Austen for Beginners

Persuasion - start here!

Anne Elliot is our unlikely heroine. In her twenties, and in many people's eyes getting too old to get married, she lives with her father, Sir Walter Elliot and her elder sister, Elizabeth. She was once engaged in her youth to..... ...our hero, Captain Wentworth, a naval officer who at the time was considered too poor and hopeless to marry a baronet's daughter. In fact, he turned out to be the opposite, and when he and Anne come across each other again, eight years later, both of them realise they are still in love. They spend most of the book pretending they aren't, of course.

The large cast of secondary characters include Mary, Anne's younger sister, and her husband Charles Musgrove, lots more Musgroves, two more naval Captains, an Admiral and several others, all with their part to play. This is actually Jane Austen's shortest novel, but there is just as good a story as the others.

Classic quotes from the novel ...
Anne, with an elegance of mind and sweetness of character, which must have placed her high with any people of real understanding, was nobody with either father or sister; her word had no weight, her convenience was always to give way-- she was only Anne.
None of Anne's family think much of her because they don't understand her, so she gets along as best she can. The true underestimated heroine.
It had not been possible for him to spend less; he had done nothing but what Sir Walter Elliot was imperiously called on to do; but blameless as he was, he was not only growing dreadfully in debt, but was hearing of it so often, that it became vain to attempt concealing it longer, even partially, from his daughter. 
Well, if one must spend money, one had better get on with it, even if the money isn't there.

Sir Walter, without hesitation, declared the Admiral to be the best-looking sailor he had ever met with, and went so far as to say, that if his own man might have had the arranging of his hair, he should not be ashamed of being seen with him any where

Sir Walter is such a snob, but for some reason the Admiral passes the test, in spite of being a sailor. It must be the hair....
"I cannot possibly do without Anne," was Mary's reasoning; and Elizabeth's reply was, "Then I am sure Anne had better stay, for nobody will want her in Bath."

Sisterly love, indeed. Useful to one, and unwanted by the other, Anne generally does as she is told.
"Upon my word, I shall be pretty well off, when you are all gone away to be happy at Bath!"
Mary feeling sorry for herself as usual.

Anne hoped she had outlived the age of blushing; but the age of emotion she certainly had not.

Well, how would you feel if the sister of the man you were secretly in love with suddenly mentioned his name without warning? (In fact, Mrs Croft was referring to her other brother, but Anne didn't realise that at first).

"How is Mary looking?" said Sir Walter, in the height of his good humour. "The last time I saw her she had a red nose, but I hope that may not happen every day."

The love of a father for his daughter...hmm.

He was not at all ashamed of the acquaintance, and did, in fact, think and talk a great deal more about the Admiral, than the Admiral ever thought or talked about him.

Sir Walter again, who has a rather inflated idea of his own importance.
"Do not you think, Miss Elliot, we had better try to get him to Bath?"
A rather bright suggestion about Captain Wentworth, made by the Admiral to Anne, who has no objection.
"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."
Captain Wentworth in his letter to Anne. How could any woman resist?
Who can be in doubt of what followed?
Who indeed? They got married, of course, and lived happily ever after.....

If you'd like to know more about the story, click here: Persuasion - the plot If you'd like to read the original text, click here: Persuasion - the text If that's quite enough about Persuasion, return to home page

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Austen for Beginners 2006

Austen for Beginners   Pride and Prejudice   Sense and Sensibility   Emma   Mansfield Park   Northanger Abbey   Persuasion