Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion (B & N Classics Mass Market)

I have climbed out from under my rock to read my first Austen. Persuasion along with all of Austen’s works are classics. Really, what can I add to the mounds of commentary and discussion that have preceded me by almost 200 years.
I’ll start with a few favorite passages:

    “How eloquent could Anne Elliot have been, -how eloquent, at least, were her wishes on the side of early warm attachment, and a cheerful confidence in futurity, against that over-anxious caution which seems to insult exertion and distrust Providence!-She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older-the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.”
    “You should not have suspected me now; the case so different, and my age so different. If I was wrong in yielding to persuasion once, remember that it was to persuasion exerted on the side of safety, not risk. When I yielded, I thought it was to duty; but no duty could be called in aid here. In marrying a man indifferent to me, all risk would have been incurred, and all duty violated.”

    “Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.”

Persuasion is the story of a thwarted romance between Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth. Anne was persuaded by a family friend (Lady Russell) to end the engagement for social status reasons. Of course Frederick returns years later as a wealthy bachelor which removes the previous barrier. The pair are still in love but there are difficulties.
Although I could not easily find a passage to illustrate this idea, I found that transportation, particularly through walking and by carriage seems to serve as a means of character development, especially for Anne. Anne takes regular long walks, she walks over to visit lady Russell, and in many ways she walks behind lady Russell and others in her life; in the way that she takes advice, in the way that her family requires her presence and dishes out ill treatment as if Anne is an afterthought, someone to be taken for granted.

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3 responses to “Persuasion by Jane Austen

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