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Persuasion > Chapters 17-19

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 26, 2014 02:50PM) (new)

Mr. Elliot and Mrs. Smith


message 2: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Ch. 17 Wow! This description is such a revelation: (view spoiler)


message 3: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
In Ch. 7 Mary tells Anne that Captain Wentworth said she was "Altered beyond his knowledge!"

To which "Anne fully submitted, in silent, deep mortification." (view spoiler)


message 4: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Anne seems to have made up her mind about Mr. Elliot: (view spoiler)


message 5: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 48 comments Hana wrote: "In Ch. 7 Mary tells Anne that Captain Wentworth said she was "Altered beyond his knowledge!"

Oh yes, remember that line. This will signify later. Because (view spoiler)


message 6: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) (view spoiler)

I wasn't sure so I put my thoughts into spoiler brackets. :)


message 7: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 48 comments The English equivalent is (view spoiler)


message 8: by Hana (last edited Nov 05, 2014 01:34PM) (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Samanta, I really like your idea of how Anne developed her skill of reading characters. Some of that has to be one of those gifts one is born with, but, as you suggest, her difficult family situation must have been a factor as well. Her family--and even people that she's only recently met--all seem determined to thrust her into a role of mediator, peace-maker, the one who picks up all the pieces after the disaster strikes.

She handles all the complications and crises so much better than I would have that I'm quite in awe.


message 9: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) And so quietly and efficiently, because she knows that noone in her family (except Lady Russell) cares one bit about her....selfish and self-centered lot that they are (I don't sound flustered at all :D). Somewhere, in previous chapters' discussion there is a mention of Mansfield Park. Although, I like Anne much more than Fanny...I think they are quite in similar situations regarding the treatment they get from their families. I hope I did not spoil much for you Hana. :)


message 10: by Hana (last edited Nov 05, 2014 02:25PM) (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
I loathe Anne's family, so feel free to abuse them here!

I'm new to Jane Austen--you are ahead of me on Mansfield Park--but I'm horrified by the way Anne's family treats her. They are so totally self-centered.


message 11: by Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ (last edited Nov 05, 2014 02:48PM) (new)

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
Hana wrote: "They are so totally self-centered."

Yes, every single one of them, in slightly different ways. Do you think it's realistic to have one reasonable, kind, unselfish person in a family putting up with this type of awful behavior from every other person in the family? Discuss. ;)
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message 12: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
*snorts*


message 13: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) Please, don't get me started. If it were me I would have given them the taste of their own medicine. I am not as noble as Anne is. It would be something like the ending of Ever After with Drew Barrimore when she sent her stepmother and the evil b*** step sister to work as washing-women in the castle because that was what she had to do in her own home. :D :D


message 14: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) Tadiana wrote: "Hana wrote: "They are so totally self-centered."

Yes, every single one of them, in slightly different ways. Do you think it's realistic to have one reasonable, kind, unselfish person in a family p..."


LOL


message 15: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
A 'taste' of their own medicine would not be enough for this crew; a near lethal dose might be closer to what's needed but it doesn't seem to have helped Anne's father :(


message 16: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
I do think it's reasonable to have one kind person in an otherwise useless family but it's not always a good thing. In American popular psychology this aspect of family dynamics has been enshrined as 'co-dependency'--a term first used as a way to describe family members who help addicts maintain their addictions (with money, bailing them out of jail, etc).

I don't think that Anne is doing that at all. She's tough when the moment calls for it, but sometimes there is only so much a sane person can do.

Anne's mother seems to have been a normal sort of person, and Lady Russell has been a generally good influence--with some notable exceptions!


message 17: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 48 comments Samanta wrote: "Please, don't get me started. If it were me I would have given them the taste of their own medicine."

It's not like she's in a position to do that. Financially if nothing else.


message 18: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Samanta wrote: "And so quietly and efficiently, because she knows that noone in her family (except Lady Russell) cares one bit about her..." This is the saddest thing about Anne's life.


message 19: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) Tadiana wrote, Yes, every single one of them, in slightly different ways. Do you think it's realistic to have one reasonable, kind, unselfish person in a family putting up with this type of awful behavior from every other person in the family? Discuss. ;)

Yes, I agree with Hana in thinking that it’s realistic. If a person survives emotionally being the rejected person in a family group, he or she will often self-define in conscious opposition to the predominant traits of the others—or else will slavishly serve them in the hope of being eventually noticed and appreciated (as she said, the codependency reaction).

That said, on this reading I am finding a lot of things that do not seem plausible to me and are interfering with my enjoyment of the story. All of Jane Austen’s novels have more coincidences than would be seen as realistic to a modern reader—Willoughby’s house being so close to the Palmers’ in S&S, Lady Catherine being so closely related to Darcy and also Mr. Collins’s patroness in P&P, etc. But the whole thing about Mrs. Smith being so intimately acquainted with Mr. Elliot, even keeping just the right letter—too much! Even Jane Austen seems to feel that it’s a stretch, as she makes some defensive justifications about it. Maybe it’s something she would have adjusted in revisions, though her proceeding into Sanditon implies that she would not.


message 20: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Good point on the coincidences, but I don't think Jane Austen is anywhere near as bad about that as Charles Dickens!


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
Chapter 17--This from Sir Walter:

"Westgate Buildings!" said he, "and who is Miss Anne Elliot to be visiting in Westgate Buildings? A Mrs Smith. A widow Mrs Smith; and who was her husband? One of five thousand Mr Smiths whose names are to be met with everywhere. And what is her attraction? That she is old and sickly. Upon my word, Miss Anne Elliot, you have the most extraordinary taste! Everything that revolts other people, low company, paltry rooms, foul air, disgusting associations are inviting to you. But surely you may put off this old lady till to-morrow: she is not so near her end, I presume, but that she may hope to see another day. What is her age? Forty?"

You know, it's really impossible to have any respect at all for Sir Walter. He's not just shallow, but disrespectful and unfeeling to all those he sees as beneath him.


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
Niko helping me with my reading of Persuasion:

description

The ribbon bookmark is a source of endless amusement.


message 23: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Hooray! You're at Ch. 17!! :)))

His comments on Mrs. Smith were a major low-point. so was the way he and Elizabeth chased after Lady Dalrymple, and the part in Ch. 18 (view spoiler)


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
I just hit Chapter 18 but now I have to go be a good worker bee for a few hours. :)


message 25: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) Loving Niko!


message 26: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Niko of the 'speaking' blue eyes! ;)


message 27: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Chapter 18 one budding romance takes a very surprising turn! Ch. 18 also gives us some different views on why people marry and what makes for happy marriages.

Anne clearly views Admiral and Mrs. Croft's marriage as her ideal: "Knowing their feelings as she did, it was a most attractive picture of happiness to her. She always watched them as long as she could, delighted to fancy she understood what they might be talking of, as they walked along in happy independence, or equally delighted to see the Admiral's hearty shake of the hand when he encountered an old friend, and observe their eagerness of conversation when occasionally forming into a little knot of the navy, Mrs Croft looking as intelligent and keen as any of the officers around her."


message 28: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
But then, what to think of the big news in Chapter 18? As the Admiral puts it, (view spoiler)!

I love all of Anne's musings on this news, not only as it affects herself, but as an essay on other types of marriages that might not be as ideal as the Crofts' but could well turn out to be happy.


message 29: by Hana (last edited Nov 07, 2014 09:22AM) (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Re: Our conversation in the Chapter 8-10 thread. How altered was Anne and in what way?

In Chapter 17 as we see her through Miss Hamilton's eyes, and earlier in the encounter with Mr. Elliot in Lyme we are given solid information about Anne's real appearance. According to Miss Hamilton: (view spoiler)

So what did Captain Wentworth mean with his devastating comment to Mary? We have to consider that this is Mary who is relating the conversation; self-absorbed Mary who never misses an opportunity to knock her sister down a few pegs!

Here's what Mary actually said about the conversation with CW: "Captain Wentworth is not very gallant by you, Anne, though he was was so attentive to me. [*b----!*] Henrietta asked him what he thought of you, when they [the other guests] went away; and he said, 'You were so altered he should not have known you again.'" Mary says no more than this.

It's Anne, led on by Mary's 'not very gallant' comment, who interprets this as meaning that she's aged terribly. But what if that's exactly the opposite of how Captain Wentworth meant his comment--what if he really saw just what Miss Hamilton did?


message 30: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 48 comments Err -- note that Miss Hamilton knew her in school, and Captain Wentworth after, so there would have been some change there, probably.


message 31: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments I'm guessing, too, that Anne was so fearful of drawing attention to herself at that first meeting that she completely withdrew. I'm sure her face had no animation whatsoever and may indeed have looked tired and strained. And, don't forget, she'd been living with Mary for a bit. That'd be enough to make anyone look exhausted!


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
Karlyne wrote: "I'm guessing, too, that Anne was so fearful of drawing attention to herself at that first meeting that she completely withdrew. I'm sure her face had no animation whatsoever and may indeed have loo..."

Plus the stress of meeting Wentworth again after all these years was, I think, incalculable. Not only was Anne not looking her best when he saw her again after all those years, she was probably pretty much looking her worst. Just thinking of myself, and how awful I can look when I'm stressed and haven't taken the time to fix myself up to look nice.

Chapter 19: (view spoiler)

I love it! The winds have shifted.


message 33: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Okay! You all have me convinced on Anne's looks! Tadiana, that was such an amazing moment in Ch. 19--I loved the crack in self-control. Very telling. So interesting.


message 34: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 48 comments Of course, in Chapter 19, there is another factor, perhaps not yet clear to Anne, to make Captain Wentworth ill-at-ease in Anne's presence.

(view spoiler)


message 35: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 69 comments On the subject of Anne's looks- she blossomed in Lyme. She got her looks back and she started to become less timid. I think the admiration of Mr. Elliot in Lyme did a lot for her self-esteem and then there's Wentworth's reaction to her keeping a cool head in a crisis. She's feeling good about herself and it's reflected in her looks. I also think Wentworth may have been unkind in the first place because he was hurt she rejected him.

Some notations in case you don't know:
The Hot Bath and Cross Bath (still in operation) located in the southwestern part of town are near Mrs. Smith's lodgings. Westgate buildings (now family-oriented shops and restaurants) was immediately to the west - far down the hill from Camden Place and much lower down the social scale. It was several blocks from the fashionable center of the town and in close proximity to some of Bath's shady areas.

The baths provided little accommodation for undressing and dressing, individuals had to leave nearby. From her lodgings, Mrs. Smith is conveyed by an invalid chair. It looks like an upright coffin on wheels with a bump in front to accommodate arthritic knees. Unfortunately the Royal Mineral Water Hospital would not let me take a picture of the one on exhibit.

Lady Russell is willing to escort Anne to Westgate Buildings "reveals the central paradox of her character. Her deference to rank makes her imperceptive and unhelpful on several occasions, yet she enters into Anne's sentiments concerning the poverty and isolation of Mrs. Smith." (Robert Morrison, 205).

I think Lady Russell approves of charity. The editor goes on to say that "as a man of wealth and property, Sir Walter is supposed to take a paternalistic interest in disadvantaged and impoverished people such as Mrs. Smith, His scornful response to her plight illuminates how out of touch he is with his social duties, and why Anne's generosity and concern make her both a more fitting representative of the landed gentry and a woman who identifies strongly with the self-reliance, courage and sense of duty that she sees exemplified in the men and women of the navy."

I'm not sure I agree with the last statement. The editor discusses how scholars speculate that Austen was turning towards Evangelism later in life and I think Lady Russell shows that sense of Christian charity, whereas Anne is doing the right thing by someone who was kind to her when she needed a friend. She's returning the favor.

I like how Anne is becoming firm in her convictions. Not only is she going to visit her friend, she declares that she and Mr. Elliot should not suit. She knows they're not the right match, not even if she weren't still in love with Wentworth. Though her vanity is flattered by his attentions, she just doesn't fully trust him enough to open her heart.

Ch. 18
(view spoiler) I don't see that one AT all.
Sir Walter's behavior with Lady Dalrymple is the worst sort of toad eating and exactly what Jane deplored about Bath. They say she hated living there and that's one of the reasons why. So many people were superficial and shallow like the Elliots. Elizabeth is downright RUDE in her feelings about the Crofts (for now). She's almost worse than her father.

Anne is walking all over Bath - up steep hill and down. The editor says this means her vitality is returning.

ch. 19
Another painful reunion with Wentworth - he wants to rescue her again. He's always thinking of her health. His attitude towards her is different now.

Eliz. is horrid not to acknowledge Wentworth.

There's a weird head jump when the gossips are discussing Anne and her cousin's relationship and Wentworth is obviously listening.

question from the editor: (view spoiler)

Annotations:
The Assembly Rooms allowed all types entrance hence not fashionable enough for Sir Walter.


message 36: by Marquise (new)

Marquise | 38 comments Well . . . That romance between Louisa and Benwick was a surprise, felt a bit out of nowhere too. But it may also be an effect of not having a POV in Lyme to convey how this came to happen; when we find out from Mary's letter, it has happened already, and when we hear a bit more from the Admiral, they're close to marrying. And also, goes with Louisa's rather impulsive character.

Still, I can't help but feel it a tad sudden and convenient too. Anne's relief at having Wentworth now free and up for grabs, so to speak, do contribute to the impression.

The Bath chapters were on the whole the lowest point in the book for me, seeing more of Anne's fool of a father and her sister toadying to higher-ranking nobility whilst at the same time looking down their noses at others, including Frederick when he comes. I think Elizabeth refused to acknowledge the Captain for the same reason Sir Walter made those pompous comments on the Crofts: that due to "their positioning" with the Dalrymples, they must now avoid the company of people that might "embarrass" the Viscountess and her daughter.

I think I wasn't far off in guessing Lady Russell's attitude towards Anne's suitors had softened due to wanting to see the beloved girl married and happy. Indeed, she does want that, and that drives her to counsel the company of Mr Elliott despite Anne's evasive. But Lady Russell still is very much mindful of social status, to judge by her lecturing Anne on being the future Lady Elliott of Kellynch and her somewhat dismissal of her statement that there's no feelings of that sort between them. I think Anne is showing a bit more of a passive rebelliousness now, and is less willing to let go of feelings in favour of making a proper match from a social standpoint.


message 37: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Marquise wrote: "Well . . . That romance between Louisa and Benwick was a surprise, felt a bit out of nowhere too. But it may also be an effect of not having a POV in Lyme to convey how this came to happen; when we..."

Yes, Sir Walter and Elizabeth just don't improve upon acquaintance. They start out odious, and they just stay odious.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 70 comments Isn't Lady Dalrymple's title an Irish one?

If it is, I can't see Her Ladyship being toadied up to in the London haut ton. Perhaps toadied up to in Bath, but not in London high society.

Marquise, I think you are right about Anne thinking for herself and going with her own instincts counter to Lady Russell's views.

I think that this shows a maturity and a confidence that is quite normal to have been scarce in Anne at the tender age of 19.

Sir Walter and Elizabeth are still obnoxious.

I can't trust Lady Russell's opinion since she doesn't seem to see how ridiculous Sir Walter is.


message 39: by Karlyne (last edited Oct 23, 2015 06:46AM) (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Yes, in spite of Lady Russell's knowledge of what he is, she still thinks he has enough wit that people ought to respect his opinion. Or maybe she just thinks that they ought to respect his title?


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 70 comments I refuse to believe that she thinks his opinion should be respected.

It has to be his title that she thinks make him worthy of respect.


message 41: by Marquise (last edited Oct 23, 2015 07:55AM) (new)

Marquise | 38 comments Speaking of title-based respectability, what I've noticed both in Austen novels and others is that the lower nobility and country gentry are usually the ones more mindful of rank and precedence, often in a very petty manner, whereas those in the upper rungs of the aristocratic ladder aren't so. I suppose that the degree of privilege that comes with rank has to do with this, because low nobility/gentry can be made or unmade socially for one faux pas, one public embarrassment, one "bad apple" connection, etc., and have to be generally more careful around people that are above them in the same way a sergeant and a ship first mate have to be more mindful of a Colonel or an Admiral in ways that civilians wouldn't: they are their superiors and much can depend on them. On the other hand, a Duke, a Marquess or an Earl can afford to commit more social indiscretions and eccentricities without too much consequences because their title allows for it, as their old line won't end in disgrace for this or that trifle. It would have to be really stupid for the high-ranking noble to be socially ostracised, and even in that cases, the ostracism is often just personal.


message 42: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Marquise wrote: "Speaking of title-based respectability, what I've noticed both in Austen novels and others is that the lower nobility and country gentry are usually the ones more mindful of rank and precedence, of..."

Good point! The higher you are in the pecking order the less you get pecked.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 70 comments I like the way you put that Karlyne!


message 44: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 69 comments Marquise you keep bringing up things I never even thought of, not even when I read the book in college for a class. It makes sense that Lady Dalrymple is in Bath and not London if she has an Irish title. Jane Austen was making a point that Bath society was superficial and pretentious. It's what she hated most about Bath. In Northanger Abbey you see Catherine's (and Jane's) wide-eyed excitement about being in the city and all the excitement that brings. By the time Persuasion takes place, the culture of Bath had changed and the Austen family fortunes have changed. Dear Jane knew what she was writing about from first hand experiences. People went to Bath to see and be seen but only people like Sir Walter and Lady Dalrymple who are small fish in a large pond like London but in Bath they are large fish in a small pond. Everyone in Bath will toady to Lady Dalrymple because she has a title and enough money to rent a whole house in Laura Place. (I tried to find it but the houses have been divided into smaller units so I couldn't tell what a whole house would have been. I'll share my photos again when you're all done reading).


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 70 comments I don't think Lady Dalrymple would have counted for much in London.

I guess people came to see and be seen in Bath because they couldn't cut it in town.


message 46: by Marquise (new)

Marquise | 38 comments QNPoohBear wrote: "Marquise you keep bringing up things I never even thought of, not even when I read the book in college for a class. It makes sense that Lady Dalrymple is in Bath and not London if she has an Irish ..."

Thanks, QNPB! I'd love to see those photos very much, not having been to Bath ever in my life.


message 47: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Last night I kept thinking about big frogs in little ponds, and this morning here are your references!


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