You can link up your own responses on the read along linky, or you're free to respond in the comments (of my response, of other readers' responses - get involved in the dialogue!), but for now, here are my thoughts on the final section of Persuasion.
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?
It's sort of hard for me to remember now; I've loved it so much for so long, I can't recall if I always did. I remember thinking that it was slower and sweeter than Pride and Prejudice, which was my favorite book of ever at the time (now, these 2 titles compete for that spot). I think maybe I thought it was less impressive than P&P, lacking some of the fire, and it wasn't until I'd sort of sat with it awhile that I realized just how much I appreciated it, and what an impression it'd made.
I very much connected with Anne as a heroine, which is surprising because I'm very much a Lizzie. But there are fundamental things about Anne that just ring true, and though I used to find her a bit passive, I really don't anymore. She's more...defeated, and sort of trapped, and I think it's a story about her finding her sea legs (see what I did there?), sort of coming into her own. She always has a voice, but she's always been silenced - whether through the good intentions of Lady Russell or the not so good of her family - and this is a story of her learning to use that voice and assert herself. I like that.
And Wentworth is a dreamboat. No matter how much I want to hold him to account sometimes, I can't help but love him.
- Has your perception of Persuasion changed since reading it, especially if you've read it more than once?
Um. See above.
- The characters are constantly on the move in Persuasion (from Kellynch to Uppercross to Lyme to Bath, etc), so the reader gets to see a variety of scenes; did you like the constant changes of scenery? Did you have a favorite? Do you think the different locations bring out different aspects of the characters?
I actually really loved this because I think each location brought out different aspects of many of the characters' personalities. I love seeing Anne gradually break out with each new location, and I also just like the sense of movement, pace, and action that it brings to what could be a very sedate story.
I can't pick a favorite. I've tried. I've written the sentence "I really like Lyme because THE COB" only to find myself thinking, "But then they go to Bath, and the CONCERT and THE THEATER and
- 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"?
My copy has both, so I read both back to back in my original reading. But even still, it shocks me a bit that there was a different ending - The Letter is so entrenched in Janedom (I mean, you say "the letter" and you don't even have to mention the book, character or situation without everyone immediately a) knowing and b) swooning...) that it's hard to believe there was ever even a thought of something else.
Looking at it objectively... there's something nice about them both being active participants in this conversation (Hey, you still like me? I like you, too!), but it doesn't really suit their story. Every step of the way has been fraught with near-misses and shuttered communications, interferences and missed-chances, that to have an open confrontation just doesn't fit. PLUS, I adore the delicious tension of the letter-writing scene: the idea of Capt. W listening to the conversation and being so overcome that he's feverishly writing a love letter out in the open; the chance that Anne might misinterpret his "look" or not notice it at all, and so miss retrieving the letter, leaving it there for anyone to find - Ahh! I can barely stand it. It's just perfect for them, the story, and the reader, I think.
- 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?
Sir E. is about to have his hopes disappointed by Mrs Clay and W. Elliot, so I think his forced moral-compass (Lady R.) and all of Wentworth's delicious monies and new-found status will win him over eventually. But it will be rough sailing for awhile. Elizabeth is going to be p i s s e d, and Anne will bear the brunt of it; things will probably be awkward with the Musgroves for a bit; Mary will be irritated that she had no idea, though she'll claim she did, or that his attention was due to her. I anticipated the newlyweds will be spending a fair amount of time with the Crofts...
- 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?
This bothers modern me, but the realist in me knows that there was really never any other option, anyway. (I mean, they can't all be Knightley's, and if nothing else endears me to that man, the fact that he gives way for Emma will always win him points...)
But there's also a part of me that says, YES! Go out into the world, Anne; get away from that family and live life! Make up for lost time!
- What were your favorite parts of the novel? Your least favorite? Things you wish were different?
All of the parts.
All of the parts are my favorite, I adore this book to bits, and even things that irritate me (*cough*Mary*cough*) irritate me perfectly. I don't have a least favorite, and I wouldn't change a thing.
- Any last thoughts on the book?
I just wish more people talked about this book, honestly. I wish enough people appreciated this to do it justice on film, because I'd love a really, really GOOD, epically long mini-series I could lose myself in...