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Mr. Collins’ Proposal — 9 Comments

  1. Thank you for this enlightening article. It was quite astonishing to notice which elements belonged to a proposal of that time. However, I maintain my opinion that Mr. Collins´ proposal is not quite in accordance with these requirements because of the disproportion of the lenghts of the single elements. He is much more eloquent on the connection to Lady Catherine and he might expect that the lady he proposes to wants to have her household managed according to her own tastes instead of paying deference to Lady Catherine.

  2. Interesting! I didn’t know this. Thank you for sharing. I agree that it contained a lot of the proper forms of a proposal, and honestly, it was way better than Darcy’s who didn’t get parental approval (instead insulted her family), didn’t talk about providing for her (I guess that was evident that he could), and didn’t consider Elizabeth’s feelings or modesty at all (did he think she was playing hard to get?). Ugh. Elizabeth was right not to label him a gentleman after that! His pride made him feel immune to a proper proposal. Mr. Collins also has pride and expectations of success but was not even close to Darcy’s insults. The positive for Darcy’s is his true emotions of infatuation (I say infatuation, not really love just yet in the novel, in my opinion) whereas Mr. Collins’ was clearly superficial. (Evident by Mr. Collins’ proposal to Charlotte shortly after versus Mr. Darcy trying to make amends for his disgraceful behavior.) It’s sad that the proper form seems to be about a business transaction rather than showing of affection. I hope that it can be both! In a time where men and women were not able to get to know each other as well as we do now, it makes sense that this “business transaction” aspect be included so that there is not any ambiguity. Today, we have the luxury of knowing what our partners can do, feel, believe, and provide for before accepting a proposal so all that’s left is expressing your feelings and asking! I think Mr. Collins’ proposal, had it really been genuine love, had potential to be a lovely proposal with this knowledge.

  3. That was really interesting. What appears to a modern reader as bragging and not taking no for an answer was actually par for the course and expected. Wow. I guess with the expectancy as it was for a marriage to be primarily a business transaction, this type of proposal would be very much an excellent one. Who knew?!!! 🙂

  4. I will give Mr. Collins credit. His proposal seems appropriate for the times. I understand the reasoning for his proposal as well. He was doing the Bennet family a service by proposing to one of the daughters, thereby allowing Longbourn to remain in the family. That being said, he’s just such a ridiculous man! It’s difficult to feel sorry for him when Elizabeth refused him.

  5. I never thought the majority of Collins’ proposal would be considered utterly ridiculous. The only elements I found truly outrageous (based on the narrative in the book) were his excessive veneration for Lady Catherine (and his comment that her recommendation should have been the first reason he listed as seeking marriage) and his protestations of his deep affection, which was so obviously untrue as to be almost insulting, since he never once showed E the respect of actually listening to her. D may have been arrogant and rude in his proposal, but he had always shown E the respect of listening to her and responding accordingly. I didn’t know there were actual recommendations of how a proposal should be made, though, but I guess it’s in keeping with all the rules of ‘polite’ society they followed. I’m sure glad we live in a time where it is not considered rude to discuss meaningful matters in mixed groups and our interactions are not so regimented.

  6. I once read that being able to refuse an offer was one of the few privileges of women during the Regency period. While it wouldn’t do to refuse offers from too many men (Elizabeth was clearly not anxious for her mother to find out she had refused Darcy’s proposal, whether it was for the second offer per se or the £10,000 a year.) at least the woman would have some say in her future. Of course this wasn’t the reality because of the rules about compromise or the customs of arranged marriage. The reasons I felt revulsion from Mr. Collins’ proposal were (1) his pomposity, (2) that he put his needs and Lady Catherine’s demands first, rather than Elizabeth’s needs and (3) his pomposity!

  7. Although I never liked his character because of that, I never thought of his proposal to Elizabeth that odd. He is definitely a “dandy” character in the same way as Thackeray’s Jos Sedley from Vanity Fair. They both have the same type of personality in different ways. And they are both outspoken and over the top on most of their ideas. In certain ways I also see Mr. Collins as a Darcy of sorts. I know that sounds weird but if you think about it – they both are prejudiced against the Bennetts (as Mr. Collins is always making sure to let them know about their “place”) and they both are very proud – Mr. Collins obviously because of his affiliation with Lady Catherine. And of course they both go overboard on their beliefs and such – Darcy is just not so outspoken. But he does have those values he holds so dear that women should be proficient in so many things – just as Mr. Collins does. So even though I think they were meant to be opposites I actually see a lot of similarities. So anyways like I said I was never a fan of Mr. Collins so this didn’t change my opinion, I just think he was doing what was normal in most society but just doing it in his own fantastical way 🙂 Thank you for the awesome giveaway too! I am crossing my fingers 🙂

  8. I think that my modern views still color my perception of his proposal, but the article is certainly enlightening. Collins probably couldn’t even fathom that any woman would turn him down. Poor guy. 😉

  9. Ah, how perfectly Mr. Collins–completely by the book yet with no understanding of it. It’s funny to consider that people have always been people–we have books of rules and standards today, too, but they are often ignored.

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