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Discussion - Persuasion 2010 > The Novel - The Second Part

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message 1: by Megan (new)

Megan Chapters 7-12 of my edition which includes:

Captain Wentworth arrives at Kellynch; Mary's son breaks his collarbone and Anne takes care of him so Mary can go to the dinner party to meet Cpt. W; Anne and Cpt. W meet again and are soon moving in the same social circle; the long walk to the Hayters, the trip to Lyme, the introduction of William Elliot; and Louisa's fall off the Cobb.

Discuss!


message 2: by Penny (new)

Penny | 25 comments Megan, I still have taken part on the discussion, so I must ask, Is everyone re-reading?

One of my favorite parts of the book takes place in this part of the book. :)


message 3: by Robin (last edited Sep 05, 2010 01:04PM) (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) i haven't read the first part yet. am i forever late to the party! I will try to catch up.


message 4: by Penny (new)

Penny | 25 comments Robin wrote: "i haven't read the first part yet. am i forever late to the party! I will try to catch up."

That makes two of us. :P


message 5: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) maybe we have to speed read to catch up with the others. I think I still have my copy.


message 6: by Megan (last edited Sep 05, 2010 02:42PM) (new)

Megan Robin wrote: "maybe we have to speed read to catch up with the others. I think I still have my copy."

You don't have to speed read! Some folks are further along and I just posted this part if they want to talk. My suggestion is don't read this part until you've read that part of the book - we will still be here!


message 7: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) okay:)


message 8: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum One of my favorite passages is right before this second part begins, where the pitiless Miss Austen discusses the Musgrove's deceased son and brother. "...the Musgroves had had the ill fortune of a very troublesome, hopeless son, and the good fortune to lose him before he reached his twentieth year.." This is a very funny passage, especially as the remaining family keeps trying to wrap up "poor Richard" in clean linen and conveniently forgets the actual truth about him. No one could ever factually accuse Jane Austen of being sentimental or mawkish; she called it like she saw it!


message 9: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I haven't got my book yet, it is still Monday and it is a holiday here.


message 10: by Megan (new)

Megan Karlyne wrote: "One of my favorite passages is right before this second part begins, where the pitiless Miss Austen discusses the Musgrove's deceased son and brother. "...the Musgroves had had the ill fortune of a..."

I also like how the Musgroves praise Cpt. W for turning Richard into such a "correspondent" - which was something Cpt. W ordered/forced Richard to do! More "clean linen" as Karlyne says!


message 11: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
On the Musgroves and the poor son Richard, I also like that here we begin to see Frederick's character displayed to us. He patiently and kindly talks to Mrs. M about the son we all know would have been so troublesome. And Anne is still able to recognize what Wentworth is doing so quickly. So we really do see how connected the couple must have been in that first time they were together.

Why do I not think Austen's novels are mainly about romance and marriage? Because of scenes like these, that subtly just show us human beings more than anything. For example, Austen doesn't try to set up men as heroes. Here she just shows us what a decent guy Wentworth is, and that he is an ordinary man who is likeable because he knows how to respond to people. But throughout the book, we also see his faults of pride and resentment against Anne from the past, just like many any other humans would have too.

In ways, Persuasion is a very quiet book, but it is in the really quiet parts that so much is found.


message 12: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Exactly, Sarah! One of the reasons that I love Frank Capra movies is because of the "side" characters, the ones that supposedly don't advance the plot. But it is in the idiosyncracies of the everyday human that life is its most enjoyable and most understandable. And we see the main characters' inner workings by seeing how they treat and how they are treated by others. Those "quiet parts" really do advance our understanding of their characters.


message 13: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Ditto Karlyne :)


message 14: by Rachel, The Honorable Miss Moderator (new)

Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 674 comments Mod
I absolutely agree as well. Austen always provides a wonderful romance to enjoy but we also know we will be treated to universal human traits, usually humorously presented. "Poor" Richard Musgrove seems like the proverbial example of, "There's one in every family."


message 15: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I agree Rachel. Thanks for your input!


message 16: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I enjoy how the Musgroves are so lovely about Poor Richard. They really are nice people; maybe not especially bright and witty but definitely well-meaning and... nice.


message 17: by Megan (new)

Megan Rachel wrote: "I absolutely agree as well. Austen always provides a wonderful romance to enjoy but we also know we will be treated to universal human traits, usually humorously presented. "Poor" Richard Musgrove ..."

Well stated Rachel. I do believe there is one in every family - just ask anyone. Most folks love to tell you about "that one!" ;-)


message 18: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Hmmm. Just one?


message 19: by Rachel, The Honorable Miss Moderator (new)

Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 674 comments Mod
Karlyne wrote: "Hmmm. Just one?"

HAHA! You're right, Karlyne--some families do get more than their fair share!


message 20: by Birdie (new)

Birdie | 24 comments It's in this second part that I really feel for Anne and what she has to endure in seeing Captain Wentworth again; and the Musgrove girls getting giddy over him and he responding to them. Poor Anne! But what strength of character.


message 21: by Leshawn (last edited Sep 09, 2010 10:28AM) (new)

Leshawn | 25 comments I agree Birdie! Anne's strength is one of the best things about "Persuasion". She realizes that she made an error in declining to accept Wentworth's marriage proposal but she never harbors resentment towards Lady Russell. She also seems to have a genuine hope that Wentworth will be happy and settled. That is proof of how very good her character is!
I emulate Anne in romantic entanglements that go astray and try to hope for the best for the once Beloved.(Unfortunately, I often fail in that attempt. Still Anne shines in my mind's eye as a great role model!)


message 22: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum It's funny, too, but I get the feeling that Anne is almost, at first, glad that the Musgrove girls are around to take the focus off of herself, so that she can be more composed when meeting Wentworth. But it doesn't last, thank goodness! For those of us who are rooting for Anne, we're glad to see her start to re-bloom and develop more self-confidence and even a bit of assertiveness!


message 23: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
I think Austen really portrayed the Musgrove sisters as non-threatening too. They are young, happy, innocent, and fully admit that the handsome, impressive Wentworth has totally turned their heads. They aren't scheming at all and they admit their admiration for Anne. I think there is something to this. Maybe Austen didn't want to add real rivals into the plot but as Karlyne pointed out -- distractions -- and definitely an obstacle as we'll see in part 3. Clever, that Austen woman!


message 24: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
One thing that fascinates me with this novel and really begins in this section of our discussion is the way Anne and Wentworth are so cautious and are so carefully reading each other. In ways we wouldn't likely find ourselves in this kind of setting as they did. Among friendly friends and family settings and given the chance to observe each other and I think they were both trying to find their way back to something. At this point, Anne believes Wentworth has truly given her up -- why would he have not returned when he had begun to see success in the Navy? But she wants something, some connection that shows they still have a heart for each other in some small way.

So soon in this novel, Chap. 7, he explains himself regarding the past with Anne. He "had never seen a woman since whom he thought her equal" but he had no desire to meet her again. On marriage, by this point in his life, he had "thought on the subject more than most men."

We don't know what will happen as the plot progresses, but we get to see exactly how it stands with these two as the story kicks off. From thereafter, on every page I wonder how these two will deal with each other. He quietly asks questions about Anne "does Miss Elliott never dance?" He wants to learn about her and her habits. Will she be dancing with other men? They both have to operate under social propriety too, along with their buried feelings.


message 25: by Birdie (new)

Birdie | 24 comments I had wondered and Sarah's comments about the connection Anne yearns for with Wentworth and his not having found a woman of her equal, brought it back to mind - did Wentworth know, (he must have known!) that there would be a chance, even a slim one, that he had a good chance of running into Anne knowing that his sister is renting Kellynch. He must have heard soon after arriving through the extensive country grapevine that she's still in the neighborhood. He doesn't go out of his way to avoid her. He might have been curious about a woman who held so high a place in his memory in spite of the hurt given him and curius to know if she had deserved that place.

And isn't the rental of Kellynch and his ability to move freely and openly on the estate and in society there a vindication of sorts, from Jane Austen's viewpoint, of the snub he received when Anne rejected him at Lady Russell's urging? He is now officially a gentleman, even more, a hero having been to war. He is in a sense returning in triumph. I don't think his motives are vindictive, but perhaps at the very least, they are curious towards Anne. I guess my whole point is is that he wants to meet her again, and maybe, doesn't even admit it to himself. Jane Austen is so much about what you don't say and don't show, I can only speculate. :)


message 26: by Kim (last edited Sep 10, 2010 08:13AM) (new)

Kim | 181 comments I agree with Birdie in saying Wentworth was curious about her.

We also know that he had never told The Croft's about his engagement to Anne, so maybe he accepted their invitation to Kellynch so that he wouldn't have to reveal his past? I'm guessing that being rejected was a blow to his pride and not something he would have shared lightly.


message 27: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) One of the things I really liked and admired about Anne is that she is actually very clear thinking, and not in the slightest hysterical! For example, she surmises quite accurately that Captain Wentworth, while enjoying the attention of the Musgrove sisters is not genuinely attached to either one. A less level headed woman would I think be jealous and hurt, not really capable of making such a reasonable observation.

She demonstrates this clarity of thought again towards the end of this section, when she handles Caroline Musgroves fall with calm authority whilst other flap about!


message 28: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Yes, Birdie and Kim, I think the things you mentioned really add to the emotion, the setting and the behind-the-scenes (all that is not said, Birdie! I agree). Wentworth fits easily into the society in the villages there, as he would have before if not for class consciousness.

I also wonder if he had ever kept up to date by his brother who had been a curate there? I wonder if there had ever been "updates" on the family. And did he and the Crofts have any clue that the Elliot fortune had dwindled so? Maybe they suspected by the leasing of the Elliot estate.

That is interesting, Kim, that both Anne and Frederick had kept this piece of their past so close to heart and had not spoken of it, that we know of.


message 29: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) I feel quite sure, he was extremely curious to see Anne again and isn't there a little part of all of us that would like to "accidently" bump into the one that got away, just as we're looking absolutely georgeous or have become successful?


message 30: by Kim (last edited Sep 10, 2010 08:56AM) (new)

Kim | 181 comments Sarah as I said in my other post I think that Wentworth didn't tell anyone because of a pride thing.

For Anne though I have 3 theories.

1) Nobody could find out to save her reputation maybe? I don't know how it was looked upon to be engaged once and not go through with the marriage.

2) Maybe she was embarrassed that she was "naive" to think that the marriage would work. (She would think herself naive because of the reasons she was told the marriage wouldn't work)

or 3) She was so heartbroken she didn't want anyone to know because she knows her family will have no sympathy for her? She'd rather deal with the heartbreak personally and keep it something private for herself.


message 31: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Yes, Kim I agree about Wentworth's keeping it secret. It was such a blow to him --his pride still hadn't recovered -- we learn more later, right.

And I love your theories! All three could be Anne's reasoning, IMO. I am really with # 2 & 3. We believe Anne second-guessed her abilities for a while, didn't she? And who would listen in her crazy family?

And #1, Austen herself had lived through a broken engagement and maybe knew how people do talk!

Great discussion you folks :)


message 32: by Kim (new)

Kim | 181 comments Very true about Austen herself. She maybe felt something personal for Anne and wanted to keep her scandal free!


message 33: by Rachel, The Honorable Miss Moderator (new)

Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 674 comments Mod
All this about the feelings of Anne and Wentworth on keeping quiet about their first engagement is extremely interesting to me--I wish Austen had included more details about that time!

A couple other things I want to mention:

Louisa's fall off the Cobb is I think a brilliant example of exciting plotting, character development, and exploration of theme all at once. It shows what good people Anne and Wentworth are, I never dislike Mary so much as when she insists on taking Anne's place to stay with Louisa, and it shows that maybe it's not a bad thing to be influenced by other people. Also, it provides long-lasting plot repercussions by bringing together Louisa and Benwick.

We also get our first glimpse of Mr. Elliot here. We have heard of him before but Anne first sees him here, and then they all find out who he is on the next page. Needless to say, another event with major plot importance!


message 34: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I think, too, that Captain Wentworth had been busy, much more physically occupied than Anne had been. She had more time to think back. I doubt that many hours passed where she did not think of him -- probably fondly and regretfully and wondering where he was and how he was. He, when he had the time to think of her, probably felt more resentful and less inclined to fond memories than she. I'm sure the memory of her rejection rankled, so it wasn't something he dwelt upon!
And, again, who could Anne confide in? Lady Russell had already made her feelings very clear, Anne's father and sisters were uncaring, and her school friends were far away. She really had no one!
As far as Wentworth goes, what man who's just had his pride hurt terribly by the fiancee who doesn't believe in him, is going to tell anyone? If someone asked, I'm sure he'd have given a truthful answer, but Anne and Frederick had very few mutual friends who would have been likely to ask.
So, the broken engagement was likely a secret one because there just weren't enough people involved who cared about it and because there were very few people who even knew about the engagement to begin with!


message 35: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Oh, boy, Mr. Elliot coming up! Is he a villain along the likes of Willoughby or more like a Frank Churchill?


message 36: by Birdie (last edited Sep 10, 2010 01:45PM) (new)

Birdie | 24 comments It's sad but true, Karlyne, the way you describe it, where everybody wanted to forget the engagement for different reasons.


message 37: by Megan (new)

Megan Rachel wrote: "All this about the feelings of Anne and Wentworth on keeping quiet about their first engagement is extremely interesting to me--I wish Austen had included more details about that time!

A couple ot..."


Exactly Rachel.

And another reason to get very tired of Mary - she has no desire to take care of Louisa - she just wants to be the chosen one instead of Anne. Again, she is more concerned with her "place" and the proper recognition of her "status" than what Louisa might actually need or what she (Mary) might be capable of doing to help.


message 38: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Megan, your "getting tired" of Mary is exactly the right description: she's tiresome! She never thinks of anyone but herself. She never puts herself in another's place. She wants her own way all of the time; in fact, she thinks she deserves it!
(I can see myself being cornered by Mary and my eyes slowly glazing over while I strive to be polite, all the while searching for some other hapless soul to hand her over to.)


message 39: by Shayne (last edited Sep 10, 2010 03:39PM) (new)

Shayne | 49 comments Rachel wrote: "I never dislike Mary so much as when she insists on taking Anne's place to stay with Louisa"

Yes, I agree that's a low point. This is the very same Mary who left her injured little boy in Anne's care so that she could have an evening out! This determined claiming of her "place" is an echo of her insistence on taking precedence over her mother-in-law when they're in company. The "Elliot pride" indeed!


message 40: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I hope we haven't worked this thought to death, but I was just thinking that Elizabeth and Jane Bennet had each other, Emma had a loving dad and sister and friends, Marianne and Elinor had each other and an affectionate mother, Catherine Morland had a large loving family and friends, and even Fanny had her adored brother (and Edmund). But poor Anne really had no one, and her strength of character was so great that she never even felt, "poor me". What a lovely woman!


message 41: by Shayne (new)

Shayne | 49 comments Karlyne wrote: "Oh, boy, Mr. Elliot coming up! Is he a villain along the likes of Willoughby or more like a Frank Churchill?"

A villain through and through. :-)


message 42: by Robin (new)

Robin (robin1129) | 306 comments Karlyne wrote: "... her strength of character was so great that she never even felt, "poor me". "

Anne must have felt sorry for herself at some point, don't you think? Maybe her strength of character is more because she wouldn't allow her mind to dwell on that aspect.


message 43: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I think she felt sadness and I suppose that could be a form of self-pity; but you're right, Robin, in that she wouldn't let herself stay down in the dumps and that does take great strength of character.


message 44: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) Not only does she not indulge on excess self pity but also, she does not indulge in blame. To not become bitter at the hurt caused as a result of the persuasion she was subject to is very generous in my view. She accepts that the advise was given with good intentions, this I think helps her to not become resentful.


message 45: by Amalie (new)

Amalie Rachel wrote: "All this about the feelings of Anne and Wentworth... A couple other things I want to mention:

Louisa's fall off the Cobb is I think a brilliant example of exciting plotting, character development, and exploration of theme all at once..."


I agree with you 100%. It is one of the most exciting events in all the work of Austen's. It can be safely called I guess on of the climaxes since many changes in characters and events take a new turn due to this.

I don't want to sound cruel but Louisa's fall off the Cobb is my favourite episode of this novel. It gives Wentworth the opportunity to realise that only the firmness of mind in a woman will not do but moderation or self control is necessary as well. That there must be a balance between practicality and passion which Anne possesses.


message 46: by Kim (new)

Kim | 181 comments Does anyone else believe that Anne puts up with her family (specifically Mary) as sort of a penance for breaking Wentworth's heart?


message 47: by Robin (new)

Robin (robin1129) | 306 comments No. Not as penance.

I think she puts up with them because she realizes that by not marrying Wentworth (or possibly anybody else) she will have to live with them for the rest of her life, so she tries to create as good a situation as she can.


message 48: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I agree, Robin. Without a husband and children of her own, or independent means, she's stuck with them! When she's in Lyme and meets the people who could have been her friends for all those years, her wistfulness is evident. Instead, she's been stuck dancing attendance on Mary, Elizabeth, and their father -- and she does it with the best of her ability, which is considerable!


message 49: by Megan (new)

Megan Robin wrote: "No. Not as penance.

I think she puts up with them because she realizes that by not marrying Wentworth (or possibly anybody else) she will have to live with them for the rest of her life, so she..."


I agree Robin. I think she is just trying to make the best of her lot and still somehow be as true to herself as she can be given the circumstances.


message 50: by Susan (last edited Sep 11, 2010 10:16AM) (new)

Susan | 106 comments Karlyne wrote: "I think, too, that Captain Wentworth had been busy, much more physically occupied than Anne had been. She had more time to think back. I doubt that many hours passed where she did not think of him..."
Karlyne, this was a nice post. Just wanted to point out a quote showing Anne's feeling that I had recently pondered at the end of chapter 4:
"She was assisted, however, by that perfect indifference and apparent unconsciousness , among the only three of her own friends in the secret of the past, which seemed almost to deny any recollection of it. She could do justice to the superiority of Lady Russell's motives in this, over those of her father and Elizabeth; she could honour all the better feelings of her calmness but the general air of oblivion among them was highly important, from whatever it sprung..."
also:
"her own sister, Mary, had been at school while it had occurred - and never admitted by the pride of some, and the delicacy of others..."

I think the key words here are indifference, pride, and delicacy. Her father and sister are not willing to drop their pride in admitting that Anne had been courted at such a young age while Elizabeth remains unmarried. They remain indifferent to any knowledge of it so that attention is always placed away from Anne. Lady Russell, on he other hand, is the one who respects her feelings and does not want to bring up any pain from the past.

This "general air of oblivion" is key here, I think. It is almost like it never had happened. Even she admits to "deny the recollection of it". Will this have any effect on Anne's perception of Captain Wentworth when he does arrive? Will she herself question any past involvement with him, like a forgotten dream?


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