|“ What does persuasion mean - a firm belief, or the action of persuading someone to think something else? Anne Elliot is one of Austen's quietest heroines, but also one of the strongest and the most open to change. She lives at the time of the Napoleonic wars, a time of accident, adventure, the making of new fortunes and alliances.
A woman of no importance, she manoeuvres in her restricted circumstances as her long-time love Captain Wentworth did in the wars. Even though she is nearly thirty, well past the sell-by bloom of youth, Austen makes her win out for herself and for others like herself, in a regenerated society.” (Wordworths Classics edition cover)
Why did I start reading Jane Austen’s Persuasion? It all started with Lake House. I’ve seen the movie and the book is an important part of it. A story of waiting for the right moment talking of a book built on the same idea. I was curious, so when I saw it on a shelf of a bookstore, I took it home with me.
Published in 1817, after Jane Austen’s death, Persuasion is not a long novel, although the impatience for the story end might make it seem never-ending. It is a story of waiting patiently, hidden away from the world, for the moment when your heart will be finally filled with an unworldly happiness. Waiting when all hope is gone.
Anne Elliot, the books heroin, is a gentle, kind, loving creature. All her qualities are better spotlighted when compared with her two frivol, pride and limited sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, and even more when faced with her father’s character, a man of extreme vanity and values limited to rank.
Anne has given up her engagement to Captain Wentworth 8 years ago, as her family disapproved of their attachment and an older friend of hers (previously of her mother's who had died) advises her against such a marriage. The present financial circumstances of her family bring her close to Captain Wentworth again, as his sister and her husband will rent to home of the Elliots.
After eight years of waiting, Anne has to keep waiting silently as hurt pride, confusion and other ironies of life will prevent the two from being happy together. But when they finally reach the bond that has been postponed for so long, all is hastily settled. It seems to be happening a little bit too fast given how cold and few the previous encounters over almost a year have been. But after waiting for 8 and half years, I guess there really is no other way…
I wonder if such a story is possible today. Loving the same person for so long although he/she is not near, not in reach, not in news’ reach. Would that really be possible in the speed-light world of today? Eight years are now enough to meet someone, get married, have children, divorce and start a new relationship. A long distance relationship with a great degree of certainty (compared to just hoping for a miracle) has little chance of persistence…
Is the cause the hyperactivity we are caught in? Or the change of heart over “one love, only one, forever…”?Tags: Books, Book Reviews, Austen, Jane Austen, Persuasion