Persuasion Read-Along: Update 1

Chapters I – VI: Our host, Literary Adventures, has posted some questions for each chapter, I am using them for this update post.

Chapter I
Just reading this chapter, do you think it’s obvious that Anne is the heroine?

I don’t think at this point in the book I could view Anne as the stand-out for being the heroine in the story. You can certainly tell that Sir Walter Elliot only had eyes for his daughter Elizabeth as worthy of becoming a heroine. That being said, too much doting on her could steer one away from her as the one that would break the mold, I almost get the feeling you should be rooting for Lady Russell to swoop in and save the day. Which based on your question of Anne as the heroine I could extrapolate that Lady Russell’s love and admiration for the usefulness of Anne will be the driving factor that pushes her out of the weed and into full bloom.

Chapter II
Do you like Lady Russell? Why or why not?

Lady Russell seems like a fair, level-headed friend to the family. I think she could have suggested two other options to Sir Walter Elliot’s predicament that would have not spoken well of her character. She could have blabbed around town casting dishonor on the family or suggested a union between the two widows with her holding the purse strings on the future of the Kellynch-hall enlarging her holdings in the town.

Chapter II
What sort of “hold” or “views” might Mr. Shepherd have on Sir Walter?

For Sir Elliot, baronnet, the hints of Mr Sheppard, his agent, was very unwelcome.
Dated: 1898
Artist: C. E. Brock (died 1938)
{{PD-1923}} – Life of author + 70 years
Source: Wikimedia Commons

I’m not entirely sure about this question, it was how Chapter 2 opened, but to the exact end I can’t say I learned at this point. I do think that Mr. Shepherd may feel slighted that his precious daughter, hasn’t been selected as a new wife for Sir Walter, for men it was expected that they remarry after a period of mourning for their previous wife. At this point it had been 13 years since the death of his wife and he still had no intentions of marrying, leaving the burden of running a household to his daughter, Elizabeth, who should be off and married and leaving the runnings of Kellynch-hall to a new Lady Elliot.

Chapter II
Lady Russell says, “There will be nothing singular in his (Sir Walter’s) case; and it is singularity which often makes the worst part of our suffering, as it always does of our conduct.” What do you think of that statement?

Truth can be found in this statement, Sir Walter’s situation is not unique to him, it has been faced by many before him and will be faced by many after him. He must not dwell on the fact that he alone is facing such a predicament, but seek wisdom and direction in those that have come before him.

Chapter III
Do you think Mr. Shepherd purposely caused word about Kellynch to reach the Admiral via his London correspondent?

Yes, most definitely, I suspect he sent a dispatch prior to Sir Walter even agreeing to anything having to due with the fate of Kellynch-hall. I can’t say that I trust Mr. Shepherd at this point, I think he has other motives steering him.

Chapter III
What do you think Sir Walter did with his time? In Chapter 2 he is referred to as being an “obliging landlord.” Do you get the impression he was active with his tenants like Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley?

I don’t think Sir Walter did much with his time, for some reason I envision him sitting back and enjoying the day in the sitting room with his tea and reading his favorite book over and over. I don’t think he could be bothered with the everyday life of his tenants, he didn’t stay involved in their needs, but he didn’t interfere with them either, just let them be and fend for themselves.  Not having read Emma,  I have no impression as to Mr. Knightley, as for Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, I’d have to go back and re-evaluate that portion of the novel, it seems like he was attentive, but because I didn’t find myself loving the novel my remembrance is a bit fuzzy.

Chapter IV
How do you think Wentworth and Anne might have first become acquainted? Does it seem like the Elliot’s would have graced a general assembly ball with their presence? Or was the local curate actually on calling terms with Sir Walter?

No, I don’t see the Elliot family would have graced a common ball with their presence, far beneath their perceived social rank. I can almost see Anne peeking in and watching a general assembly ball, or a similar event, from afar in the shadows. She didn’t have the haughty air about her that Sir Walter and Elizabeth did, she likely would have felt comfortable in these surroundings, so Wentworth could have stumbled upon her and found her desirable because she was hidden.

Chapter IV
Why do you think Sir Walter (while refusing to do anything for her), didn’t go all the way and withhold his consent to the engagement?

Sir Walter wasn’t overly concerned with Anne’s well-being, in the back of his mind it might have been somewhat desirable of a match in the sense that he could disown her from the estate leaving all the more for Elizabeth. I’m also not entirely sure that he had much opportunity to either bless or disavow the match, as it seems like Lady Russell called the shots on the outcome of the engagement.

Chapter V
What do you think of Mary so far? And of Anne’s quiet management?

Mary fells very ill, and waits impatiently for Anne.
Dated: 1898
Artist: C. E. Brock (died 1938)
{{PD-1923}} – Life of author + 70 years
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mary, can I toss her out the door? Oh my, poor unfortunate me, the world hates me and I suffer so greatly. She is an irritant, that sends me into instant hate for her and would not get any votes from me for rooting for the underdog. Anne seems skilled enough to handle her and is able to mostly turn around Mary’s gloom and doom attitude.

Chapter VI
Dick Musgrove (aboard Captain Wentworth’s frigate) “…had, under the influence of his captain, written the only two letters which his father and mother had ever received from him during the whole of his absence; that is to say, the only two disinterested letters; all the rest had been mere applications for money.” How do you think this shows Captain Wentworth’s character?

One could view Wentworth as being an honorable man that respects his elders. He sees value in sharing life stories over just depending upon your connections in life to hand over the purse strings to you without any work on your part.  His prospective on life is different, he came from little and built his own reputation and wealth.

My overall impressions to this point:

So far the story is interesting and been able to keep my interest.  Sir Walter and Elizabeth, while not productive in keeping the situation of Kellynch-hall from happening, I don’t completely dislike them. Elizabeth, while weak for allowing herself to fall into the role of protector to her father, and him for coddling her so much. However, I think there is some understanding that because she was the oldest and no male heir existed the dynamics and pressure upon her and the need for the perfect match from a societal standpoint differs from the expectations for Mary and Anne. On the other hand, I don’t have a good impression of Mr. Shepherd, his daughter or Mary. These three I have no love for, Mr. Shepherd and his daughter stand out to me as having motives beyond being good friends and good neighbors. Mary is one of those that in real life rubs me the wrong way, sure we all have poor me moments, but seriously girl, suck it up and move on with your life, it will never get better if you continue to stay stuck in this rut. I can’t say that Anne stands out yet as a heroine, unless perhaps putting up with Mary counts, she hasn’t yet totally broken the mold and stood up and taken charge of her life, her dad, Elizabeth or Lady Russell.

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9 Responses to Persuasion Read-Along: Update 1

  1. I had some very strong feelings against the drama queen, Mary, but I have come to find her rather amusing. She provides great opportunities for Anne to shine.

    • Plethora ~ says:

      I can see that being possible, at this point we’ve just been introduced to Mary and her ways, so as Anne stays on I will get the chance to understand them both more.

  2. Wow, you did alot of work! For some reason I forget to answer questions on read-alongs. Bad me.

    Mary’s actions are a way to get attention, I suppose. She’s the youngest sister and her husband first chose someone else, so her self-esteem may be severely lacking. I wonder if Austen knew a Mary whom she didn’t like because both in this book and P&P, the Marys are not likeable characters.

    • Plethora ~ says:

      I love it when the host provide questions, makes it so much easier on me.

      Certainly one would assume it is Mary’s mechanism for attention, but she isn’t two anymore, grow-up and suck it up. I have little patience for that behavior in those that are old enough to have other means to obtain their end goal.

  3. Heidi says:

    I’m so glad you’re finding the questions helpful! And I was most interested to read all your answers. 🙂 Thanks for posting!!

  4. Heidi @ says:

    So….my name and address ran together on my previous comment. Ah, well…..

    • Plethora ~ says:

      That isn’t your fault, something with this theme I need to tweak. Drives me nuts aesthetically, even though the links work just fine. I have been wanting to figure that and a few other things out, buy just haven’t dedicated the time to it.

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