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Mr Bingley

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message 1: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments I am currently reading the what if variation Mr Darcy and the Secret to Becoming a Gentleman and it is great! I am really enjoying it.

I particularly enjoy the portrayal of Mr Bingley in this version. There is a wonderful quote which I think describes him perfectly, spoken by Darcy to Bingley ...

"It is a good thing that you are so friendly and good-natured. It fools most people into thinking that you are simpleminded. It allows you to observe the world unencumbered. Very little gets by you, though, and most people never recognise it."

I love that!

It got me thinking; my first opinion of Bingley was that he was a little ... well, not quite simpleminded but... sort of.

What were your opinions of Bingley?
Who agrees that this is a brilliant quote to describe him or who thinks that Bingley was meant to be perceived as more simpleminded?


message 2: by Chahrazad (new)

Chahrazad | 29 comments Ah! I think this is the first time I don't agree with Darcy :)
I think the Bingley in Austen's work was meant to be simple-minded for lack of a better word. I always thought Bingley to be a man of a somewhat weak character compared to Darcy at least. the way he was easily persuaded by his friend and sisters to think Jane had no feelings for him tells me he didn't quite trust his own judgment.

Also, there's this particular scene in the 1995 adaptation where he asks Darcy for his blessing. I thought that scene showed an understanding of Bingley's character.


message 3: by Anne (new)

Anne Nikkanen | 28 comments I think Jane Austen's intention is to match her heroines perfectly to her heroes. Mr. Darcy is proud and a little stern, we eventually realize that Elizabeth has a touch of pride herself. Bingley is sweet and unaffecting, trusting of everyone, Jane is the same. They are a perfect match, each couple. For the later couple, we the reader see how well they are matched immediately. With the former it is a slow reveal. As Elizabeth and Darcy come to realize that they are soul mates, we do too.


message 4: by Anna (new)

Anna (SylviaGrant) | 162 comments I absolutely LOVE Mr. Bingley!!!


message 5: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments I do know what you mean but, well it is clear that Bingley values Darcy's opinion. Marital obligations were much more important back in that time and I think that when you are told about the unsuitability of such a match by your esteemed friend and your sisters, as well as having it suggested that the woman in question is (to use a modern vulgar phrase) a golddigger then, as it is such a personal topic close to the heart, it might be easy to begin to second guess yourself and believe what they are telling you over what you think (I mean, Jane's affection wasn't that obvious and so I think Bingley could easily start to think over his relationship with Jane and begin to interpret it in another way once the trusted and important friend and sisters had mentioned their concerns and voiced their doubt.)

Darcy himself has a real internal struggle with these problems and it takes him a while to finally let his heart win over his head, but while Darcy did do such a thing and Bingley was guided and didn't let his heart win, that is because Bingley is in no way as strong minded and willed as Darcy is, but this still does not make him simple-minded in my opinion.
Anne Elliot was persuaded to reject Wentworth, but would you call Anne simple-minded because she took the advice of a friend?

I completely agree with what you said Anne :)
But, what is your own opinion of Bingley - does this quote fit with him in your opinion?
As if you did not think it did then that would imply that Jane was to be simple-minded also as they are perfectly matched. Both are 'sweet and unaffecting, trusting of everyone' but this does not make them simple-minded - I do not think Jane to be simple minded at all.


message 6: by Chahrazad (new)

Chahrazad | 29 comments Soph wrote: "I do know what you mean but, well it is clear that Bingley values Darcy's opinion. Marital obligations were much more important back in that time and I think that when you are told about the unsuit..."

A very exhaustive answer Soph :) You made me see things differently, actually.

As to Anne Elliot, she was quite young when she met Wetworth and the terms of their engagement were peculiar since it was secret. A girl of 19 could easily be persuaded, in my opinion, to break off the engagement, especially when the adviser is a mother figure.

I guess I'm very much biased ... I've always been attracted to men with characters like Darcy's :)

I agree with what you said too, Anne :) they were a perfect match.


message 7: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Oh I am not saying that I am more a Bingley girl than a Darcy girl (that is definitely NOT the case at all! So much more a Darcy girl ;)) but I think this story really shows more depth to Bingley's character and I feel my original judgement of him was wrong, hence why I think I am defending him so much. I know this is a variations and not the original but the way the authoress refers to things which did happen in the original it made me pause and think that actually when I do think about the original tale and original portrayal, there is more to Bingley then I first thought and more behind his behaviour to think about, which I didn't when I first read the story - all that I have just written in reply to your comment is what came out of the that thinking session ;)
It just made me look at things from a different light. I had done that a lot with Darcy's character and behaviour as we are, as the reader, led to do that as Darcy's behaviour seems so awful that when we discover the truth, we automatically think about his past behaviour from a different angle. With Bingley you are not so much led to do that as Bingley was always a lovely character and so you don't automatically think about why he just leave Netherfield as things work out for him and Jane without the need to think anymore about it all, unlike with Darcy where this second reviewing of his character and behaviour is vital!

I agree about Anne Elliot - easy to be persuaded. But she is not simple-minded. Similar with Bingley, I think it was easy for him to be persuaded because of the reasons I have already stated so...

But yes, there is no question - Darcy all the way!


message 8: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments (also, regarding the age situation with Anne being 19, Bingley is 25 but then Darcy is 28... it is natural to believe the opinions of someone older than you and be influenced by them as they are older, however small the gap may be, I know that from experience.

Also I forgot to mention your comment about the adaptations. The scene you are referring to... I did not take that scene in that way. I think Bingley simply wanted Darcy's blessing because he so values his friendship, but if Darcy had said no (which by that point he wouldn't have ;)) I do not think that would have stopped Bingley - he says himself in response to Darcy question about whether he needs his blessing 'No, but I should like to have it all the same.'
I think that in the 2005 film he was portrayed... a bit of a buffoon! In the 1995 I think he was much more faithful to the book and not quite so... (this is too strong a word really but) pathetic.


message 9: by Louise Sparrow (new)

Louise Sparrow (louisex) | 300 comments I think that it's a good quote and much fairer to Bingley than the adaptations, which do seem to present him as rather weak minded.

There's a huge difference between having a simple character, and a simple mind.

Bingley is very open and straightforward, he sees the good in people the way Jane does. He lets Darcy persuade him about Jane because the inference was that she wasn't in love with him and he did not think so highly of himself for that to be unbelievable, the way Darcy initially did with Lizzy.

Darcy clearly isn't attracted to people with a weak understanding, I doubt he would have made a great friend of an idiot.


message 10: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Louise we are in agreement - a rarity!!
I agree with all you say. The point about Darcy is very true - he would not be such good friends with a bumbling idiot.


message 11: by Anne (new)

Anne Nikkanen | 28 comments Do I believe Jane and Bingley are simple minded...short answer no. Bingley and Jane are similar, but for very different reasons. Jane is unaffecting...etc because as Elizabeth says she is pure goodness. Jane cannot see wrong doing in anyone. When Elizabeth first tells Jane about Wickham, Jane tries to justify the behaviour of both Darcy and Wickham. Elizabeth admonishes her, saying Jane they can't both be good. Jane is the eternal optimist. Bingley is unaffecting..etc. because he is afraid to displease those he sees as his betters. His worship so to speak of Darcy is not due to age it is due to class. Darcy has more money and comes from older money, he even has aristocracy in his family line. Bingley and his sisters have newly acquired their money, from trade if I remember correctly. They are desperate to distance themselves from that fact and climb as high socially as they can. For Bingley, Darcy's opinion is the only one that matters. It is not from simple mindedness, but from blind devotion. Bingley is easy swayed especially by his manipulative sisters, who want nothing better than to marry him to Georgiana and firmly establish their family in society.


message 12: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Very good points you raise Anne and I agree. They did earn their money through trade (and Caroline seems happy to forget that point) and so a connection to the Darcy's of Pemberley in Derbyshire would be a great and very important connection indeed!


message 13: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments I was moved to do a blog post and have included some of you guys opinions which I hope is alright (I haven't mentioned any names)
http://laughingwithlizzie.blogspot.co...


message 14: by Caity (new)

Caity | 144 comments I really like this blog post, Soph! :D
I'm with you- my first impression of Bingley was that he was rather silly, but I figured that Jane's steadiness would make them perfect for each other anyway! Then I started to feel sorry for him cause of his relatives :P Now, my opinion is that he is really pleasant and has a far deeper character than we all suppose and he's now one of my favorite secondary heroes! ^_^


message 15: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments I am glad you enjoyed it :) Thank you <3 I agree. he and Jane and so suited for each other!


message 16: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Soph wrote: "I was moved to do a blog post and have included some of you guys opinions which I hope is alright (I haven't mentioned any names)
http://laughingwithlizzie.blogspot.co..."


I've never thought of Bingley as simple-minded or silly, but rather as a humble man who listens to the advice of his best friend and his sisters. He wasn't sure of Jane's regard for him, because her behavior was so quiet. And of course we listen to our best friends - isn't that what they are there for?

I enjoyed your blog, Soph!


message 17: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Thank you!!

It is what friends are for! :)


message 18: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Chuckle!


message 19: by Grace (new)

Grace Garrett | 4 comments If Elizabeth approves of him as a match for her beloved sister, and Darcy finds him interesting enough to live with for months at a time, that tells me there's more to him than Austen lets on.


message 20: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Good point, Grace! Would Darcy have spent hours and hours of his time with, for want of a better word, an idiot? And even though Elizabeth does not like his sisters or his best friend, she still thinks enough of his character to believe that he will make her sister happy.


message 21: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Exactly Grace! Darcy wouldn't have bothered with him! Elizabeth also! She says herself 'you have liked many a stupider person' and approves for her most beloved sister, however much she dislikes her sisters and friend (to begin with :P)


message 22: by Holly (new)

Holly Mascaro (birdbrainbooks) (birdbrainbooks) | 48 comments I also do think that it's important to keep in mind how Jane's behavior towards Bingley could be seen from Bingley's point of view--as readers, we are told how Jane feels through Elizabeth, but on Bingley and Darcy's end, she very well could have seemed cold and indifferent, which would be reasons to explain why Darcy would discourage Bingley (and add more weight to the argument against her lower/embarrassing connections).


message 23: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments I completely agree. Darcy wouldn't interfere without good reason to believe that Jane wasn't as in love as Bingley was and I think it easily could have been seen that way as Jane is a quiet and reserved person. And mrs Bennet and her younger sisters won't have helped this!


message 24: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments It really got me thinking about Bingley as a character (hence the need for a blog post about it!) I loved this new insight into his character and it making me think about Bingley more closely!

Darcy and Lizzy, apart from each other as you say, are good judges of character!


message 25: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum This is a good discussion of a "minor" character, Soph; start another one! How about Mr. Elliot in Persuasion? (because I'm almost finished in a re-read, haha!)

So many of Austen's characters are very plausible when they are first introduced, but just a few of them hold up in the long run, Mr. Bingley being the one of the best of them!


message 26: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Mr Bingley is one of the best ones!

I am glad this has gone down so well! I will start another conversation (or anyone can!) about a minor character actually; maybe Elliot yes. Or maybe... Jane Fairfax? I have really enjoyed this conversation :)


message 27: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Whomever you decide upon is fine with me!


message 28: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments I'll get onto it! :)


message 29: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 198 comments I don't think Bingley is "simpleminded", and I don't think anything in his conduct allows people to think so. When Elizabeth reproaches Darcy, she says that his influence over Bingley, in the matter of separating him from Jane, has exposed Bingley to the world for "caprice and instability". Bingley's capricious decision-making and he reliance on the opinions of others, demonstrates a susceptibility of influence that you see in many of Austen's young men. Simplemindedness, however, suggests a lack of intellect, and I don't think there is anything in Bingley's conduct to suggest that.


message 30: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Well said and a very good point and quote from Lizzy there.


message 31: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments I agree. He isn't that silly in the book


message 32: by Denise (new)

Denise Morse | 3 comments totally agree about Bingley being silly in Keira Knightly Pride and Prejudice.

I view him as the all around nice guy, who has an overwhelming willingness to please that makes him put his desires last. He is not silly, just a people pleaser. I imagine him sitting up in bed at night worrying that someone is mad at him or felt slighted


message 33: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Awww!! He would hate to hurt anyone you are right but I do think when it came to important matters of the heart he would put himself first. Well, he does go again his sisters in regards to Jane in the end!


message 34: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 148 comments I think although his sisters didn't influence him, they did cry. I thought ha was sweet & naive & infatuated in the 2006 P&P


message 35: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 148 comments I prefer Bingley to Darcy as a hero...


message 36: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Lisa! What!?


message 37: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 148 comments Soph, I knew you'd react. I prefer the quiet, introverted guy.
Darcy's still a hero.


message 38: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments .... :'(

No I'm kidding. Fair enough though I would ask for Darcy over Bingley (in fact over anyone!) any day!


message 39: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments A friend! He would be an amazing friend!! :D


message 40: by Maria (new)

Maria | 94 comments Soph wrote: ".... :'(

Fair enough though I would ask for Darcy over Bingley (in fact over anyone!) any day!"


I agree. I will always choose Darcy.


message 41: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 582 comments No simpleminded, no. I think of Bingley as a puppy. He's enthusiastic about life and eager to please. He looks to Mr. Darcy for guidance and takes whatever Darcy tells him as face value. He's a simple person who doesn't understand the conniving of his sisters or the cynicism of his friend. He likes Jane because she's pretty and sweet. She's uncomplicated and he can understand her. I think Bingley is just a sunny person and always will be. Also remember that he's new money and hasn't had the experiences Darcy has to color his world view. He's fresh and innocent if you will.


message 42: by Denise (new)

Denise Morse | 3 comments Qnpoohbear wrote: "No simpleminded, no. I think of Bingley as a puppy. He's enthusiastic about life and eager to please. He looks to Mr. Darcy for guidance and takes whatever Darcy tells him as face value. He's a sim..."

This summed up my exact view of Bingley. As much as I love Darcy, Bingley is the guy you most want to be around at all times.


message 43: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I have a friend who is a Bingley, and I do value his friendship immensely. He's a careful listener and considerate of everyone, and we're just always glad to see him!

Alas, alas, I know no Darcys...


message 44: by Anne (new)

Anne | 81 comments Lisa wrote: "I prefer Bingley to Darcy as a hero..."

I agree...


message 45: by Anne (new)

Anne | 81 comments Mr. Darcy is very swoon-worthy and all, but I actually met both men in real life I'd probably fall for Bingley.


message 46: by Anne (new)

Anne | 81 comments *IF I met both men...gosh can't believe I forgot the IF! ahaha sorry everyone lol :P


message 47: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments He would definitely be a great friend but I would love to find a Darcy and if he behaved the same way ... I think I would really enjoy teasing him and having witty conversations and debates more than having fun conversations where Bingley would agree with me on everything no doubt.


message 48: by Maria (new)

Maria | 94 comments Soph wrote: "He would definitely be a great friend but I would love to find a Darcy and if he behaved the same way ... I think I would really enjoy teasing him and having witty conversations and debates more th..."

Perfectly agree with you, Soph. I need someone who challenges me.


message 49: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum You know, I think it's true that Mr. Bingley would be the man that most girls would fall for. You have to have a lot of confidence when meeting an incredibly handsome, rich, powerful man in order to do more than gaze at him from afar; I think that I have met one or two of those types (in passing), and I certainly never made a push to further the acquaintance - because I was, frankly, intimidated!


message 50: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Nicely said Parinita!!


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