This passage is significant because it defines the depth of the relationship between Darcy and Bingley. In simple terms, the two are very good friends despite having quite opposite characteristics. Conveniently, Darcy enjoys Bingley’s easygoing nature, while Bingley appreciates Darcy’s reliability. The second half of the passage goes on to explains their differing qualities. However, when reading between the lines, or more specifically, when considering Austen’s word choice, queer connotations of Darcy and Bingley’s friendship are more visible.
Many words stand out in this passage, but most of them carry a sodomitical, thus homosexual, connotation. Words such as “superior” and “advantage” used to describe Darcy suggest his dominant role in their friendship. Meanwhile, words used to describe Bingley include “easiness,” “openness,” “ductility,” and “firmest,” which conjure images of an anus, or more specifically, one receiving the anal sex. Overall it is a very compatible relationship, with a dominant top and a submissive bottom.
However, in Darcy’s perspective, Bingley is too open, or not assertive enough. During a quite triangulated conversation with Bingley and Lizzy, Darcy says, “‘a friend were to say, ‘Bingley, you had better stay till next week,’ you would probably do it… might stay a month’” (33). Here, he calls his friend a pushover, and throughout the conversation, Lizzy defends Bingley by being at odds with Darcy while Bingley remains passive and indifferent. This conversation allows Darcy to compare and contrast Bingley to Lizzy. While they are both in submissive position to Darcy, Lizzy actively and willingly challenges him. She frequently denies him access, which is exactly what Darcy wants.
Going back to the main pas...
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...eral possible reasons. Most importantly, she thinks, “Charlotte, the wife of Mr. Collins, was a most humiliating picture!—And to the pang of a friend disgracing herself and sunk in her esteem…” (86). Here, Lizzy states that she is humiliated by Charlotte’s being Mr. Collin’s wife. One plausibility to consider is that Charlotte is substituting Mr. Collins for Lizzy; because the two are cousins, Mr. Collins is the closest male to Lizzy who is eligible and available for Charlotte to marry. It almost sounds like Lizzy is aware that she is being replaced with Mr. Collins, which explains her embarrassment because she does not like him.
So while Charlotte is a victim of compulsory heterosexuality, she proves herself different by marrying for the sake of being married, rather than because of love. She also chooses a husband who would still allow her to be connected to Lizzy.
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