Kissin’ (up) cousins

I think of Mr. Collins as a puffed up peacock– with bright and showy plumes and a small brain in his little head. His style is studied and forced; he parades and fawns and uses excessive manners to compensate for his weak mind and boring nature.

Almost despite himself, Mr. Collins is quite successful. He goes to university and, despite his lack of connections and network, somehow lands a plum assignment right out of school. He behaves like a fool in Hertfordshire and still completes his lone mission of finding a wife. (It certainly doesn’t matter to him that they have no real regard or affection for one another.) And, due to a random entail, he will become a landowner and a gentleman. Not to shabby for the son of an illiterate and miserly man.

But Mr. Collins’ manners miss the mark, in that they do not extend courtesy. In spite of his studied manners, he still comes off as a pompous buffoon because he cannot recognize nor does he care about the feelings of others.

Like Mr. Darcy, Mr. Collins is constantly giving offense. But they do so in very different ways. Mr. Darcy is haughty, proud and silent. Mr. Collins is never silent, and his constant prancing and puffing up usually slights those around him. On the first day of his visit to Longbourn, he reads to the Bennet’s from Fordyce’s Sermons, insinuating they are in need or moral guidance. He tells Mrs. Philips that her room resembles a small summer parlour at Rosings. He introduces himself to Mr. Darcy.

In Mr. Collins, Jane Austen demonstrates how self-importance and vanity severely diminish ones manners and character.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s