The short answer is, “even the smallest detail matters.” But the bigger question is, “why does it matter?” In my review of John Mullan’s new book What Matters in Jane Austen? Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved (New York: Bloomsbury, 2012) for Austenprose, you can read more about what matters, and why:
“The closer you look, the more you see,” writes John Mullan in What Matters in Jane Austen? Elizabeth Bennet learns this lesson in Pride and Prejudice when she reads and rereads Mr. Darcy’s letter “with the closest attention” to understand why he separated Bingley from Jane and why he doesn’t trust Wickham. Mullan’s compelling analysis of detail in Jane Austen’s novels persuades us that “Little things matter.” In a series of chapters on what he calls “puzzles,” he asks questions about details and discusses how and why they matter. In the process, he demonstrates that the popular pastime of answering quizzes about the novels is not necessarily trivial, but can lead us to a deeper understanding of Jane Austen’s careful craftsmanship and her innovative contributions to the history of fiction.
You can read the full review at Austenprose.com.