Tuesday, May 1, 2007

BBC: Persuasion

Guys, I’m so sorry this is soooo late, been so tired. Also, I’ve been sort of... well, call it guarding our blog. From who? Who else?! From that evil Trollop! She’s been driving me nuts for hours now with her overwhelming desire to uglify our template! I swear, flying ducks, stupid stars and fucking fake grass were involved!!! *GRRR*

*Breathe*

Anyway, *long suffering sigh* without further ado, here are the questions for Persuasion. But before that, I just HAVE to mention Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne: “You pierce my soul.” *sigh* Seriously, the kind of love letter any woman would cherish:


“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you...”


  • What values do the men of the navy bring to the society of the book? What value is placed on titles and the aristocracy?
  • In a particularly famous passage Anne Elliot says that men have had the pen in their hands when assigning strengths and weaknesses to the sexes. Now that the pen is in Austen’s hands, what does she use it to say about men and women?
  • In Bath Anne begins to believe that Wentworth still cares for her. Why can’t she simply tell him she is uninterested in Mr. Elliot? Does this drive you nuts? Would you say something to him if you were Anne?
  • Is it still the man’s job to pursue, the woman’s to be pursued?
  • Explain the title.

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20 comment(s):

Blogger Jolie said...

I love that letter! Anyway, here are my thoughts:

- I think in Persuasion, the upper classes are represented by the navy and the aristocracy. Just look at the way the characters consult the Baronetage and the naval lists. I think the naval family is a threat to the aristocratic family and it's shown in the letting of Kellynch Hall. The aristocracy is being replaced by the naval family.

- There is so much to say about Jane Austen's view about love, about men and women. Just the way Anne and Frederick remained in love with each other even after 8 years of separation!

- I'm not sure what I would do if I were Anne. I think Captain Wentworth have realized that Anne was sincere in her reasons for giving him up, but he obviously did not agree with her.

Both of them didn't marry in the course of that 8 years. They both continued searching for someone, till they meet up again and finally realize that they belong to each other.

- Is it a man's job to pursue, the woman to be pursued? In Jane Austen's time, yes, but not anymore. These days, a woman has as much right to ask a man out.

- I think the title refers to Anne being persuaded to give up Captain Wentworth and there in lies the story. There are other characters who were persuaded as well.

5/01/2007 08:51:00 PM  

Blogger Ladybug said...

Isn't Persuasion the only Austen novel where the heroine is no longer considered "young"? Persuasion has that fantasy of second chance, which we all want, especially those who have lost love and wanted it back.

1. I agree with Jolie about the navy and aristocracy in Persuasion. In fact, it's like the aristocrats can only redeem themselves through a marriage from someone in the navy.

2. What I noticed about JA's novels are the women seek husbands to escape their home. In Persuasion, there's Anne, Elizabeth, the Murgroves, Mrs. Clay who is totally unsympathetic BTW.

3. I would have said something if I were Anne. Capt Wentworth felt bitter and is angry at Anne because of what he sees as her weakness in being persuaded out of the engagement.

4. Not these day and age. Especially if the man is shy and the woman has guts to actually ask a guy out. Besides, if it's the woman who did something wrong, it's only fair that she should be the one who should "pursue". Or at least try to soften him up, lol.

5. Too many persuasion happening in this novel. Anne persuaded by Lady Russell, Sir Walter persuaded to rent Kelynch Hall, etc.

5/01/2007 09:33:00 PM  

Blogger Jolie said...

"Isn't Persuasion the only Austen novel where the heroine is no longer considered "young"?"

I've only Persuasion, P&P and Emma. I'm not sure about the others.

5/01/2007 09:42:00 PM  

Blogger Jolie said...

"what he sees as her weakness in being persuaded out of the engagement"

I think what bothered Captain Wentworth the most is that he knows Anne loves him yet she still gave him up. Poor guy. LOL

5/01/2007 09:45:00 PM  

Anonymous gabrielle said...

I did this in class yesterday but for some reason its so much more fun here LOL!

- Men in the Navy bring society new prospects for young ladies in search of a wealthy husband. Despite the fact that they have no title, men in the Navy are able to rise above their inferior birth and enter society and obtain good marriages. Sir Walter doesnt like Navy men for that reason (and their weathered faces)
- Titles are paramount in society. To have social status is the greatest thing. Being part of the aristocracy is a privelege that only a few of the actual upper class appreciate. Jane Austen shows that these are stupid because she satirises(?) the people who desire status above all else (Sir Walter and Elizabeth)
- Austen shows that men and women aren't equal. She likes to bring attention to the fact that women have no escape from anxiety or worry. Anne cant distract herself from Captain Wentworth after his departure. She is left to dwell on it. Captain Wentworth however can busy himself with Naval matters (argument between Anne and one of the Captains, I cant remember lol).
- I think that Anne actually liked the fact that Wentworth was jealous. I think she dealt with it the right way because I didnt like what he said when he first saw her after 8 years. That annoyed me. I guess it couldve been interesting to see what Anne would have said to Captain Wentworth but then maybe the letter would never have been written and that would have been a tragedy.
-Personally, I would like to be the pursued but its good when a woman pursues. Mixes it up a little bit :)
- like Jolie said. Title refers to the fact that Anne was persuaded to give up Wentworth by Lady Russell. But its a common theme with other characters as well.

That seems a little bit like an essay... its really long guys so sorry!! its good practise though :D

5/02/2007 03:41:00 AM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

"Isn't Persuasion the only Austen novel where the heroine is no longer considered "young"?"

Re: I found this book lacking a bit of the sarcastic hmor Austen is known for. Also I think the fact that Persuasion was written while Austen was going through a debilitating illness and approaching death cast shadows on her writing. Since this was her last book maybe she put a lot more of herself (her disappointments, sadness, her lost youth and so on) in her writing.


"what he sees as her weakness in being persuaded out of the engagement"

I think Anne was weak to let Mrs. Russell change her mind about marrying someone she loved!!!!! I mean, sure Mrs. Russell was a good friend but she gave really bad advice (on a lot of things!).

I believe men do like to pursue and women to be woed (sp?). It's the way of the animals LOL. Still who says we always have to things the same way? *wink*

The title does baffle me a little. The only persuasion I saw was that Russell woman convincing Anne out of Marrying Wentworth.

5/02/2007 04:36:00 AM  

Anonymous Luci said...

Hey Harlot, that letter excerpt you posted is real sweet. Unfortunetly it must have come in the last fifty pages of the book, cause I didn't get till there. I am sorry to say that the book was a bit too heavy for me. I was hoping that the h/h would have some witty conversations before the last two chapters :(

5/02/2007 06:12:00 AM  

Blogger Harlot said...

In PERSUASION, the aristocracy is embodied by the Elliot family and it's seen as a decreasing one. Unlike Darcy of P&P, the aristocracy in PERSUASION is not productive or beneficial. This is where the navy comes in. Most of the gentry women seek marriage with naval officers to improve their status in life. Just like Anne marrying Frederick, it shows that she's escaping an aristocracy that is wasting away.


RE: I didnt like what he said when he first saw her after 8 years.

I think Wentworth could have treated her with more civility like he did with the others. But i don't think he's intentionally cruel. You know i think he should have written to her way back asking to renew their engagement LOL. Anyway, i think it's fair to say he's a bit justified in acting that way. I mean, Anne gave him up because she's persuaded by someone else. She trusted Lady Russell instead of him. That would have break my heart.


RE: Too many persuasion happening in this novel. Anne persuaded by Lady Russell, Sir Walter persuaded to rent Kelynch Hall, etc.

The main persuasion i believe is Lady Russell persuading Anne to give up Wentworth and that their engagement is a wrong one. There's also persuasion between Anne and her sisters, the Musgroves, Sir Elliot, etc. And of course, between Wentworth and Anne.

5/02/2007 06:18:00 AM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Oh Luci, i love that letter. And he actually said "he can hardly write" LOL.

Anyway you're forgiven LOL (:P) since you got TBH and T&A! :D

5/02/2007 06:22:00 AM  

Blogger Aggie said...

Its a double persuasion ... firstly to give up the engagement early on and when they meet again later, both must be persuaded that the other still cares for them and that there is still hope.

5/02/2007 06:45:00 AM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

-- I agree with Gabrielle about men in the Navy. Sir Walter only have daughters and has no heir. His title and everything will be pass on to their cousin. In Austen's novels, she shores up the aristocracy through marriage. In Persuasion, Anne's marriage with Wentworth opens a door into a new and preferable social circle.

-- I think Wentworth was giving Anne time. He wasn't sure of her feelings, she did leave him. Wentworth probably didn't admit to himself he was hurt by Anne's rejection but he probably took it as a sign that she didn't want to be around him.

-- What woman doesn't want to be pursued? ;) Especially if the man will give anything for you. Sigh.

-- I agree with Aggie and Harlot. The title refers to Lady Russell persuading Anne and at the end, between Anne and Wentworth that they belong to each other.

5/02/2007 08:19:00 AM  

Blogger Sara Hope said...

Yay I lurve Persuasion! (which has induced me out of lurkdom, but I actually have to write a paper so I'm answering selectively)

I think in Austen the navy represents the opportunity for men to demonstrate their worth by virtue of merit rather than coincidence of birth -- Austen felt very highly of the navy, as I believe two of her brothers were members.


The title I feel is a bit more complicated -- near the beginning the reader is told that Lady Russell persuaded Anne to not marry Captain Wentworth, yet Anne later states that she believes she made the correct decision, and in many ways she is right. Captain Wentworth has been lucky to earn the kind of fortune he has as a naval Captain. When the two were first contemplating marriage, Wentworth had no money and no guarantee of ever coming into any -- he was not a safe bet. In some ways I think the title "Persuasion" does not signify the influence of others so much as it signifies our desire to push our regrets onto others and believe it is their fault.

5/02/2007 09:01:00 AM  

Blogger Tisty said...

This is my fav JA!!!! So glad you choose it. It has a bittersweet feel that I love, and who doesn't want a chance to do over something (or some one) from their past. Sigh.

any way to my answers:
*I think the value of navel men in society is shown as a bit of a two edged sword. Yes the naval men are not seen to be without there worth, but a Mr Eliot in line to a title is more worthy, at least in the eyes of 'society'. I also feel that JA is writting about a class under threat. Lady Russell And Sir walter represnt the old order and its desire to protect that way of life. amongst the younger characters the navy isn't seen so much as threat as t'the other', a kind of exotic world that they don't neccessarily mind marrying into, but it is still the unkown. a bit like the girl who jumps from the steps at Lime: there is no guarrentees how this social experment is goiung to turn out!

-Annes speach to the captain regarding womans constency is the most overt statement on sexual politics. However if you use the characters in the novel as representitive of there sex you get a very different veiw. I always feel that JA didn't like people very much. SHe is brutally honest about the failings of her charcters and even the H&h are shown to be deeply flawed (her passivity, his stubborness for example). Perhaps this equality in our mutal ability to cock up and be pigs is her version of feminism. Sort of woman is no better than man, but she is certainly no worse!

*YES it drives me nuts. But for anne to leap on an obvious attraction would be out of character. After all this is a woman who has been bleeding emotionally for 8 bloody years without anyone being much the wiser. That level of control is integeral to who she is, so it would be impossible for her to go up to Wentworth and say "is that a saber in your pocket or are you just happy to see me"

*On a purely personal level I prefer to be pursued!!!! But society has shifeted in its perceptions so that if i changed my mind and became a hunteress i won't automatically be deemed a slut, Mostly!.

* for me its called persasion because that moment when Anne caved into lady Russel shaped the whole course of her life. I often wonder what whould have happened if anne had fought off her freind and married wentworth. would they automatically have been happy? I suspect that maturity and the fact that wentworth has now made his fortune will make for a very different sort of marriage than what they might otherwise have had.

Sorry for rambleing, but its late at night and this novel is so good its worth rambleing about!

5/02/2007 09:36:00 AM  

Blogger Menchie said...

confession time..i got the book only last weekend and haven't started yet. though i've browsed through it. *small voice* sorry....

5/02/2007 10:07:00 AM  

Blogger Petra said...

I love Persuasion! There's always this big question of which JA novel is the best and I think it's Persuasion.

- I agree with Sara about the naval men. Nobility should not be based on the coincidence of birth rather than the man himself, on his virtues and what he does.

Anne's union with Wentworth not only widens her social circle but also improves it. Isn't it ironic that Anne's improvement in life comes at the cost of Kellynch Hall, the symbol of their aristocracy?

- I agree with Tisty. I think JA's novels show her sardonic view of men and women, what she feels about the 18th century society. She writes about these men and women and how they deal with money, its role in conferring social status, and what it means to be on either side of the money divide.

- It drives me nuts! If only Anne wasn't so unsure of herself, she might have been able to see that Wentwoth's cold behavior was a cover for his true feelings for her.

- I want to be pursued. ;) But I won't hesitate going for someone I really like.

- I agree with everybody. I think the title is about Anne being persuaded by Lady Russell which set the course of Anne's life.

5/02/2007 10:29:00 AM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Menchie, i hope you'll it. ;)

I wonder what could have happened if Wentworth wrote Anne like, maybe a year after she broke it off. I think what Wentworth did is completely blocked out his feelings about what happened. He thought he was free of her but when he and Anne interact, his true feelings do slip through (like in the carriage on the return). He doesn't realize completely that he still loves her and then there's that Mr. Elliot thing and misunderstandings of whether she still cares for him or not. Oh, the intricacies of lurve!

5/02/2007 10:59:00 AM  

Anonymous Jennifer said...

How long were Anne and Wentworth been away from each other? 8 years? I don't want to be too skeptical but that's a long amount of time to have gotten over someone. It's almost a decade! Yet it seems as if Anne, on hearing that Captain Wentworth is to be staying at Kellynch Hall, has a huge revival of old emotions: "she could not hear that Captain Wentworth's sister was likely to live at Kellynch, without a revial of former pain". I'm sure many will disagree, but it seems a little silly to me that such a sensible young woman as Anne Elliot would still be attached to a man that she met nearly ten years earlier, and that Captain Wentworth would still be so petty as to hold a grudge against her.

5/02/2007 03:28:00 PM  

Blogger Rachel said...

I can't recall the story that much but I remember loving this JA more than Pride and Prejudice. There is something special about a woman and a man and their second chance at love.

Persuasion refers to Anne being persuaded to abandon her engagement to Captain Wentworth and then when they finally met again, both of them persuading each other of their love.

5/02/2007 04:26:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Re: I don't want to be too skeptical but that's a long amount of time to have gotten over someone.

Hmm, i don't know. Well, i once tried to get over an ex for 3 years. Compare to Anne who was only at Kellynch Hall and no proper distractions like the mall and the always willing college boys LOL, i think Anne's feelings for Wentworth is believable. ;) Also, i guess some people just don't forget.

5/03/2007 05:27:00 AM  

Blogger Isabella said...

I was reading the discussion here last night but had no time to comment.

I think Anne didn't let herself forget Frederick that's why even after 8 years, it's still him that she loves. She followed his career, she knows what he has accomplished through all those years.

"No one had ever come within the Kellynch circle, who could bear a comparison with Frederick Wentworth, as he stood in her memory. No second attachment, the only thoroughly natural, happy, and sufficient cure, at her time of life, had been possible to the nice tone of her mind, the fastidiousness of her taste, in the small limits of the society around them."

As for Wentworth, I agree that he buried his feelings for Anne because the separation was too painful. But when they met again, those feelings had their own way of surfacing, even if he thought he was over her already.

5/03/2007 10:44:00 AM