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... Lucas, for instance, he does so merely because he needs someone to be his wife. In his enumeration of the reasons why he has elected to take on a wife, Mr. Collins never once alludes to why he has chosen Elizabeth in particular. Moreover, though he warns Elizabeth that he may be “run away with by his feelings” (PP 98), his proposal is monotonous, rehearsed, and, worst of all, attentive to no one’s happiness but his own. Collins’s use of “first,” “secondly” and “thirdly” (PP 99) reveals that both the suitor and his proposal lack the substance and attentiveness Elizabeth desires; therefore, although some argue that Elizabeth’s pertinent observations and quick wit “verge not merely on impertinence but on impropriety” (Johnson 75), Austen assures Elizabeth’s right to dislike Mr. Collins when he quantifies his marriage proposal in terms of his—and only his—own happiness.
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