The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

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2018 Group Reads - Archives > Persuasion (Wk 3) Vol. 2, Chapters 1 - 6

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message 1: by Gem , Moderator (last edited Mar 23, 2018 08:24PM) (new)

Gem  | 685 comments Mod
Week 2 saw us complete the first Volume, week 3 opens Volume 2. I'm not sure how everyone else feel, but I really don't like Anne's family. And I predict (not a spoiler since I've not read this one before) that there is going to be some drama with Elizabeth over Mr. Elliot... will Anne have two suitors? And Elizabeth none?

1) What do you think about Anne's arrival in Bath, considering the continued presence of Mr Elliot, Anne's reaction to her family and the way she begins to distance herself from them and stand up for herself more than she has been known to do?

2) What role does Mrs. Smith play in the novel? What is the effect of Mrs. Smith’s revelations to Anne? What does Anne’s relationship with Mrs. Smith suggest to you about Anne?

3) When it becomes apparent that Mr. Elliot has turned his attentions toward Anne, what makes her uncertain of his sincerity? In the end, what does Anne learn about Elliot's motivations?

4) Why is this novel set in so many different locations? What do these places represent: Kellynch, Uppercross, Lyme, Bath? How does Bath reveal Sir Walter’s true nature?


message 2: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments ❀✿ Gem ✿❀ wrote: "Week 2 saw us completely the first Volume, week 3 opens Volume 2. I'm not sure how everyone else feel, but I really don't like Anne's family. ...."

I know that some readers consider Persuasion their favorite Austen novel, but I can't see it. So far almost all the characters seem insipid to me, even Anne, though there is at least some character there, though I'm getting tired of her angst.

Anne is not nearly as well formed, for me, as Emma or the Bennet sisters (or even the Dashwood sisters, who I think are less formed than the young women of the other novels).

As somebody else pointed out, the Musgrove sisters seem basically indistinguishable and largely characterless. And I agree with those who find Mary a very unpleasant character, whiny and silly.

If the usual Austen wit is present somewhere in the book, I'm not finding it.

On this re-reading I'm reminded that I really didn't like Persuasion when I read it before, and I'm feeling the same way now. Is anybody really enjoying the book? And if so, what do you find so enjoyable about it?


message 3: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 610 comments I think at this point we begin to see that meeting Captain Wentworth again, no matter how painful for Anne, was transformative for her. Instead of simply enduring her family and going along with their expectations, she is acting more on her own very different beliefs--seeking the company she wishes to seek as a precursor, perhaps, to leading the life she wants to lead. Perhaps seeing the Harvilles' happy household was also an important moment for her.

This book certainly has less of Jane Austen's wit in it, perhaps as a result of having less detachment. A lot of people love Persuasion because it has more romantic feelz in it, and certainly it does. It also, however, seems to have more political motivations than most of her fiction, almost a didactic air as she makes her case for a hierarchy of merit instead of a hierarchy of birth. In that sense, Anne sometimes becomes more the embodiment of an idea than an individual.

I used to take Anne's word for it that Captain Wentworth was perfection personified and would ride the emotional wave. In those days it was my favorite Austen novel. Once I began to see him through my own eyes I became more critical of this book; it seems a bit thin and rushed, for some of the reasons already mentioned.

As for E'man's question about what I enjoy about this book, I like following the steps as a modest and self-effacing person learns to have, and act on, her self-esteem. That can be harder to achieve for a female than many men can begin to comprehend. Trained from birth to be least and last, to think of others' priorities as more important than one's own, even one's beliefs and principles--to stand in one's own place and be oneself is a real feat. I root for Anne.

On a more technical level, I am interested in Jane Austen's way of conveying information, her gift for what the scholars call free indirect discourse. It's very intuitive and readers absorb her messages almost as if they were the readers' own thoughts. This book carries the seeds of stream-of-consciousness writing (though perhaps it might have been better if subsequent writers hadn't taken it any further!).


message 4: by Piyangie (last edited Mar 24, 2018 12:16AM) (new)

Piyangie | 148 comments ❀✿ Gem ✿❀ wrote: "Week 2 saw us completely the first Volume, week 3 opens Volume 2. I'm not sure how everyone else feel, but I really don't like Anne's family. And I predict (not a spoiler since I've not read this o..."


I agree with you there, Gem. I don't like Anne's family myself either. They are a proud, selfish and good for nothing titled set. Anne is very different from them.
Given Anne's character and temperament, it is not a surprise that she would be pursued by two suitors. Mr. Elliot, being the heir in line for the baronetcy, will definitely be the suitor whom the family would approve; especially Lady Russell. Will Anne be persuaded for a second time to give up the man she loves? And this time forever?

However, Anne is showing a lot of strength at this moment and is quite sure of her feelings for Captain Wentworth. It is interesting to see how the things will progress.


message 5: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Abigail wrote: "As for E'man's question about what I enjoy about this book, I like following the steps as a modest and self-effacing person learns to have, and act on, her self-esteem. That can be harder to achieve for a female than many men can begin to comprehend. "

That's a very nice point.


message 6: by JJ (last edited Mar 18, 2018 06:42PM) (new)

JJ | 45 comments 3) When it becomes apparent that Mr. Elliot has turned his attentions toward Anne, what makes her uncertain of his sincerity?

Anne is skeptical of Mr. Elliot because of his previous behavior and character traits.

Even though Anne was appealed to being "Lady Elliot" as her mother once was, it seems obvious that she will end up with Captain Wentworth. I was just reading today about how Austen romanticizes the navy in her novels. She had 6 brothers and that 2 or 3 of them were in the war as navy men. No wonder there were several navy men characters in her books


message 7: by Gem , Moderator (new)

Gem  | 685 comments Mod
Piyangie wrote: "❀✿ Gem ✿❀ wrote: "Week 2 saw us completely the first Volume, week 3 opens Volume 2. I'm not sure how everyone else feel, but I really don't like Anne's family. And I predict (not a spoiler since I'..."

I think the further along we get in the book, the more the her family shows their true character which is all pretty negative to me.


message 8: by Gem , Moderator (new)

Gem  | 685 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "I know that some readers consider Persuasion their favorite Austen novel, but I can't see it. So far almost all the characters seem insipid to me, even Anne, though there is at least some character there, though I'm getting tired of her angst. ."

Agreed. I am not enjoying this book nearly as much as I though I was going to.


message 9: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte (charlottecph) | 142 comments I felt that this was only half of a story. The first half, describing the details and feelings Anne and Frederick had for eachother when they met, was missing, and was up to our imagination.


message 10: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1818 comments Mod
Charlotte wrote: "I felt that this was only half of a story. The first half, describing the details and feelings Anne and Frederick had for eachother when they met, was missing, and was up to our imagination."

That's an interesting comment. In fact, it's almost as if the "missing story" is the sort of thing she wrote earlier-19 year old girl meets and marries dashing young naval officer-only it didn't have the required happy ending. Now, as a more mature author who (I believe) has had a missed romance and faces the rest of her life as a spinster, perhaps Austen is writing the second chance/happy ending she didn't get herself.


message 11: by Candace (new)

Candace (cprimackqcom) | 138 comments ⊱✿Gem✿⊰ wrote: "Everyman wrote: "I know that some readers consider Persuasion their favorite Austen novel, but I can't see it. So far almost all the characters seem insipid to me, even Anne, though there is at lea..."

Hi! I am not usually a re-reader, but I’m re-reading both of this month’s books! It has really shown me how much my views on a book can change . I’m not sure what to attribute the change to. It could be a number of things, such as my mood at the time to what else is going on in my life to how carefully I read the book one time more than the other. My rating on Lady Susan ( in the Short Story Salon) went down. My rating on this book will go up significantly. ( I still have 7 more chapters before finishing my 2nd read.)
The only thing that has really bothered me is how often Austen mentions that Anne’s bloom is gone; one time , she mentions it twice in one sentence. Anyway, I just can’t see it happening in one’s twenties.
I do find this book to have more levels of maturity to it than her others. The others plots and characters are a little similar so I appreciate how different this plot is. (Maybe I’ll feel differently if I re-read them!)


message 12: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 29 comments ⊱✿Gem✿⊰ wrote: "Week 2 saw us complete the first Volume, week 3 opens Volume 2. I'm not sure how everyone else feel, but I really don't like Anne's family. And I predict (not a spoiler since I've not read this one..."

I don’t see how anyone could feel otherwise about Anne’s family! They can be amusing at times to read about but her father and Elizabeth especially lack any trace of good qualities!

Everyman wrote: "❀✿ Gem ✿❀ wrote: "Week 2 saw us completely the first Volume, week 3 opens Volume 2. I'm not sure how everyone else feel, but I really don't like Anne's family. ...."

I know that some readers consi..."


I have not read all of Austen’s novels yet but I did enjoy Persuasion a great deal more than I thought I would! I enjoyed the explorations of themes of character and relationships, the various contrasts that were set up. I came to appreciate Anne’s character and seeing her progress in understanding and taking charge of her own life.


message 13: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 29 comments JJ wrote: "3) When it becomes apparent that Mr. Elliot has turned his attentions toward Anne, what makes her uncertain of his sincerity?

Anne is skeptical of Mr. Elliot because of his previous behavior and c..."


I agree — and add to that how he seems able to please absolutely everyone — it makes one wonder who, if anyone, knows the real Mr. Elliot.


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