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Good afternoon, Janeites!! Austen in August is fast-approaching (next week!), so it's time for a bit more about the Persuasion Read Along. I wanted to do things a little different this year, so rather than posting the questions week by week, I'm going to give you all of the questions now.
You are free to answer them as you see fit: blog or vlog them, post them all at once or split them up into 3 different posts (which is what I'll be doing), etc. You can skip any you don't want to answer, and add in questions and comments for things I didn't cover that you want to talk about - the whole point is to get a discussion going and share your perspective on the story (even if you hated it! Though expect a lot of people to stop by and try to convince you why you should love it... ;P )
I'm posting them all now so that you have time to get your answers ready (and read the book if you haven't yet); I'll have a linky up on the 15th where you can post your responses, and I really hope you'll stop by some others' posts and get involved in the discussion with them (even if you're not "officially" participating!!)
I've split the book roughly into thirds, and the questions are divided accordingly; I will be posting my responses once a week (on the 15th, 22nd and 29th), but feel free to post yours all together, or however works best for you!
***And remember, if you don't have a copy, there are plenty of places you can read it online for free, like Project Gutenberg or the Republic of Pemberley! Or you can download a free audiobook of it here!
Quick getting to know you Qs:
- Was Persuasion the first Austen book you read?
- Is this the first time you've read Persuasion?
- How many other Austen books have you read?
- Will you read more of them/reread them?
BEGINNING (chapters 1-7)
- What are your initial impressions of the story? Do you like the set-up for the world and the conflicts? Did you find any of it hard to understand or relate to?
- What are your impressions of the characters so far? Especially in regards to Anne, who is considered quite a bit different from other Austen heroines (besides being the oldest, she's had love and let it go, and now has had years to reflect on that).
- Do you think Anne was right to have yielded to the pressure of those close to her - to have been "persuaded" - not to accept Wentworth's first proposal?
- What do you make of Anne's family (and extended family, including Lady Russell), and her place among them? How do the people in Anne's life treat her, and what was your reaction to that?
- Discuss Anne's first few meetings with Wentworth, or Wentworth's entry into the story in general.
MIDDLE (chapters 8-18)
- Now that we've gotten to know most of them a bit, discuss the side characters: who is your favorite? least favorite? Were there things Austen did with these side characters that you absolutely loved or hated?
- As Anne and Wentworth are thrown together more and more, how do you feel about the fact that they never address their shared history? Do you find either to be irrational or unjust in not being open with the other and broaching the topic? Do you find Anne too self-sacrificing?
- Is there ever a time you dislike Capt. Wentworth? Were you put off by his treatment of Anne?
- Discuss the incidents at Lyme; consider Louisa's fall from the cob and Wentworth's subsequent praise of Anne, the appearance of Mr Elliot and his reaction to Anne (and Wentworth's reaction to him), etc.
- Discuss Anne's arrival in Bath, considering the continued presence of Mr Elliot, Anne's reaction to her family and the way she begins to distance herself from them and stand up for herself more than she has been known to do.
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?
- Has your perception of Persuasion changed since reading it, especially if you've read it more than once?
- 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?
- 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"?
- 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?
- 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?
- What were your favorite parts of the novel? Your least favorite? Things you wish were different?
- Any last thoughts on the book?
If you've seen a movie adaptation, feel free to discuss those as well! I'm going to have a "Viewing Party" for Persuasion so we can discuss them more in-depth, but feel free to give us your take, and whether you think the adaptation worked, etc.!