Final Thoughts, Persuasion

Final Thoughts: Persuasion

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Persuasion, I must admit, is one of the novels that I was able to experience for the first time over the last few months. What a treat that it was such a wonderful read. It has definitely become a new favorite. It comes as no surprise that Austen’s last novel would be her most accomplished. After many years of improving skills as a writer, I would think you could only get better unless, and sorry to be depressing, your inspiration has a peak. However, I was not prepared for the novel to be such a triumph.

Anne Elliot is an incredibly well-rounded character. I found her emotional depth truly touching. So many of Austen’s heroine’s express their emotions outwardly. Sure, some out louder than others, even Elinor’s repressed pain bubbled over into euphoria, but Anne held steadfast and expressed her joys and sorrows in subtleties. I cannot read Anne without seeing Jane Austen. I think that she channeled a full life into this novel. Family, mistakes, heartaches, and love and the lines blurred between them. Austen gave up much in her life, but she maintained her wit, and if her novels are anything to judge by, she maintained her optimism as well. I sincerely hope so. And if not, I hope her wonderful stories were a comfort to her.

 

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fanfic, Original, Persuasion

Cordially, Anne

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Anne set aside yet another tear stained paper to dry for later use. Unlike her father she was too frugal to throw anything that could be of use away, even in her great heartbreak. She just could not bring herself to begin the awful letter. She knew that it had to be done. She knew that her heart was playing tricks on her, and this would pass like her sisters’ passing fancies. Yet her heart was ripping slowly and painfully into two misused, bloody halves. She could not write the letter.

Anne was shaking in her desk chair, but she hardly knew it. She was in a haze. She knew nothing, but her own pain. Her face was swollen and sallow from crying and her hair was falling down in ringlets around her face as it slipped from her pins in her current frantic disposition. She gripped her pen firmly and began to write.

My Darling Wentworth,

I love you more than I can bare, but I am prevented from marrying you. It is completely impossible and would only tear us both from loved ones for a life of poverty and isolation. Please do not hate me. Surely you can see it can never be? I must do what is best for both of us and for my family.

Your Most Ardently Devoted,

Anne Elliot

This brought on a fresh wave of agonized wailing that would have brought the whole household into her quarters had she not had a pillow at the ready in her lap to muffle her cries. She could not bare to be mocked by her sisters or father in this state, even if they did not intend it. Her family loved her, but they were not overrun with tact.

She mopped her sore, tired face with her handkerchief and allowed herself to drop this one page into the nearby fire so that seeing it again later could not revive the initial pang. She sat down solemnly and again picked up her pin.

My Dearest Wentworth,

Please do not ask me to explain, but only, I cannot marry you. Please do not be very sad. I fervently apologize for the pain this will cause you. Know that I hold you very dearly in my heart and respect you above all others, and know that I do this for both of us.

Yours Affectionately,

Anne Elliot

Even as she wrote her excuses she knew that she was cutting the strings that connected their two hearts one-by-one, and soon he would be lost to her forever. Each word stung more than the last, but she knew in time she would be numb to its affect. She would endure. Anne Elliot will always endure. And so, with a heavy heart, her hand met her pen once more. She knew what was necessary for them both. Make it quick. Do not drag the pain along for either party. It ends now.

My Dear Wentworth,

I must reject your offer of marriage. I apologize for any false encouragement I may have given you. I hope that we may part on good terms.

Cordially,

Anne

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Gender, Persuasion, Womanhood

On Gender–Part 3

It is no secret that Jane Austen’s novels were influenced by her life, but I believe that as she grew in maturity, Austen’s heroine’s grew with her. I think this is why for so many female readers her characters have different levels of relatability at separate times in their lives.

When I first read Sense and Sensibility at about fifteen, I could feel in convincing detail every single melodramatic emotion that Marianne felt and I wept with her when she wept. I fell a little bit in love with Willoughby, didn’t understand any Colonel Brandon that wasn’t Alan Rickman, and my heart was shattered when she was jilted. I even daydreamed about playing her in a mini-series before they actually released one. I knew I was the only girl who really understood Marianne Dashwood and could portray her with any justice. I was a very intense fifteen year-old.

And on my most recent reading of Emma, I connected with her much more than I had in junior high when I first read it. I know I’ve had my know-it-all moments where I wouldn’t budge and I’ve slipped up and said insensitive things that were meant in jest when I was on a rollĀ  exchanging humor with friends. I even understand why Frank Churchill is so irresistible either as a mate or just a friend. Too often I’ve fallen for the flirtatious guy who keeps pushing the joke just a little to close to the edge that you beg through giggles and exhausted tears to stop or at least keep his voice down. I know what it’s like to not know where the line falls between witty exchanges and flirting. I must admit that I have also daydreamed about playing Emma.

I love Persuasion’s story and I love the characters, but I can’t say that I entirely relate to Anne Elliot. I can fully understand her journey as I would like to consider myself an empathetic, imaginative person, but aside from her patience and endurance which I know all too well, I have never experienced a long-term separation like the one she had from Captain Wentworth If anything, I recognize qualities in her that I have seen in relatives that lost or were separated from a loved-one or sacrificed their own feelings for those of another. And I have certainly heard from others that they connect especially with Anne. I have not yet fantasized about playing her in any theatrical format.

Persuasion, like most of Austen’s novels, I think could only have been written from the first hand experience of a woman who had endured much and grown abundantly in wisdom. It follows a trend, I believe, of a woman who expressed her deepest passions and heartbreaks, as well as her silliest mistakes in pages that created an emotional depth that could not have been achieved purely from fantasy.

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