Saturday, January 26, 2013

Persuasion: Wrapping it Up

"As she spoke, she felt that Captain Wentworth was looking at her; the consciousness of which vexed and embarrassed her, and made her regret that she had said so much, simple as it was."

I've had a marvelous time with this reread, but now it is time to wrap it up.  I never want the end to come, lovely though it is, because it's the anticipation and anguish that thrills me.  Endings are so...final.

A conversation between Mrs. Musgrove and Mrs. Croft about the preference of a short engagement to a long engagement made me stop and muse for a while.  I was engaged to be married for 8-9 months, and it was only that long because we had to graduate from high school before getting married (a stipulation put forth by the judge!)  We were an unusual case to say the least.  What is your own opinion about the length of an engagement?  Had a couple better go ahead and get married once they decide to do so?  Or had they better wait and make sure they are financially secure first?

"Place it before Anne."
(Find more photos at Molland's)
Jane Austen begins the last chapter of this book with a note about the moral of the story.  In an age where (as Anne herself mentions at Lyme) novels were expected to support the notion of morality and encourage one on the path of duty, she admits that her argument for love over prudence might be "bad morality to conclude with, though she also asserts that she believes it to "be truth."  One of the compelling things about the Regency Era is how pivotal it was in many ways, including women's role in society, and preference to the individual's desires over the status quo.

Reading it this time around made me realize even more that the reason I love this book is largely because of how closely I identify with Anne.  I just feel the whole book--feeling overlooked and undervalued, convincing yourself to accept your lot in life and giving in to other people's opinions, not fitting in with the 'norm' and wanting more out of life, etc.  Because I feel like that pretty much all the time, I never really know when it's important to stand up for myself.  Putting that on paper makes it sound a little silly to my ears, but there it is.  Again, I feel like Anne: regretting that I "said so much, simple as it was."

This was my 3rd? 4th? time reading this book, and it never fails to disappoint me.  How could it when it makes me feel so understood?

If you wish to follow my whole journey through Persuasion, follow these links!

6 comments:

  1. I have this gorgeous copy of Persuasion (I'm collecting the Belknap annotated editions) but I've never read the book. It's my coworker's favorite book--not just favorite Austen, but favorite book, and what you've said about speaks to me.

    I'd forgotten that you'd married so young, so I'd be curious what *your* thoughts were about having to wait until graduation to get married.

    I myself had an engagement that was several months long, but I'd been with the fella for a few years.

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    1. After experiencing this annotated edition and really enjoying it, I've decided to collect them as well. The Northanger Abbey one should be especially helpful and fun...I just have to be patient for them to be released (looks like one a year.)

      I really think that the length of the engagement depends on the couple, although I do think that one shouldn't draw it out simply to please other people. In my case, it was a very good & necessary thing that it was as long as it was, but I'm glad it wasn't any longer! I am told, however, that neither of us were very attentive friends to any one else that year! Oh well. :)

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  2. Your love of this book comes straight through your posts. As your blogger friend I sit in awe of how you chose your life path so early on and created such a lovely family. And I mean serious awe. I would not have been successful at picking my life mate at 17.

    I never really know when it's important to stand up for myself.

    This can only come with age. The older I get, the more I realize that there are really precious few things for which I need to stand up for myself and the rest will sort itself out all on its own. I feel less and less inclined to defend my actions at my advanced age of 46.

    Didn't mean to get all philosophical on you... carry on.

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    1. I enjoyed all your philosophy. :) I don't know how much credit I can take for how my life has turned out...my husband and I both find it vital to keep God at our center, and I suspect most of the credit should be aimed in that direction! I do know that I looked at my wedding photos a few years after I'd gotten married (with a new wee one of my own) and was shocked by how young we'd been. I called my mom and asked her how on earth they'd been okay with it, and she just said that she knew I would have done it anyway so they might as well support us. Great momma. So, maybe that means that I was more sure of myself back then? I sure don't remember feeling like it...I have no idea!

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  3. Motherhood makes us second guess where we never have before - right? Now those are great momma words that I can learn from as I try not micromanage my 15 year old son in his school choices. This is his life and I am only here to cheer him on and catch him when he falls. Much harder to practice in real life that I could have ever guessed.

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  4. Oh yes and good job at keeping Him at the center.

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