Monday, July 6, 2015

Persuasion and Prayers Read-Along: Day 1



Welcome to the Persuasion and Prayers Read-Along! We're going to be reading and discussing Persuasion by Jane Austen Monday through Thursday for the next three weeks, and then The Prayers of Jane Austen on Friday for each of the three weeks. That should break down to discussing two chapters each active day of the Persuasion read-along, and one prayer each Friday.

There's also going to be a giveaway each week and a Twitter watch-along of the 1995 version of Persuasion at the end of the read-along. (I'm thinking Saturday, July 25th... More details to come!)

Phew! Hope that's not too complicated. :)

Today we're going to discuss the first two chapters of Persuasion. If you were aware of the read-along before today and came prepared, go ahead and share your thoughts below! Otherwise, feel free to check in later today or tomorrow morning after you've had a chance to check out today's reading. Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

P.S. If you're a blogger, please feel free to put together your own post using the button above and linking back to the Persuasion and Prayers Read-Along tag, if you'd prefer to participate in the discussion that way. :)

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Persuasion Chapters 1 and 2

Discussion Format: One quote to ponder, one observation, and one question for each day's reading.

Quote to Ponder

"After all, the person who has contracted debts must pay them; and though a great deal is due to the feelings of the gentleman, and the head of a house, like your father, there is still more due to the character of an honest man." ~ Lady Russell

Observation

These first two chapters give such interesting insight into Anne's (the heroine's) family and background. So much is said about her father and older sister (Elizabeth), and about Lady Russell's influence and connection with Anne. It's just so tragic to me that Anne's wisdom and sense of honor are overlooked because she's not the eldest, nor very beautiful, nor likely to win herself a "suitable" husband. The phrase "diamond in the rough" comes to mind, and this section has reminded me how I ought to be careful not to overlook those diamonds in my own family and circles.

Question

If you were an adviser to the Elliot family, what would you recommend they do about their debts?

(Live more frugally and stay in their own home despite the discomfort and blow to their pride? Move to a smaller house in the country so they can stay close to their own home and acquaintances? Or move to Bath as Lady Russell recommends, where they would be far away from gossip and the sorrow of seeing their home inhabited by someone else?)

Giveaway!

Don't forget to log your giveaway entries this week using the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win a hardcover copy of The Prayers of Jane Austen!

(Giveaway open to US residents only. Prize donated by the book's editor, Terry Glaspey. Thanks, Terry!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Join us tomorrow to chat about chapters 3 and 4!

9 comments:

Julie said...

You know, I could have sworn I read all of Jane Austen's books, but I am having a hard time remembering this story. Maybe as it progresses I will remember more of the story. Anyway...in just the first two chapters I can tell you I am not a fan of the father or Elizabeth. I think they are both self-centered and care only for their own comfort and nobody else's. That said, I would move to another town and then I wouldn't have to be faced with seeing my house let out nor seeing my neighbors looks of disdain whenever I chanced to meet them.

Amber Stokes said...

Julie,

It's so easy for details to go fuzzy when you read a ton of books! I guess that makes the re-reading experience that much better, though, right? :)

Yes, Anne's father and sister stood out to me in a not-so-good way, as well. "Self-centered" is a good word to describe their attitudes as they're portrayed by the narrator. Makes me very sad for Anne!

Those are some great reasons for moving to another town! I could sympathize with Anne's desire to stay near her home, but I agree that it would be really hard to see someone else living in your place... It's just unfortunate for Anne that the option everyone settles on involves the one town she doesn't care for. *sigh*

~Amber

Julie said...

Poor Anne is in for more trouble I think once she moves to Bath. The story is starting to come back to me. Anne does seem to be the only one with sense in this story so far. :)

Courtney Clark said...

A quote:
"But the usual fate of Anne attended her, in having something very opposite from her inclination fixed on." (on the decision to choose Bath)

An observation:
These first chapters seem to set up the story and characters well. We know that both Anne's father and sister, Elizabeth, seem selfish and uncaring of Anne's capabilities and wishes. This makes me feel sorry for her!
It's interesting that so much focus has been on Elizabeth thus far. It's as though Austen was explaining the character of Anne by saying "This is Elizabeth and her flaws, the opposite of Anne".

A question:
What in the world was their father thinking in mismanaging his income so horribly? How did he not realize his debt would effect his whole family adversely?


Julie said...

This is where we really see the selfishness in him. He was only thinking about his comforts and desires, not a future for his family. It seems he was a man that indulged his wants a bit too much. A person can get in that mode and be in trouble before they realize what happened. :(

I like what you said about "This is Elizabeth and her flaws, the opposite of Anne" I like how Austen gets to the heart of people's behavior.

Amber Stokes said...

Courtney,

Great quote! Although this is yet another example of "poor Anne"!

I agree with Julie that your observation is a very insightful one - and a very interesting way to look at Austen's approach. The character flaws in Anne's father and sister definitely make Anne's wisdom and sweetness of spirit shine all the brighter.

And yes, you do have to wonder how Anne's father got himself into this predicament! It's sad how someone's poor decisions can have consequences for all those around them. Julie makes a great point that Mr. Elliot is very much absorbed in his own interests and comforts, and money can disappear quickly that way... Something good for me to keep in mind!

Thanks so much for sharing!

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Julie,

From the synopsis and what I know of the story, I think you're quite right that Anne's troubles are far from over, poor girl! Thank you so much for all your insights and thoughtful contribution to the discussion. :)

~Amber

Maggie Jackson Nambot said...

I know I'm a few days behind! I got back from a week long vacation on Sunday night and I just noticed on Twitter that the read-along started this week! Fortunately, I just reread Persuasion, so I'm already caught up in the reading ;)

While I do think the best solution for most people would be to retrench and live more frugally, I think it was a smart decision for the Elliots to move to Bath. Sir Walter would not have been able to handle seeing someone else in his own house, and if he had stayed there, they would not have been able to reduce their spending.

And I agree with you about the "diamond in the rough" comparison! Anne is a true treasure in her family; it's very sad that her father and sisters don't notice that. This touches on later chapters, but one of my favorite qualities about Anne is how she brings out the best in those around her (i.e. Mary).

- Maggie @ macarons & paperbacks

Amber Stokes said...

Maggie,

No worries - you can jump in anytime you're able! I think it's awesome that you still took the time to join us. :) And yay for re-reading Persuasion!

That's a very good point that Sir Walter, as the head of the household, was the determining factor - and as you noted, he wouldn't have been able to handle seeing others in his house (he could barely handle choosing someone to rent the place while he lived elsewhere!), nor would he have the strength of will to live more frugally where he was.

Anne is definitely a treasure. :) And how awesome to hear that later on we'll see more about her bringing out the best in others! I'm looking forward to reading more about her character.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

~Amber