Persuasion

PersuasionIn victorian era, how does a lady get back her former admirer, once rejected?

  1. Accept his indifference and coldness until the sight of you in danger of collapsing renews his former sentiment.
  2. When you see him in a room and he comes to you, engage him in conversation. Don’t just talk about the weather.
  3. Be perfectly useful when an accident involves the lady who might replace you in his affections. Be the better woman for not jumping from heights.

Jane Austen’s Persuasion has just become my favorite. It’s more serious and insightful about a man and a woman’s love for each other, about their constancy.

The story is about Anne Elliot’s anxieties in meeting Capt. Wentworth, eight years after she was persuaded to break her attachment with him. Now that she’s twenty-seven, past the age of blushing, but not of emotion, she can’t help thinking that maybe she made a mistake—- that perhaps she would have been happy with the naval officer, despite his lack of wealth and connections.

She is persuaded that Capt. Wentworth is the only man that she loves.

But he is changed, it seemed, when they meet at the Musgroves’ many dinner parties. He is unaffected by her presence.

Once so much to each other! Now nothing!

My only complaint is Mrs. Clay, the chosen companion of Anne’s elder sister, Elizabeth.

I don’t see why she’s in the story at all if her designs for marrying Anne’s father was never explicitly revealed. If she’s not a threat, I think Elizabeth getting all the attention as first daughter and failing at it, and their removal from their estate as consequence of lack of economies, was enough to tell the story of the Elliots’ vanity and foolishness.

Overall, the novel is a celebration of Ms. Austen’s gift in realistic and romantic fiction. Here, the heroine doesn’t charm her suitor with witticism, but with maturity and the beautiful evolution of her once easily persuaded mind.

If one must read Jane Austen, it should be this.

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