantages to her family over the advantages to her, and neither of them consult Lizzy’s own feelings and think about what she wants, and her own happiness!








The 'form' of Darcy’s proposal to Lizzy is very different, even though the underlying assumption is nearly the same as in Collins.  Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth are very real  and genuine, whereas Collins doesn’t feel for Lizzy at all - no one can disagree with me on that point! Darcy, instead of beginning his proposal by stating his reasons for marriage (does that ring a bell?), he immediately tells Lizzy that he is in love with her and then continues onto the advantages of the match and making it clear that him marrying her is a big sacrifice on his part, what with her small fortune and low connections and all! What a sacrifice on his part...  Collins, on the other hand, launches straight into why he wants (and needs!) to get married and why, in particular, he has picked such a wife from among the Bennet daughters! (Luckily he doesn't quite go as far to mention how Jane was actually his first choice...)



The proposals are also very similar because, because of their arrogance, they don’t particularly flatter her; her beauty or her intelligence or... her at all! Darcy says that he didn’t want to hide his struggles and flatter her because “disguise is in every way my abhorrence” and Collins doesn’t mention any particular reason why he has chosen Lizzy, just told her the general reason for marriage and why he picked one from the Longbourne household - great reasons! Collins is quite rude to Lizzy, perhaps unintentionally (perhaps not...), when he says “it is by no means certain that another offer of marriage may ever be made you” and when he talks about needed a “useful wife” who is “not brought up to highly”!  Darcy is also insulting towards her family and in regards to Jane as Bingley as he rejoices in his success of splitting them up! (That was not the right road to go down ;) )
A difference though, is that Lizzy did have some idea of Collins intention to marry her before he actually proposed whereas she had no idea with Darcy as she believed that he disliked her as much as she did him!  Also, Collins never says to Lizzy that he loves her (as he doesn’t!) whereas Darcy does; “how much I admire and love you.”  Lizzy is not worried about refusing Collins and doesn’t feel guilty when refusing him, whereas to start with she is worried about the pain she would cause in refusing Darcy - until he insults her and then that feeling of guilty is quickly removed!   Also, Darcy wants Lizzy to marry him because he does truly loves her so it is what HE wants, not Lady Catherine (Lady Catherine definitely doesn't want Darcy to marry Lizzy!), but one of Collins main objectives is to please Lady Catherine, not himself, or even Lizzy!
 It is again made clear that Darcy feels for Lizzy and Collins doesn’t as before Darcy proposed he “sat down for a few moments and then getting up walked about the room” in an “agitated manner” because he is very nervous about proposing to her as he really loves her (which I find so sweet!), on the other hand Collins seems very relaxed and not nervous at all when he proposes to Lizzy and he pretty much just launched straight into it!

Lizzy, to both proposals, rejects immediately.  Collins, to start with, will not accept her refusal because he believes “it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their favour; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second or even a third time.”  (I didn't know that was the normal for young ladies?) Darcy accepts that she has said no, (just about!), but wishes to know why.  So therefore, after her rejection, neither proposers leave straightaway after being rejected. 

Collins explains how he is sure they will be married before long, not taking no for an answer, and Darcy wants to know why he is rejected; “I might, perhaps, wish to be informed why, with so little endeavour at civility, I am thus rejected”.   However, Lizzy is much more rude and insulting in rejecting Darcy than Collins as, although she says it would be “impossible” for her to accept Collins and soon after walks out on him (which is so funny and Lizzy was also enjoying this refusal!), with Darcy she insults his character very powerfully when she says (one of my favourite ever lines!) "From the very beginning, from the first moment I may almost say, of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form that ground-work of disapprobation, on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry." (What a put down, but this was definitely not as enjoyable for her as it was refusing Collins!) On hearing this Darcy leaves Lizzy, whereas Lizzy leaves Collins.  When Darcy has left, “she knew not how to support herself, and from actual weakness sat down and cried for half an hour,” as Lizzy has been much more affected by the manner of Darcy’s proposal than by Collins’s, even though she was upset by Collin’s a little (but I think she was more entertained!), not nearly as much in comparison.   

Another similarity is that before both proposals, Lizzy dislikes both men.  Her opinion of Collins doesn’t change after the proposal (I wonder why?), whereas after Darcy's proposal it does and Darcy begins to improve in her estimation as she finds out some of the reasons that she held against him and therefore contributing to her choice of refusing him, turned out to be false - that letter is so important!
I think that Austen makes you more sympathetic towards Darcy, as he does love Lizzy and she refuses him in a pretty harsh way! Collins however, she makes you laugh at Lizzy's refusal!  You don't feel sorry for Collins at all because he isn’t in love with Lizzy and Austen has portrayed Collins as a laughable and pompous character earlier in the novel, making the reader more likely pleased (and entertained) than upset when he is rejected! 


Unlike Darcy, Collins just wants a “useful wife.” At the beginning of Pride and Prejudice, Austen describes Darcy as an incredibly proud man.  She makes you take Lizzy’s view and therefore dislike him, but after the proposal, you might (and should a little) feel sorry for Darcy because Lizzy was so harsh! 

Austen makes Collins seem equally as undesirable and arrogant as she does Darcy but your opinion of Darcy will is likely to change (again, it should!) after his proposal compared to Collins. Your opinion of Collins after his proposal won't as he is such a comic character! Lizzy can do much better and will be better of without him! Not to mention the fact that he shortly after proposes to Charlotte Lucas, proving he never felt for Lizzie in the slightest, which couldn't have been any more obvious anyway! 




An interesting point I think is that Austen contrasts the style of both proposals.  Darcy’s proposal and the conversation between them consists of many short sentences; Darcy is finding the whole experience difficult (bless!) and the conversation is very tense and quickly moving backward and forward between them! Whereas Collins uses long, boring sentences (reflecting his character ;) ) 






In addition, Austen builds up the reader to be expecting both these refusals.  Collins is such a silly man and you know Lizzy dislikes him, a lot, and they also know that Lizzy’s view on marrying for love is very important to her and she is known to be very strong willed so not likely to drop her opinion and sacrifice her chance of happiness easily! Darcy has at this point in the novel been shown to be proud and disagreeable, and again, you know Lizzy does not like him at all and as we see everything from Lizzy's point of view, we will therefore dislike him as well, especially with regards to Jane and Bingley and Wickham’s 'tragic' past (*rolls eyes!* but then we are likely to believe this story to be true as at this point Lizzy believes it and likes Wickham, so we are likely to as well!)  Therefore, you would be glad that Lizzy doesn’t accept Collins or Darcy, but are more likely to be upset that she doesn’t accept Darcy’s offer of marriage because they know it was genuine.  But, I am sure most people (woman at least!) would understand (and agree!) with Lizzy’s reason for rejecting him - every girl wants a romantic proposal, Darcy's second proposal springs to mind ;)

Despite his selfishness and pride Darcy really does love Lizzy, whereas Collins definitely does not! But, he made the fatal error, just like Collins, of assuming that Lizzy would marry anyone if it offered her security, money and comfort and was also very advantageous for not only her, but her family as well.  It proves that Lizzy does not agree with the ‘rule’ of marrying as quickly as possible to secure a good future without consulting her own feelings in the matter, again making Lizzy very different to how woman were expected to act and behave during the regency period, and making her such a strong (and my favourite) heroine! 



Your affectionate friend,

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48 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this post. I have thought before that Jane Austen was drawing a similarity between Mr. Darcy's arrogance and Mr. Collins' arrogance. This really seems to show up in their proposals.

    By the way, I like your blog a lot. Looking forward to future posts!

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    1. aww thank you for your kind words!
      Glad you agree with what I was getting at ;)

      Glad you enjoy my blog as well :) Hope you do enjoy future and past posts :)

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  2. I can't help it. Mr Collins is hilarious. Every time I see a picture of him (particularly in the 1995 version) I want to crack up. This was a great post!

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    1. I am with you! He is so funny! You just have to laugh!
      Thank you ^_^

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  3. Mrs. Darcy, you make several valid points in your post that I had not thought of as a consideration of the prosals from this angle had not occurred to me. Thanks so much for the info. Please do not apologize for your writing. It educates and enlightens. It also deepens my appreciation for Jane Austen's skill with human relations. Again, thank you.

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    1. I meant to type "proposals". My fingers aren't working, sorry.

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    2. Thank you very much! I am glad you enjoyed it and that it gave you some new insight and ideas! Thanks for commenting!

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  4. Thank you! Very helpful!

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    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it :)

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  5. This was very helpful to me- it helped me greatly understand both of the proposals!!
    Thanks xxx :)

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    1. You are most welcome! I am glad it was useful! :) xxx

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  6. I would like to compliment your work, it is very well written and so very clear. For these many reasons I must say that I was very inspired by your point of view. and ideas. I was SO inspired that I may of copied some of those ideas in an essay of mine. But helas, while thinking that I was being clever I could not have been more unoriginal and I must admit that I was not the only one to be "strongly influenced" by your writing in my class. What can I say ! We were all entranced by your writing ! I hope I did not insult you by my actions.
    A fellow Mrs Darcy.

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    1. Thank you very much for the kind words. I am glad my work inspired you. Your class was inspired? You have been looking at my blog at school? Can you tell me more? I am very surprised to here my work is being studied over in France! Thank you again for your comment!

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  7. I am a french pupil in an international section. I am 15 years old and in our english litterature class we are working on pride and prejudice and had to hand out an essay on this subject. Therefore our teacher asked us to comment your essay, I thought that it was very precise and clear. Moreover, it is humorous which we, pupils, are not used to. I liked the way you made us laugh on Wickham or other things that we do not know at this point of the story. Thank you for your work :)

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    1. Thank you very much for the kind words. Your teacher asked you to comment on my essay? You have been looking at my blog at school? Can you tell me more? I am very surprised to here my work is being studied over in France! Thank you again for your comment! I am glad you enjoyed the humour as well. :)

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  8. Hi Mrs.Darcy! I'm a student from an international section in France. We discussed your essay in class because it "inspired" some of our essays... Your analysis was very helpful to understand all the subtleties of Jane Austen's text. Your points are numerous and very interesting, they are clear and well-explained. I loved your personal remarks;) If you don't mind, here are one (or two) pieces of advice: next time, use more quotes to illustrate your points and use more specific vocab.
    Thanks for making me laugh (and learn) with you and Lizzy!!!;)

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    1. Thank you very much for the kind words. I am glad my work inspired you. Your class was inspired? You have been looking at my blog at school? Can you tell me more? I am very surprised to here my work is being studied over in France! Thank you again for your comment! I agree about the lack of quotes. I was only 15 when I wrote it and Pride and Prejudice was new to me, but now I am 19 I would certainly add more quotes!

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  9. Hello there !
    I am a french student in an international section, I've heard about your blog in class today. I find you analysis very interesting and your ideas really clear. In my opinion, It misses some quotes, to illustrate your points, BUT you do a really good job please keep doing it !
    Thanks for sharing your ideas ! :)

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    1. Thank you very much for the kind words. You have been looking at my blog at school? Can you tell me more? I am very surprised to here my work is being studied over in France! Thank you again for your comment! I agree about quotes, I was 15 when I wrote this and now I am 19 I would certainly have more quotes. :)

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  10. For the ones who are going to post a comment, go and take a look at the "Laughing with Lizzie" facebook page; and enjoy laughing with Lizzie!!!;)

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    1. Yes the facebook page is a good way to follow me. :) Do you follow? I would love to know more about this influx of comments from you French students and the fact that your class seems to be studying my work!

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  11. Hello Mrs Darcy,
    I went to see your works few days ago, because our english litterature teacher ask us to write an essay about Darcy and Collins proposals, and I was complitely lost .. I must admited that your essay inspired me, and I took some of your idea. I am apologize for my conduct, and I will never do it again. I now understand why I have done, by taking idea from your blog. I hope you will not be insult by it. Otherwise, I have to thanks you because you made all clear in my mind, and I have understand much better the book (I have laughed too ;) ). I love Pride and Prejuidice and I must say that your implication in the book can be feel in your writing style.
    Thanks for sharing your idea, and again I am realy sorry, I really feel guilty about it..
    A french student

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    1. Thank you very much for the kind words. I am glad my work inspired you. And that you found it funny. And it is a real compliment if you feel Jane Austen's influence in my writing. Thank you again for your comment!

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  12. Hi Mrs. Darcy,

    I am a french student in an international section. We had to write an essay on these two proposals. I had not known your blog before we talked about it in class. It surprised me that someone wrote about these two proposals just for fun! But you did a great job on this comparison!

    Thanks for my classmates because you helped them.

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    1. Hello, I am glad you enjoyed my post. And I am glad I could help!

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  13. Hello Mrs. Darcy !
    I am a french student in an international section. We are studying Pride and Prejudice in class, and we had to write an essay about Darcy's and Collins' proposals. I did not know your blog before our teacher mentioned it, and asked us to comment it. I found your analysis very complete and I had not found that much similarities between the two proposals !
    Thanks for this essay xx

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    1. Hello. I am glad my post helped. Do you think you could ask your teacher to email me? (s.j.andrews@hotmail.co.uk) I would very much like to talk to her and find out more about why she choose my blog for your class. xx

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  14. Hi I'm another french guy (one of those who didn't use your blog) you now know why we have to post so i'll not explain. It is the first time i post something in a blog or maybe the second because i posted a com i don't know where in your website few minutes ago you may find it. there is a <3 at the end.

    Bye <3

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    1. Hello. Please explain why you have to post? Is it because many used points from my work, if I am understanding the comments correctly? Do you think you could ask your teacher to email me? (s.j.andrews@hotmail.co.uk) I would very much like to talk to her and find out more about why she choose my blog for your class xx

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  15. Hi Mrs. Darcy!
    I am also a french student from the same class as the others (we are twenty six so you must be delighted to see that french students are interested in your blog) and we have to post a comment because we had just written an essay about Mr.Collins and Mr. Darcy's proposals.
    This is the first time that I read your essay and that I post a comment on a blog in general. I congratulate you for the job you have done. The analysis is complete with quotes to prove your points...
    I understand now why some of us took some of your words!
    Thank you very much!

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    1. Hello. I am glad so many enjoy it and have commented. I am glad you liked my essay. Do you think you could ask your teacher to email me? (s.j.andrews@hotmail.co.uk) I would very much like to talk to her and find out more about why she choose my blog for your class!

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  16. Hi mrs Darcy,
    I am also posting a comment for the class eventhough i really enjoyed your blog. I apologise for having stupidly copy some of your ideas but you might be flattered by the same time i hope. Your ideas were concretely expreessed as well as your point of view making the reading easily comprehensible and enjoyable. you might add a few quotes to proove your point.
    Congratulation for your job!

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    1. Hello. Do you mean to imply that you were told to comment because you had used some of my ideas? I am glad my post could help. Do you think you could ask your teacher to email me? (s.j.andrews@hotmail.co.uk) I would very much like to talk to her and find out more about why she choose my blog for your class! (I wrote this a while back and I am now 4 years older and so I would have added more quotes if I re-wrote it)

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  17. Dear Mrs Darcy
    Yes, I am once again from this french class. I bet you might be fed up now with our comments but I still wanted to thank you and congratulate you for your great job. It was very interesting and helpful. You presented it very clearly and did some great analysis. As my mate said previously, you could possibly add some quotes to support and prove your points.
    Thanks again and good continuation

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    1. Hello, It is lovely to hear from so many of you! Lovely of you to all take the time to comment. Do you think you could ask your teacher to email me? (s.j.andrews@hotmail.co.uk) I would very much like to talk to her and find out more about why she choose my blog for your class! (I wrote this a while back and I am now 4 years older and so I would have added more quotes if I re-wrote it)

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  18. Hi mrs Darcy :) (french student, again..)
    i'm actually not one of those who inspired themselfs with your fabulous blog, cause i really didn't found it on the internet. I hope your glad that your job helped my friends in their work. So continue like this, and enjoy your blog's visitors !
    good continuation

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    1. Hello, It is lovely to hear from so many of you! Do you think you could ask your teacher to email me? (s.j.andrews@hotmail.co.uk) I would very much like to talk to her and find out more about why she choose my blog for your class! I am glad you like my blog :)

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  19. Hello Mrs Darcy ( I am, as you probably guessed, a student of the famous french class... )
    I just read your essay and I found it very complete, You really pointed out well the differences and the similarities of the two proposals, it is very interesting :) If I lay add something to your analysis, i thought it was interesting to notice Darcy asked Lizzy to accept his hand and did not ask her to give hers... I am not sure, but it's a point that really caught my attention, I would be interested to hear what you think about it...
    Thank you very much for sharing your work :)

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed my essay. And you make a good point. I think it just show how confident Darcy was that Lizzy would accept him. And also he knew his worth and what it would do for a lady like Lizzy to marry him, so he knew he had the most to give, and therefore he said accept my hand, rather than give me yours :)

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  20. Dear Mrs. Darcy,

    A lot of us have been, as someone already said, "strongly influenced" by your wonderful essay and have copied/stole your ideas.We (those who've been "strongly influenced") all feel a bit, if not completely, guilty, I think. And I also think, we all feel sorry for having done that and we apologize unanimously. But, in a way, it means and proves that your essay was great and very inspiring. All these ideas are very right and they have been and still are very helpful for us, french students, but also for everyone else who comes here ! Your essay helps us to understand Pride and Prejudice and Collins' and Darcy's proposals.Please carry on writing, not for us or anyone else to copy your ideas but because your blog is amazing ! I also would like to thank you for not getting mad towards us because we copied your ideas and I would understand if you were getting angry.(Apparently, you are not and it is very kind and nice of you to take it lightly)

    Thank you, and sorry again !

    Your essay is great !

    Good continuation,

    Another french student. xx :)

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    1. Hello, No I am not mad at all. What is that quote "plagiarism is the highest form of flattery"! I am glad my essay was so inspiring to you and that you like my blog :)

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  21. Hi! I'm another french student and I have to admit that we must have a kind of mental connection!
    While reading your post, I realized how our ideas are similar (just like the 2 proposals) and how we're able to put ideas in words the same way... Isn't it fascinating how people can be on the same wavelength?

    Hope you'll get the irony.

    With my most sincere excuses, LOVE

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  22. Two international students18 March 2015 at 13:22

    Hello. It has come to our understanding that you are quite confused by the particular situation you are in so let me try and explain. We are part of an international class in France, and we happen to be studying Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen in class. About a month ago our teacher asked us to write an essay on the similarities and contrasts between both Mr Darcy and Mr Collins' proposals. Whilst typing it on the internet as a lot of us do nowadays we were quite a few to fall on your blog and this particular post. A lot of people copied word for word and others only the ideas but it was all to the same result as we all got caught in the end. The teacher was outraged and asked the entire class (even those who didn't even know the site existed) to write an apology on your blog. Our teacher is at the moment on a school trip with an other class and is unable to contact you for the moment. I hope this has helped clear the situation and make it all a bit less confusing.

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    1. Right now I fully understand! Thank you for clearing that up for me. Word for word? Wow haha. That is just plain plagiarism! As I have said though, I am not upset as "plagiarism is the highest form of flattery" and I am glad to have clearly inspired so many! If you could ask your teacher to contact me that would be nice - I would still be interested to chat to her. Thanks again :)

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  23. Hi !!! Here again a french student (you may wonder how many we are in this french class, but I think I'm part of the last ones to write you)
    I'm afraid I'm not going to be so original, but I just wanted to tell you that I find great that you are sharing your ideas, what you like with everyone; because it seems like Pride and Prejudice is a really important thing to you so it feels like this blog is a kind of your personal diary ;)
    Sorry again if some of us took your ideas or got inspired of them, but it is true that when we are reading your essay, we are just like "ok, this thing is just perfect". ;)

    Thank you, you made me laugh and thanks to you I now have an idea of the proposal of my dreams ;)

    I wish you the best, and, as I love writing too, good inspirations !

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    1. Hello! I am glad you like my blog :) and yes this is a very important book for me, so I am glad that shows through! Thanks again for the kind words about my essay and my blog :)

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"I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible," therefore I would dearly love for you to comment and let me know what you think!

Thank you for stopping by Laughing With Lizzie and I hope you will take the time to visit again before too long!