September 3, 2012 by Heidi
END (chapters 19-end)
What was your initial reaction to Persuasion as a whole? Did you connect with Anne as a heroine, and Wentworth as a hero?
I really enjoyed Persuasion! I liked the story, the characters, and that even though I knew how everything was going to end up eventually, the plot at large was somewhat of a mystery to me (unlike the bulk of Austen novels). I knew the letter was coming, but I had never read the entire thing, and I didn’t know how he wrote it/handed it to her–I was definitely holding my breath, and I loved it. I felt like Anne as a heroine was very relatable, especially as an older character, but I particularly loved Wentworth. I love that he’s so introverted and shy, and wants to express himself but doesn’t necessarily feel that he can do so face to face. Some people might think he’s a coward for writing the letter instead of just talking to her, but as someone who also expresses themselves much more eloquently in writing, I felt like I got it.
Though I thoroughly enjoyed Persuasion, it won’t be unseating P&P as my favorite Jane Austen. I can totally see why this holds a special place for so many of my bookish friends, but P&P and I have such a history together, I don’t think it’ll ever lose it’s place.
Discuss one of the biggest fangirl-inducing moments in Austen: “The Letter;” did you know the ending was originally written without “The Letter” in it? Do you think your overall perception of the story would change without “The Letter”?
Excuse me while I do a Scooby Doo ‘aaruu?!’ sound! How is that even possible? Yes, absolutely, the absence of the letter would totally change my perception on the story, and of Wentworth in general. The letter and his nervous way of giving it to her made me feel as if I really understood this character. I think without it I wouldn’t be nearly so attached to him, or nearly so understanding of how it took so many years for those crazy kids to work it out.
What do you anticipate for the futures of any of the characters, but particularly Anne? Will her family ever come to accept Wentworth, or is she essentially disowning herself by marrying him?
I don’t think that she’s disowning herself, I think they’ll accept him begrudgingly, if not with open arms. I feel that Anne herself doesn’t entirely fit in well with her family, and so it’s not the worst thing in the world. I think the greatest difficulties are likely to arise with Lady Russel as hers is the opinion that matters most to Anne, and the friendship that will hurt most to lose–which she very well might.
On reflection, are you ever bothered by the fact that Anne is essentially put in the same position – to give up the life she knows and loves for Wentworth, and that the same is never expected of him? Does this bother your modern sensibilities, or do you think the right decision is made regardless?
I think the right decision is made, but it does suck, plain and simple. I don’t think that given the time it would be possible for him to give up his livelihood to be with her, that’s just not the way things worked, but this situation does still occur today. Besides which, her life was changing anyway with her family was no longer at Kellynch, and no matter how we might like things to be the way they once were, they rarely work out that way. I myself left my family, my home, and a job I loved to be with my boyfriend 1000 miles away, and it’s still hard every day, but I wouldn’t give him up to have all of those things back in my life. Sometimes happily ever afters aren’t 100% perfect, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth the sacrifice.
What were your favorite parts of the novel? Your least favorite? Things you wish were different?
Um…the letter was a favorite, of course! I love how he nervously kind of shoves it at her and then goes away all awkward like. I also loved the part thereafter where we get a recounting of all of the book’s events from his point of view, and see how different his thoughts and actions were from Anne’s interpretations of them. I’m not going to lie, I found parts with Anne’s family tedious and boring, but I also recognize that if they weren’t there we wouldn’t have the same dynamics.
Any last thoughts on the book?
I’m so glad to have finally fully read Persuasion! I was really surprised by what a quick and engaging read it was, and it’s certainly encouraged me to go back and read/reread more Austen now that I’m nearing 30 and have a much different outlook on life and love than I did when I first read her work. I still haven’t watched any movie versions of Persausion, but I have the most recent BBC version waiting on my nightstand!