Mary is the plainest of the Bennet sisters. The final chapter of the book sheds the most light on her physical attributes, although not much is revealed:
"Mary was the only daughter who remained at home; and she was necessarily drawn from the pursuit of accomplishments by Mrs. Bennet's being quite unable to sit alone. Mary was obliged to mix more with the world, but she could still moralize over every morning visit; and as she was no longer mortified by comparisons between her sisters' beauty and her own, it was suspected by her father that he submitted to the change without much reluctance."
Character Description and Analysis
Mary is described as the most accomplished girl in the family, yet her accomplishments are often overshadowed by her lack of social graces. She is well-read, intelligent, and has a strong moral compass, but her seriousness and lack of tact often isolate her from others. Her pursuit of knowledge and moral superiority, while admirable, often comes across as pedantic and judgmental, further alienating her from her peers.
Despite her flaws, Mary’s character provides a stark contrast to the frivolity and superficiality that pervades the society she lives in. Her dedication to her studies and her moral convictions, although often misguided, highlight her desire to rise above the societal norms of her time. This makes her a symbol of resistance against the societal pressures to conform.
However, Mary’s character also serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of intellectual and moral snobbery. Her inability to connect with others on a deeper level, despite her intelligence, serves as a reminder that knowledge and morality are not enough to navigate the complexities of human relationships.
In conclusion, Mary Bennet is a complex character whose intellectual pursuits and moral convictions set her apart from her peers. Despite her social awkwardness and often misguided judgments, she remains a character of depth and complexity, providing a unique perspective on the societal norms of her time. Her character serves as both a symbol of resistance and a cautionary tale, adding a layer of depth to the narrative of Pride and Prejudice.
Character Mentions Mary Bennet is mentioned specifically by name 43 times in the novel.