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Persuasion
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2018/19 Group Reads - Archives > Persuasion (Wk 4) Vol. 2, Chapters 7 - Conclusion

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message 1: by Gem , Moderator (new)

Gem  Paullin | 747 comments Mod
This is our last week and the final six chapters.

1) What do you think will happen in the end? Will Mr. Elliot's manipulation force Anne to take action to her own detriment? Or do you think she will follow her heart? Who, in the end, will persuade Anne? And why?

2) What were your favorite parts of the novel? Your least favorite? Things you wish were different?

3) Admittedly I'm not versed in the social niceties of the time, I can only relate to these characters through my own modern perspective. Did you find it hard to relate to Anne and the other characters?

4) In a letter, Austen described Anne Elliot as "almost too good for me." Do you find Anne "too good" to be true? Is her goodness cloying and sentimental? Or is her goodness something different—an integrity combined with strength and acceptance? How do you see the heroine of this novel?

5) Austen wrote Persuasion as her health was failing, hurrying to finish it before her death. Do you find the novel’s narrative carries any sense of urgency or sentimentality, or any other indication of what the author herself was going through as she wrote it?


Piyangie | 167 comments 1. I don't think Mr. Elliot will succeed. I feel that Anne entertains a certain doubt of Mr. Elliot's character and his sincerity. It is most probable that Anne will follow her heart now that she understands her feelings for Captain Wentworth clearly. At this moment, no one can persuade Anne in to any action other than her own heart.

2. As in all Austen novels, I did like the part where the hero declares his love and devotion to the heroine. :-) Here it is Captain Wentworth's declaration to Anne. According to the story, it is the second time but we read it being expressed only on this second time around.
And also I felt that an addition of chapter or two detailing a little on the hero and heroine's life once they become a couple would have been more welcome. But these abrupt endings are common in her work.

5. Persuasion is comparatively a short novel by Austen and perhaps it is due to her failing health. Personally, I didn't feel it is being rushed; only that the former relations between Anne and Captain Wentworth has been presented as an episode in the past. But I cannot help but wonder that if Jane Austen were blessed with good health and time would she have written it differently and included the life of young Anne and Captain Wentworth in the story. It is something that we could never know.


Emma (emmalaybourn) | 298 comments I did feel that the ending was somewhat rushed and all rather lower-key than I expected; I agree with Piyangie that if Jane Austen had been in better health the latter half of the book in particular might have been different (apparently her health began to fail while she was writing it.)

The last chapter in particular read to me like a summary, with the whole business of Mrs Clay and Mr Elliot being given in a few lines. I would have liked to know if Elizabeth ever managed to capture a husband - and at least a little about Anne and Captain Wentworth's future life together.


message 4: by JJ (last edited Mar 24, 2018 08:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

JJ | 45 comments After reading more about Anne I have changed my mind about her being a push over. Austen went on to flesh out her character more. I made an earlier comment about Anne seeming like a push over.

After reading chapter 8 and chapter 12 of part 2, I changed my opinion. It seems that since Anne was young so she took the advice of her mother's friend to not marry Cap. WW. I can see how Anne felt it was best to listen to her advice. It was also noble of Anne to say that her conscience would bother her for her whole life if she had not listened to Lady Russel. I can certainly see how ignoring the advice of a close family friend could upset her conscience.

Secondly, Anne was very diplomatic and kind in chapter 8.
"a touch at her shoulder obliged Anne to turn around.-It came from Mr. Elliot. He begged her pardon, but she must be applied to, to explain Italian again....Anne could not refuse; but never had she sacrificed to politeness with a more suffering spirit."

I would have to say Anne is more thoughtful and considerate than all the other characters. She is not a push over because she seems to consider social constraints and others needs over her own . Certainly, it would have been nicer if she was a little more forthcoming with her opinions. The only time she seemed to have the most opinion was during chapter 11 when she was discussing with Cap. Harville about the affections of women compared to men.

Yes, the ending seemed very rushed, especially the last two chapters. Austen must have felt very ill near the end of this book.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 670 comments Has anyone read the first version of the ending of this book? It contains a scene that has something in common with a scene from Sense and Sensibility. Would be interested to discuss if mods want to include that as part of this conversation—which ending people prefer, why Austen might have changed it, etc.


Christopher (Donut) | 150 comments "Yes, the ending seemed very rushed, especially the last two chapters. Austen must have felt very ill near the end of this book. "

I have to disagree with this, or offer a dissenting view (though my memory of the book is from last year).

There is a draft of one chapter which Austen re-worked.

This is actually a rare specimen of JA at work. I think in the manuscript version, instead of meeting Wentworth on her way to.. (I forget), their friend arranges for them to meet privately in his library.

(Ian or someone else can correct me on the details)

The point is, JA was making revisions to the end. Clear improvements, actually.

So, if the ending seems 'rushed,' it may have been an artistic decision on her part that once the climax had been reached, there was little need for a lengthy denouement.

Anne and Wentworth are reunited. The 'lost love' has been found. What more is there to say?

As has been noted, we can infer what their married life was like by looking at the Crofts. This is artistic strength, economy, a sense of just the right amount, not weakness.

(Just another perspective..)


message 7: by Gem , Moderator (new)

Gem  Paullin | 747 comments Mod
Abigail wrote: "Has anyone read the first version of the ending of this book? It contains a scene that has something in common with a scene from Sense and Sensibility. Would be interested to discuss if mods want t..."

Absolutely, feel free!


message 8: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Slater (yohanan) | 46 comments I thought I had mentioned the original ending earlier, but I probably was confused by memories of the discussion on the Amazon Book Forum last September.

I also think we came up with a list of editions which included the original draft of the final chapters (from the point where Anne has learned the truth about Mr. Eliott) -- but, if so, I can't reconstruct it from memory.

The only one I remembered right away is the Oxford World's Classics edition, which is currently quite inexpensive as a Kindle book. Persuasion (Which is, of course, the one I'm using, so I'm not likely to forget it....)

A quick check on-line has turned up the Norton Critical Edition, which is not available in Kindle (Amazon says otherwise, but has merged its listing of different editions). It is more expensive, and will take time to arrive, but should be worthwhile for Austen enthusiasts who plan to re-read Persuasion at some point in the future.

Both editions have interesting and helpful annotations. For those who have now read Persuasion, I will also recommend the Introductions -- quite typically, an analysis of the book, and how the plot works, becomes a web of spoilers.

The Norton Critical Edition (now in its second edition) also includes other supplementary readings, and (like the rest of the series) would make a good stand-alone textbook at the college level, especially if there is a limited availability of critical writings.


message 9: by Gem , Moderator (new)

Gem  Paullin | 747 comments Mod
Ian wrote: "I thought I had mentioned the original ending earlier, but I probably was confused by memories of the discussion on the Amazon Book Forum last September.

I also think we came up with a list of edi..."

Thank you for that information Ian!


message 10: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1869 comments Mod
I've never felt that Anne was too good, she seemed more as if she'd been crushed by her father and sister's neglect all these years-always made to feel the poor relation even within her own family. As this story continues and she is more in the company of the Musgroves and Crofts, who seem to appreciate her value more than her father an elder sister, she seems to come out of herself more.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 670 comments In a similar vein, I see it as a portrait of the process a woman goes through who has been trained always to submit and put others first, but is gradually learning how to develop self-determination without unnecessary defiance or hostility. I admire the grace with which Anne does this. The pressure to be second to all is so strong in a woman’s life, even today, and it’s hard to overcome those pressures.


message 12: by Sara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara | 14 comments It is Lady Russell who says Anne has been too much at home and Anne acknowledges that women find it harder to rebalance after a setback because they are kept at home etc. As with other novels, JA uses travel to expose characters to the audience and allow them the opportunity to reflect and develop themselves.
It is Anne's strength that has always impressed me with this novel, she is not just the central character of the story, she is ultimately the leader of her set; influencing almost everyone she touches to be or see better than they did.
The proposal letter is not just the conclusion of a romance. The letter is a statement of his failures and her mastery.


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