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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 27, 2014 08:23AM) (new)

Here's the place to discuss the book in its entirety, and any other thoughts relating to the book.


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
This is an interesting bit of analysis from the Jane Austen Society website page on Persuasion:

"In Persuasion Jane Austen contrasts three sets of characters, and questions which set is most fit to have leadership of the country in their hands. There are the people of high birth like the Elliots and Dalrymples, who live empty, useless lives, who are inhospitable and snobbish, and over-concerned with appearances. By losing Kellynch through his own extravagance, Sir Walter shows that local communities can no longer rely on the traditional landed gentry for leadership. They are becoming effete. Then there are the old-fashioned Musgroves, 'not much educated, and not at all elegant', but hospitable and unpretentious. This type is dying out, however - even their own children have 'more modern minds and manners'. Anne greatly prefers the Musgroves to her own relations, for their genuine warmth of heart, but they are not capable of leading the country into the modern age, and their children are lightweight. There is another set of people even more to Anne's taste: the naval families. Their vigour, bravery, friendliness and loyalty to one another she finds bewitching. "Only they know how to live", she believes. The novel ends with Anne glorying in being a sailor's wife, and with Jane Austen praising the profession for both its 'domestic virtues' and 'national importance'."

P.S. Just a reminder, in this Final Thoughts thread all spoilers are free game and you don't need to tag them as such, but if you don't tag them, please remember to uncheck the box below that says "Add to my Update Feed."


message 3: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Things come full circle in Chapter 23 with another conversation perhaps meant to be overheard. Fortunately for Anne, Captain Wentworth's hearing is much better than mine and he picks up on all her theorizing about love and constancy with Captain Haville ;)

But there is one more horrible moment when "He had passed out of the room without a look!"

Finally! "I can listen no longer in silence....You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope...." What a letter. Anne is entirely too decorous--run after him, woman, why are you sitting there like a slug?


message 4: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
I'm reading a wonderful essay on Bath addresses in Persuasion. When Anne and Captain Wentworth at long last meet, the direction they take on their walk together is an enormous detour that goes almost directly away from Anne's father's house. I'm looking forward to seeing that scene in the movies.

http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/prin...


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
Hana wrote: "Anne is entirely too decorous--run after him, woman, why are you sitting there like a slug?"

I just finished reading (and commenting on) Sherwood Smith's review of Persuasion. She makes a compelling argument that Anne is no better a heroine than Fanny, but we forgive Anne and love her more because, duh, she's got a way better love interest in Wentworth than Fanny does with the colorless Edmund, and the ending of Persuasion, where the main couple finally comes to an understanding, is just so much better done than Mansfield Park's ending. Whether you agree with Sherwood or not, her review is very interesting reading.


message 6: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
I'll definitely read it! I'm still processing my thoughts about this one.

I liked Anne very much, pitied her more, but really she is a bit slow off the mark. Wentworth also does not totally convince me: "when I returned to England in the year eight, with a few thousand pounds, and was posted into the Laconia, if I had then written to you, would you have answered my letter..." And she says "Would I!" he seems astonished.

Why didn't he write? He was too proud, but I'm not quite satisfied with that explanation--or at least it makes me think ill of him.


message 7: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments I think perhaps the conversation between Harville and Anne give a clue to his "thinking" (although I don't think he was deliberately thinking). He threw himself into his work and deliberately suppressed his feelings for Anne. Was he being rational? I think that's the whole point of his question and her "Would I!" She really is the more rational half of their relationship, and probably always will be!

And, you know, it's funny, but I never pity Anne. Her circumstances are stinky and, as she says later, she realizes that she hasn't one relation to bring to their marriage who is worth anything and that's sad, but, all along she has lived her life with integrity and been able to derive amusement from it, in seeing the characters with clear-sightedness and wit and humor. And, improvident though her father is, she knows that she can always command a home with Lady Russell. She'll never be thrown on the street!

I think that's the difference I see in Fanny and Anne. Fanny's future looks scary, and she is dependent, completely, on unsympathetic, cold characters. She has no friends. But, Anne does have, not only Lady Russell, but the Musgroves, too, who most certainly would not let her starve!


message 8: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Oh, and I also see Anne as not only rational, but also very much more intelligent than Fanny.


message 9: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) The LETTER! Oh my! It get's me every time.

I was just telling my ex-boyfriend yesterday about that letter and his inadequate reaction to my reading it to him a year ago and how it's one of the most beautiful letters a man has ever written to a woman. And then I remembered it was written by a woman. Of course it had to be.

Anyway, I love Anne's and Wentworth's story because it gives hope. It is fast becoming even more dear to me than P&P. The only problem is my cold-hearted self of this reading as opposed to my truly- romantic self from last year and before, that does not believe it can actually happen.

Feel free to convince me otherwise. :)


message 10: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Samanta wrote: "The LETTER! Oh my! It get's me every time.

I was just telling my ex-boyfriend yesterday about that letter and his inadequate reaction to my reading it to him a year ago and how it's one of the mos..."


Oh, dear, I'm trying to think of some romantic ever-afters in real life, Samanta. I'll get back to you on that one...

But, in the meantime, I've come to the conclusion that this book is seriously about advice. What do you all think about advice? When is it acceptable to give it? When to take it?


message 11: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) I think it depends on the person(s) involved. I don't think it is ok to force your opinion (in the form of an advice) to someone but if you are asked and you know what you are talking about, then why not give it. Also, when you are a person that is in need of an advice, listen to everything that people around you say but ultimately do what feels right by you.


message 12: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Samanta wrote: "I think it depends on the person(s) involved. I don't think it is ok to force your opinion (in the form of an advice) to someone but if you are asked and you know what you are talking about, then w..."

I'm coming to the conclusion that advice should not be given without being asked for first. Having said that, I guess I should put a life-and-death qualification in there. If you're sure that your best friend is marrying an ax-murderer, maybe you should give her advice...

And I know that when I do need advice, I don't hesitate to ask for it, and then weigh it seriously against my own thoughts. But I sure hate to have it forced on me!


message 13: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) If is a life of death situation...definitely. But Anne marrying Captain Wentworth was not one of those. Well, in this day and age it is not percieved as such. :D


message 14: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Samanta wrote: "If is a life of death situation...definitely. But Anne marrying Captain Wentworth was not one of those. Well, in this day and age it is not percieved as such. :D"

Exactly! Although I'm pretty certain that Capt. Wentworth was not an ax-murderer, marriage was very, very serious in those days, so maybe Lady Russell's advice wasn't as horrible as it seems to us...


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
I think the love story between Wentworth and Anne is very plausible, if a little too reliant on a coincidence or two. First love (which it was at least for Anne, and I think it somewhat likely that it was for Wentworth as well) is a very powerful emotion that can stick with you your whole life. And Wentworth spent a lot of time at sea and it doesn't sound like he had had any other serious relationships before or after Anne. Once he finally got over his anger and pride and the idea that a resolute mind is the be-all and end-all, and was exposed to Anne's sweetness and intelligence and capabilities again, I think it's pretty natural that they would end up together again.


message 16: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Oh, I just thought of another "advice" scene. Where Mrs. Musgrove and Mrs. Croft are discussing long engagements and how they both disapproved of them: how Anne must have enjoyed their conversation! Two people worthy of respect, one of them his own sister, I'm sure it must have felt like vindication to her, especially since she was sure that he was listening, too.


message 17: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Tadiana wrote: "I think the love story between Wentworth and Anne is very plausible, if a little too reliant on a coincidence or two. First love (which it was at least for Anne, and I think it somewhat likely that..."

I was thinking about the coincidences while reading it, Tadiana, because they've never bothered me. I think that because they did have such a limited society, I don't find them so hard to believe. It wasn't London society, high, middle or low, which (did you mention Dickens earlier?!) because we're talking of millions of people, is harder to swallow. I've had some weird coincidences of time and distance and acquaintance happen, too, but then again within a smaller sphere!


message 18: by Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ (last edited Nov 11, 2014 12:25PM) (new)

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
Karlyne wrote: "Samanta wrote: "If is a life of death situation...definitely. But Anne marrying Captain Wentworth was not one of those. Well, in this day and age it is not percieved as such. :D"

Exactly! Although..."


Someone mentioned Fanny's mother in another thread. There's a good example of the downside of marrying a poor person for love. And the risk of becoming a widow if you married a man in the English Navy had to be quite high, which also would have left Anne in a rough position.

Still, it does seem Anne could have told Capt. Wentworth, when they broke up 8 years ago, that they had to wait (for him to be more able to support a wife) rather than get married immediately, instead of breaking things off completely. I think if it had been handled right, Wentworth would have seen the wisdom in that and agreed. It actually seems a little odd to me, now that I think about it, that they broke up so (seemingly) irrevocably, instead of saying, well, let's wait a few more years. They were both young and in love. But then, of course, we would have no story. :)


message 19: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) Tadiana wrote: "I think the love story between Wentworth and Anne is very plausible, if a little too reliant on a coincidence or two. First love (which it was at least for Anne, and I think it somewhat likely that..."

I know that I'm contradicting myself, but I kind of believe that they really were meant for each other because being apart for so long and still loving someone must mean something. Especially since changes in character and person are inevitable. Lucky are those who find a life-long partner on first try.

After all, people may love each other inmensly and still not be right for one another.


message 20: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Tadiana wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "Samanta wrote: "If is a life of death situation...definitely. But Anne marrying Captain Wentworth was not one of those. Well, in this day and age it is not percieved as such. :D"

E..."


True! No story, Tadiana, would break my heart! But, was it just because Wentworth was so upset that Anne didn't trust him that even their acquaintanceship was broken off? I know that letters wouldn't have been seemly, but what about a passionate "Oh, you just wait and see, Lady Russell, what I will do in a very short time!" But there we go again: no story!


message 21: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 48 comments If Anne wanted to tell him to wait, she didn't have to tell him. By her own analysis of the situation, she would have waited until he was able.

At the end, remember, Wentworth asks her if she would have resumed the engagement if he had written to her after he was posted into the Laconia -- that is, after he had made headway into the money issue -- not whether they could have married them.


message 22: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) I think it was not just about the money. Lady Russell and the rest of the Elliots also considered Wentworth unworthy of AN Elliot because he was not a peer. I think that even with some money they would find something against him.

Of course, 8 and a half years later he has a reputation as well as money, so he is not to be taken lightly anymore.


message 23: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 48 comments You do realize that none of them are peers?


message 24: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) Yes. I have used a wrong term. Someone with some kind of title and land. Besides, wasn't it always a wish of families to marry their children to higher circles?


message 25: by Hana (new)

Hana | 78 comments Mod
Samanta wrote: "Anyway, I love Anne's and Wentworth's story because it gives hope....The only problem is my cold-hearted self of this reading as opposed to my truly- romantic self from last year and before, that does not believe it can actually happen...."

It actually does happen--just not that often. I have two woman friends, one who is 50 something and the other 60 when they met their husbands and both have absolutely genuine HEA marriages this second time around.


message 26: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) Then there's still hope for me :D


message 27: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Samanta wrote: "Then there's still hope for me :D"

There's always hope while there's breath! Actually, my best friend was married at 19, and they're still very happy, decades later. HEAs do happen, but we often don't see the commitment and sheer work that happen behind the scenes!


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
I met my husband-to-be when I was 24. We dated a little on and off (mostly off) but didn't get married until I was 33. Long story; mostly it was that I didn't feel a real love connection with him for several years, then BAM! Luckily he liked me well enough to give me a second chance when I asked him for it and told him my feelings had changed. Surprising things do happen sometimes.


message 29: by Samanta (last edited Nov 12, 2014 10:38AM) (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) Wow! Such great stories! :)


message 30: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments I am having such a hard time starting another book; I just don't want to let go of Persuasion yet. It happens every time! But, since it's snowing, I might be able to at least read a Christmas story or two...


message 31: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 69 comments Anne didn't agree to a long engagement and her feelings on the subject are shown when Mrs. Croft and Mrs. Musgrove are discussing Henrietta's engagement to Hayter. Plus at that time, a long engagement would be so uncertain. Jane's sister Cassandra agreed to a long engagement and her fiance died before they could be married. Would she have rather married him penniless and been happy in love? In hindsight she can say that just as Anne can say she should have married Frederick anyway.

I think this is very much Cassandra's story. From the little bits that the Austen biographers tell us about her, Cassandra, like Anne, fell in love with a penniless young man (clergyman) and he went off to be a chaplain in the West Indies, contracted Yellow Fever and died. We know that like Anne, Cass was the nurturing sister, always caring for her family. We also know she was romantic because she's the one who spread the story about Jane meeting someone possibly in Lyme, whom she liked very well and he died before he could visit. There's no evidence that actually happened. I think Persuasion is a what if? for Jane's beloved sister Cassandra.

I like Anne so much more than Fanny. I do feel bad for Fanny but she's so weak and timid. She doesn't take any action in her life. Anne may be weak at times and put on by her sisters but she is also strong and capable. Fanny wouldn't know what to do in a crisis. Fanny is also treated like an unpaid servant and doesn't have any choice. Anne helps out her sister because it's the only way her sister will stop whining and the kids will stop misbehaving.

Mansfield Park's Fanny: (view spoiler)

On my visit to Bath last year, I tried to walk in Jane Austen's footsteps as much as possible. It rained off and on and between jet lag and early mornings, I didn't have the energy. You can read about my walking tour on my Blog

or look at just the pictures that relate to Persuasion http://share.shutterfly.com/action/we...

I visited Camden Crescent but the house was built just after the period of Persuasion and the weather was gray and drizzly when I left. You can not see the Abbey next door the way you can in the 1995 movie. The Abbey is down the hill. You can stay in the house from the 1995 movie though. Or perhaps you'd like to join the Wallises in the Marlborough Bldgs.


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
Thanks for all your wonderful pictures and thoughts! They are much appreciated.


message 33: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Qnpoohbear wrote: "Anne didn't agree to a long engagement and her feelings on the subject are shown when Mrs. Croft and Mrs. Musgrove are discussing Henrietta's engagement to Hayter. Plus at that time, a long engagem..."

I loved the pictures, but was the doll a Jane Austen one?


message 34: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 48 comments Qnpoohbear wrote: "I like Anne so much more than Fanny. I do feel bad for Fanny but she's so weak and timid. She doesn't take any action in her life. Anne may be weak at times and put on by her sisters but she is also strong and capable. Fanny wouldn't know what to do in a crisis. "

Maybe Fanny could have risen to the task in time of crisis, but -- we never get a chance to see it. As C.S. Lewis put it about Fanny, "One of the most dangerous of literary ventures is the little, shy, unimportant heroine whom none of the other characters value. The danger is that your readers may agree with the other characters."


message 35: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Mary wrote: "Qnpoohbear wrote: "I like Anne so much more than Fanny. I do feel bad for Fanny but she's so weak and timid. She doesn't take any action in her life. Anne may be weak at times and put on by her sis..."

I'm a huge C.S. fan, but I've never heard that quote, Mary. I love it!


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
Mary wrote: "As C.S. Lewis put it about Fanny, "One of the most dangerous of literary ventures is the little, shy, unimportant heroine whom none of the other characters value. The danger is that your readers may agree with the other characters."

So true! The only time I want to read about this type of a character is when she (or he) undergoes some pretty drastic changes over the course of the book, and I don't think Fanny ever does. She does hold true to her principles and you do grow to appreciate her more by the end, but she's still a rather colorless main character. And when you combine that with a colorless hero, Edmund, well, there's a reason Mansfield Park is my least favorite Austen. I'd like to be convinced otherwise, though.

I also have my issues with Emma, but that's a whole different discussion!


message 37: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 69 comments Karlyne that's mini Jane Elizabeth Catherine Anne (formerly mini American Girl Rebecca), my traveling companion in England last year.


message 38: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 48 comments Karlyne wrote: "I'm a huge C.S. fan, but I've never heard that quote, Mary. I love it! "

Selected Literary Essays


message 39: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Qnpoohbear wrote: "Karlyne that's mini Jane Elizabeth Catherine Anne (formerly mini American Girl Rebecca), my traveling companion in England last year."

She looks like the perfect traveling companion. I'll bet she never lost her luggage or got sick or pulled you onto the wrong train!


message 40: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Tadiana wrote: "Mary wrote: "As C.S. Lewis put it about Fanny, "One of the most dangerous of literary ventures is the little, shy, unimportant heroine whom none of the other characters value. The danger is that yo..."

Well, Emma is almost detestable at the beginning of the novel, but she does grow!


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 108 comments Mod
Karlyne wrote: "Well, Emma is almost detestable at the beginning of the novel, but she does grow!"

Yes, detestable in a very different way! If I had to hang out with one of them for a month, Emma (as she is at the beginning of the book) would probably bug me even more. I have to hand it to Jane Austen, she didn't do cookie-cutter heroines. Or heroes, come to think of it.

Random useless question for discussion: which two Austen heroines are the most alike? I'm nominating Elinor (from S&S) and Anne. I think you could also make a good case for Marianne (S&S) and Catherine (NA). I'd have to think longer about the guys.


message 42: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments I've been doing a sort of slow, pick it up, put it down re-reading of Emma, and she's even worse, more snobbish, more manipulative than I remember. Whew! And, yet, due to Austen's genius, I end up quite loving her. I don't think she's like any other of the heroines, or even the minor characters.

But, I'll buy Elinor and Anne (and Jane in P&P), because they're intelligent, loving and able to hold their tongues! Marianne, for some strange reason, never strikes me as naive, as Catherine does. I think that Marianne is just carried away with her ideals, while I see Catherine as a wide-eyed ingenue who will believe anyone and anything. But, then again, by the end of NA, she's learned sense, too...


message 43: by QNPoohBear (last edited Nov 17, 2014 06:47PM) (new)

QNPoohBear | 69 comments Elinor and Anne. They're both worldly wise and have to look after their families. They're both practical and nurse secret heartache.

My mini Jane did get ink on her every day dress while writing with a giant quill pen and she lost one of her paper rivals somewhere in the Royal Crescent while watching the promenade. (She had her very own promenade gown a friend made for her). I don't like having my picture taken and I couldn't afford a costume anyway so I brought "mini Jane" in her costumes instead. She was supposed to meet her dearest creation, a friend's mini Elizabeth, but mini Elizabeth went missing. She may have eloped with friend's step-son's European G.I. Joe.


message 44: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 102 comments Qnpoohbear wrote: "Elinor and Anne. They're both worldly wise and have to look after their families. They're both practical and nurse secret heartache.

My mini Jane did get ink on her every day dress while writing w..."


Elizabeth and European G.I. Joe, now that's a match. It would be as though she ended up with Wickham, after all!


message 45: by Marquise (new)

Marquise So, having finished reading a couple of days ago and summed up my final thoughts for the review, I'd like to ask the lovely ladies who read along this time one question: how do you feel about Austen's couples? We can agree (I hope!) that she is great with characterising women of all sorts, sympathetic and irritating, and she's written some of the most swoon-worthy gentlemen in literature . . . but, do you think she's good with couples? And do you tend to like one a bit more than the other?


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