Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Thought About Persuasion by Jane Austen


After about three weeks, maybe longer, I finally finished my slim copy of Persuasion by Jane Austen.  I was inspired to choose it after reading Mabel's beautiful post about it @ Journal of a Lit Student.  Mabel does great and worthy justice of Austen's final novel.  

However, I am disappointed that I did not appreciate it more since I truly enjoyed Pride and Prejudice, my first Austen read.  I thought I would love it simply because it was an Austen, but I struggled with the first several chapters.  After a week of not reading it, a friend of mine lent me a film adaptation , which was very well done and re-inspired my interest; I returned to the book and finished it. But it was not the experience that I had expected.  


In my opinion , after consecutively reading The Trial, Native Son, The Stranger, and 1984,  I considered that my senses had been blackened by these somber, choking plots of fear, murder , and death.  As I have said previously, literature of this kind is truly an experience, not just words on a page. How did I expect to get through a gentle, pleasant novel about love, goodness, and loyalty in the mist of hatred, violence, and death?  


Maybe there is a reason Susan Wise Bauer listed these particular novels - not only chronologically, but in this way - because they build upon each other. Pride and Prejudice was number four on The Well-Educated Mind list, between Gulliver's Travels and Oliver Twist.  That was painless.


But look now! it is not any better.  My next novel from TWEM is Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.  I am not so sure this one is any better than 1984.  


Anyway, I did have a few favorite places in Persuasion.  Of course, Captain Wentworth's love letter was the best love letter I have never received.  I want to re-type it here just to share it, but you can find it on the internet everywhere, like here @ The Brazen Bookworm.  I did not think the film did it justice because it was difficult to understand with the British accents and both Anne and Captain Wentworth reading it aloud simultaneously.  Reading it to myself was so much better.  


And finally, I did like this little quote by Anne to Mr. Elliot:  

Anne Elliot: "My idea of good company, Mr. Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company."
Mr. Elliot: "You are mistaken,...that is not good company, that is the best."
Well, this is certainly true, although Mr. Elliot's only intent was to persuade Anne to be something other than herself against her good judgment.  Had she not done that enough already?  And look where it got her.  That would soon change. 

2 comments:

  1. I'm curious for your thoughts on Invisible Man. I've read excerpts and intend to read it in full. (I answered re: Persuasion over at my place.) x

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  2. I love Persuasion. It might be my favorite Austen, but it's hard to pick one. I like how Anne is older than most Austen heroines, and has been through some hardships.

    I certainly do agree, though, that if you are wading through literary blood and gore, it is hard to get into the right mindset for Austen's delicate writing!

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