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Discussion - Persuasion 2010 > The Novel - The Third Part

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message 1: by Megan, Moderator & Ardent Janeite (new)

Megan | 724 comments Mod
Chapters 13-18 (in my edition):

Louisa remains in Lyme recovering; Anne stays with Lady Russell and together they call on the Crofts at Kellynch; Lady Russell and Anne go to Bath and Camden Place; Sir Walter and the gang are delighted with Bath and their place in society; William Elliot resurfaces after the death of his unacceptable wife; Lady Dalrymple arrives and Sir Walter repairs that estrangement also; Anne visits her school friend Mrs. Smith - a connection which horrifies Sir Walter; Anne becomes suspicious of William Elliot; and the Crofts arrive in Bath with the news that Louisa is engaged to Benwick!

Discuss!


message 2: by Helen (new)

Helen | 3 comments Finally we're here!

I am quite content to take in all of your insights without posting, but I am compelled to ask a question. At the end of Part III, as Anne is walking with Admiral Croft, he mentions that he finds Benwick "rather too piano." Every time I read this, my favorite Austen so somewhat frequently, I wonder what exactly he is saying. Was the pianoforte much better than the piano and thus the slight?

Many thanks for your thoughts....


message 3: by Shayne (new)

Shayne | 49 comments Helen, I think he means he'd prefer a little forte in the mix :-)

"Piano" as an adjective can be used for people as well as music, and in this context it means (according to the OED, which actually uses your quote as one of its examples) "understated, restrained. Sometimes also: subdued, reserved."


message 4: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) that's what I thought, also.


message 5: by Helen (new)

Helen | 3 comments Shayne wrote: "Helen, I think he means he'd prefer a little forte in the mix :-)

"Piano" as an adjective can be used for people as well as music, and in this context it means (according to the OED, which actual..."


Lovely, thanks so much,Shayne.


message 6: by Lani (last edited Sep 14, 2010 06:47AM) (new)

Lani (lani14) | 57 comments I actually smiled the first time I read the "piano" remark. It seemed to be Croft's way of calling Benwick a nerd.

I will be finishing the book on audio as I do my housework and errands. I hope to add more to the discussion.


message 7: by Rachel, The Honorable Miss Moderator (new)

Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 673 comments Mod
Seeing the plot synopsis above, it makes me realize how much happens in this book in a short period of time. I think this section will have a lot for us to discuss!


message 8: by Lani (new)

Lani (lani14) | 57 comments I am rereading the Concert scence and this just made me lol.

"Upon Lady Russell's appearance soon afterwards, the whole party was collected, and all that remained was to marshal themselves, and proceed into the Concert Room; and be of all the consequence in their power, draw as many eyes, excite as many whispers, and disturb as many people as they could."

Doesn't it read like some D list celebs on the red carpet of the MTV awardings saying "look at me!"


message 9: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Yes, definitely a Kardashian moment.


message 10: by Lani (new)

Lani (lani14) | 57 comments Robin wrote: "Yes, definitely a Kardashian moment."
Thanks Robin
I couldn't think who was flavor of the moment. So Kardashian over Hilton eh?

I love the concert scene in that you begin to see how things are beginning to change for everyone. Anne is more confident. Wentworth unsure and perhaps jealous. Sir Walter and Elizabeth must at least acknowledge Wentworth now that he is a Somebody. Mr. Elliot is try to move in closer to Anne for his own schemes.

A lot happens in that concert room.


message 11: by Rachel, The Honorable Miss Moderator (new)

Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 673 comments Mod
Lani wrote: "Robin wrote: "Yes, definitely a Kardashian moment."
Thanks Robin
I couldn't think who was flavor of the moment. So Kardashian over Hilton eh?

I love the concert scene in that you begin to see ..."


Oh, the concert IS full of great emotional interaction, isn't it? I love that Anne is perceptive enough to consider that Wentworth may perhaps be jealous of Mr. Elliot. Great stuff!


message 12: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) I liked that about her too, so many times when I'm reading a book, the heroine is oblivious that the man she loves is interested in her. Exasperating! Love the fact that she has a sense of his attraction to her.


message 13: by Megan, Moderator & Ardent Janeite (new)

Megan | 724 comments Mod
Em wrote: "I liked that about her too, so many times when I'm reading a book, the heroine is oblivious that the man she loves is interested in her. Exasperating! Love the fact that she has a sense of his att..."

I agree the concert scene is very key. It ties so many "parts" together. You have Sir Walter sucking up to Lady D, Lady Russell assessing everything, Elizabeth being Elizabeth, and William Ellot being his sneaky little self. Anne is in the middle of all of that and in walks Cpt. W. Good stuff!


message 14: by Lani (new)

Lani (lani14) | 57 comments And the next day when she visits Mrs. Smith, you again get the idea of how alone Anne is. She glowing from love and tries to tell her friend about the concert but her friend thinks she is in love with Mr. Elliot. So she has no one to share this "girl moment" with.

Anne half smiled and said, "Do you see that in my eye?"

"Yes, I do. Your countenance perfectly informs me that you were in company last night with the person whom you think the most agreeable in the world, the person who interests you at this present time more than all the rest of the world put together."

A blush overspread Anne's cheeks. She could say nothing.

"And such being the case," continued Mrs. Smith, after a short pause, "I hope you believe that I do know how to value your kindness in coming to me this morning. It is really very good of you to come and sit with me, when you must have so many pleasanter demands upon your time."

Anne heard nothing of this. She was still in the astonishment and confusion excited by her friend's penetration, unable to imagine how any report of Captain Wentworth could have reached her. After another short silence --

"Pray," said Mrs. Smith, "is Mr. Elliot aware of your acquaintance with me? Does he know that I am in Bath?"


So can we now talk about how sleezy Mr Elliot is or do we need to start another thread?


message 15: by Megan, Moderator & Ardent Janeite (new)

Megan | 724 comments Mod
Lani wrote: "And the next day when she visits Mrs. Smith, you again get the idea of how alone Anne is. She glowing from love and tries to tell her friend about the concert but her friend thinks she is in love w..."

Commence the William Elliot bashing!!!


message 16: by Robin (new)

Robin (robin1129) | 306 comments IMO, Wm Elliot is so-o slimy he's not even worth talking about! Mrs. Smith tells what he's really like, what he really thinks, and I just want to yell at Anne, "Don't even breathe the same air as he!" He's so bad I just want her to drop him like a putrid piece of garbage.

He's like ....

Anybody ever seen the movie ROMY AND MICHELLE'S HS REUNION? Remember the scene where Romy is propositioned by Billy Campbell, her HS crush? He comes on to her -- her dream come true! But, come to find out (after 10 years) he's really this self-absorbed, immature jerk. Plus, he's so drunk he just got done throwing up in the bushes! To put him off, Romy accepts his idea, and Billy leaves -- and then he reaches out and strokes Michelle's arm. As he's walking away she goes, "Eww" and brushes her arm, like a slug just crawled up it and left a trail.

That scene is what Mr. Elliot always makes me think of!


message 17: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I haven't seen the movie, but you make me see it, Robin! A slug leaving a slimy trail behind him fits Mr. Elliot to a tee; and the worst thing is that his facade is all so plausible and nice and even good-looking. But underneath is all creepiness and corruption.... Ewww indeed!


message 18: by Megan, Moderator & Ardent Janeite (last edited Sep 16, 2010 04:17PM) (new)

Megan | 724 comments Mod
Karlyne wrote: "I haven't seen the movie, but you make me see it, Robin! A slug leaving a slimy trail behind him fits Mr. Elliot to a tee; and the worst thing is that his facade is all so plausible and nice and ev..."

I find it interesting that Austen always puts a "bad" man in her novels: William Elliot, Wickam, Willoughby, Henry Crawford, John Thorpe and Frank Churchill. And she puts in the "good" man in her novels: Cpt. W, Darcy, Brandon, Edmund Bertram, Henry Tilney and Mr. Knightley.

Good v. evil? Your thoughts?


message 19: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I am sure there have been analyses infinitum regards good vs. evil, how else to show one in differing views and circumstances. There seems to always be a villain and a hero or a heroine.


message 20: by Megan, Moderator & Ardent Janeite (new)

Megan | 724 comments Mod
Robin wrote: "I am sure there have been analyses infinitum regards good vs. evil, how else to show one in differing views and circumstances. There seems to always be a villain and a hero or a heroine."

True - but I find her depiction of each "bad" man very interesting. One wonders how she gathered such detail of the ugly side of men.


message 21: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Maybe she knew some bad men, or being the very imaginative type she made them up.


message 22: by Robin (new)

Robin (robin1129) | 306 comments Robin wrote: "Maybe she knew some bad men, or being the very imaginative type she made them up."

Probably a little of both.


message 23: by Lani (new)

Lani (lani14) | 57 comments Of all of Austen’s villains, I think Wm. Elliot is the worse, not because of what he does but his intentions. Wickham, Willoughby and Henry Crawford did worse things but they seem more like opportunists rather than intentionally out to hurt anyone. Willoughby and H. Crawford when they were toying with the heroine didn’t think that their own feelings would be involved. It was just a bit of sport.

Elliot, even after he is married and rich encourages, Mr. Smith into greater spending than he can afford. He doesn’t have to, but intentionally ruins the Smiths. And now when Mrs. Smith needs help, Elliot will not be stirred; not can’t, but won’t.

The only reason he wants back into the family is to protect his interest. Now that he is older, he wants the Baronage. Finding Anne is a bonus. Marry the sweet quiet middle sister, keep Sir Walter under control and life is perfect for Mr. Wm Elliot.

If we’re doing movie references, Elliot reminds me of Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) from the movie Wall Street. Because he is so charming and handsome, you don’t realize you’ve been slimed by his evil until it’s too late.


message 24: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Good vs. evil -- I think it was CS Lewis who said that there really is only one story to tell.


message 25: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Explain that more, Karlyne, that sounds interesting.


message 26: by Susan (new)

Susan | 106 comments I really love that Anne could detect that something was definitely wrong with Mr. Elliot. This is from the end of Chapter 5:
"Mr. Elliot was rational, discreet, polished, but he was not open. There was never any burst of feeling, any warmth of indignation or delight, at the evil or good of others. This, to Anne, was a decided imperfection. Her early impressions were incurable. She prized the frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others. Warmth and enthusiasm did captivate her still. She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped. Mr. Elliot was too generally agreeable."
Mr. Elliot seems to keep his facade intact, and Anne's rejection of this tells us something about Anne at this point. Are we going back to the old "sense vs. sensibility" idea again? Perhaps Anne is a romantic at heart and has learned to distrust rationality in some way?

Also, what does everyone think about Anne's relationship to Mrs. Smith? I really like their conversation about Mrs. Smith's nurse, Rooke, and her ability to see all sides of life instead of the side of the privileged few.


message 27: by Robin (last edited Sep 17, 2010 01:23PM) (new)

Robin (robin1129) | 306 comments I think Anne not trusting Mr. Elliot completely was an instance of her believing her instincts, over what others might say. Also, she might be comparing him to you-know-who and finding him lacking. ;)


message 28: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) Anne is generally a good judge of character isn't she? She is good at reading other peoples intentions and makes a good many sensible guesses or interpretations of character based on the demeanour of others.

Annes reaquaintance with Mrs Smith is a lovely part of the novel, I felt that she deserved to have a friend of equal intellect with whom to converse and confide.


message 29: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I especially appreciate Anne's distrust of a man who can dislike Mrs. Clay and her influence in one moment and then in the next be smiling and completely at his ease with her. If his dislike cannot even be discerned by Anne, who knows he does indeed dislike Mrs. Clay, then he is acting a part. And why should he be acting instead of being open and honest? I love that Anne thinks about things like this and forms her judgements based on her intelligent observations.
And, although, Anne is not a prig, she does doubt his moral qualities: his travelling on a Sunday and his references to people and events that were not right are things that make her wonder if his mind has indeed been "cleansed" from his former way of life. She sees things as they are and not as she wishes they are. Smart woman!
Oh, and back to the good vs evil thought -- I think every good book does have that at its heart. Thoughtful reads take us into that realm of choice that helps us to decide what kind of person we're going to be. Every one of the characters in this book are on their way to being "better" or "worse", just as we are in our own lives. Will we let our greed and selfishness and cold-heartedness turn us into Wm. Elliots or will we see Anne's steadfastness and clear-sightedness and integrity as something that we can attain in our own lives? I love a book of fiction where goodness triumphs; it gives me hope for the reality that we live in!


message 30: by Susan (last edited Sep 18, 2010 06:06AM) (new)

Susan | 106 comments It's funny, but I seem to always go back to her novels when I have some kind of moral dilemma to solve in my own life. I wish that I had read them as a teenager, I wouldn't have so many mistakes to regret!

I'm going to have my son read them as soon as I can!;)


message 31: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) why is he going through something?


message 32: by Rachel, The Honorable Miss Moderator (new)

Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 673 comments Mod
Lani wrote: "Of all of Austen’s villains, I think Wm. Elliot is the worse, not because of what he does but his intentions. Wickham, Willoughby and Henry Crawford did worse things but they seem more like opportu..."

I think Mr. Elliot is Austen's worst villain too, Lani! Just a thoroughly horrible person. I LOVE that Anne trusts her instincts and doesn't fall for his crap. What he did to the Smiths is just despicable. And the capper? He dislikes Mrs. Clay, but...

********SPOILER*********

she's his mistress at the end of the book! UGH!

As for the good vs. evil Austen men, I think Austen just knew a good cad was an invaluable tool for fiction! :)


message 33: by Susan (new)

Susan | 106 comments Robin wrote: "why is he going through something?"

No, my son is only 5 years old, but I'd like to prepare him for life ASAP ;)


message 34: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Yes once they reach elementary and the middle years, but I am sure he is adorable.


message 35: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Susan, if you help a child learn to love to read, you're preparing him for life in the best possible way; hooray for you!


message 36: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Yes, I did that with my daughter and all she does now is read, she is a voracious reader.


message 37: by Susan (new)

Susan | 106 comments It's really pretty funny, but he is sitting next to me reading these posts out loud, right now! He is adorable!


message 38: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) That is cute, my daughter who is now 13, will peer over my shoulder at times to see what I am posting. Usually stuff about her.


message 39: by Susan (new)

Susan | 106 comments Has she read any Austen yet?


message 40: by Amalie (last edited Sep 20, 2010 08:07AM) (new)

Amalie Robin, Susan, you are handing down a great discipline to your children. I remember I learned to read watching my sister.


message 41: by Amalie (new)

Amalie Lani wrote: "Of all of Austen’s villains, I think Wm. Elliot is the worse, not because of what he does but his intentions. Wickham, Willoughby and Henry Crawford did worse things but they seem more like opportu..."

Yes I agree with you. It's even strange to realise how villainous Mr. Elliot is, since he really doesn't do that must or involved in the actions as Willoughby or Henry Crawford or even Wickham. But he still capable of producing a strong negative affect in the novel.


message 42: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I don't really remember learning how to read. But some of my earliest memories are of my mother taking me to the library. No matter where we lived (and we moved constantly), she always made sure that it was one of the first places we visited. I remember her assuring one of the librarians when I was about 6, that yes, indeed, I was reading all of those books that I checked out. Hooray for libraries and mothers who are smart enough to take their kids there!


message 43: by Megan, Moderator & Ardent Janeite (new)

Megan | 724 comments Mod
Amalie wrote: "Lani wrote: "Of all of Austen’s villains, I think Wm. Elliot is the worse, not because of what he does but his intentions. Wickham, Willoughby and Henry Crawford did worse things but they seem more..."

Elliot is just so smooth. He just oozes around everything and pollutes is all. Nasty nasty man.


message 44: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum He is kind of like a snake, isn't he? He oozes into the book and then just oozes out. Robin earlier said that he was like a slug and left slime behind, a nasty trail. But, at least as far as we know with regard to our heroes, he doesn't leave any permanent slime behind; he just disappears back into the slime pit.


message 45: by Rachel, The Honorable Miss Moderator (new)

Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 673 comments Mod
Nice analogies here between Mr. Elliot and slime! Very appropriate! But enough about him! :)

My favorite part of this section is probably the revelation that Benwick and Louisa are engaged. Such a handy plot point--Wentworth is now free--but also one that doesn't feel contrived.


message 46: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum You're right, Rachel, it doesn't feel contrived at all, because we all know situations where nearness made the heart grow fonder! Benwick and Louisa may not have had a lot in common as they began to love each other, but isn't this true of many, many people who fall in love everyday?


message 47: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum One last comment on this section of the book? I love where Anne confesses to Wm. Elliot that she wishes that the Dalrymple connection hadn't been so earnestly sought after by her family. "Yes", sighed Anne, "we shall, indeed, be known to be related to them"... and "I certainly am proud, too proud to enjoy a welcome which depends so entirely upon place." Some senses of pride are good!


message 48: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Yes, William Elliot is what you all say, slimey, oozy, etc, but take it a step farther. He was going beyond the troublesome men of Austen's earlier fiction. I think this character did show Austen going into another realm, because I do think her writing was taking a turn toward writing about the dirtier and grittier elements of life. The place for the details is really in part four of our discussion, but watch out at the last for what all William has set up within this circle of people.


message 49: by Robin (new)

Robin (robin1129) | 306 comments Ooo -- suspense! lol


message 50: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Do we need to read the book, what if I saw the film?


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