Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Persuasion and Prayers Read-Along: Day 13



Welcome to Day 13 of the Persuasion and Prayers Read-Along! You can follow along on this three-week discussion of Persuasion and The Prayers of Jane Austen by checking out the read-along tag or by clicking the button in the sidebar.

Today we're going to discuss chapters 21 and 22 of Persuasion. If you came prepared, go ahead and share your thoughts below! Otherwise, feel free to check in later today after you've had a chance to read today's chapters. 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 21 and 22

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

Quote to Ponder

"How she might have felt had there been no Captain Wentworth in the case, was not worth enquiry; for there was a Captain Wentworth; and be the conclusion of the present suspense good or bad, her affection would be his forever."

Honorable Mentions:

"What wild imaginations one forms where dear self is concerned! How sure to be mistaken!"  - Anne Elliot

"Facts or opinions which are to pass through the hands of so many, to be misconceived by folly in one, and ignorance in another, can hardly have much truth left." - Anne Elliot

Observation

The truth is out! Crisis averted, Anne's good opinion converted. (Couldn't resist!)

After watching the 1995 movie adaptation (hugs to you all who joined in!), it seems to me that the book's reality is even more unpleasant than the movie's. We're presented with all sorts of little details about Mr. Elliot's unkindness to Anne's family, to her dear friend Mrs. Smith (and the late Mr. Smith), and to his late wife. I appreciate Anne's willingness to give Mr. Elliot the benefit of the doubt and to distrust any gossip, but her dear friend has quite a bit to say against the man, making his general disposition and selfishness quite clear.

(Although I must say, I think Mrs. Smith's excuses for not coming out and revealing everything about Mr. Elliot right away flimsy at best. I would think that if Anne were going to marry Mr. Elliot, that she should be even more entitled to a warning! I greatly admire Mrs. Smith from former chapters, but I don't agree with her reasoning in this section.)

As for chapter 22, I feel like there are some interesting tidbits about Mr. Elliot and Captain Wentworth (love how obvious Wentworth's interest is in all things concerning Anne, even if he's still being too stubborn!), but overall it seems more of a set-up for the final scenes. Either that, or I was just too tired to completely appreciate what I was reading. ;) (Confession: I did close my eyes and rest for a bit while I was in the midst of the chapter. I think this section was longer than most of our other daily readings!)

Can't believe we'll be discussing the last two chapters tomorrow!

Question

If you were in Mrs. Smith's position, what would you have done? That is to say, if you knew some pretty awful things about the person your friend might be marrying, would you stay silent in hopes that things would work out all right, or would you tell your friend what you know, even if it could alter her future/relationship?

P.S. Would it make a difference to your response if you were living in Austen's time instead of today?

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!)

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Which quote to ponder, observation, and question/response would you like to share?

Join us tomorrow to discuss the last two chapters of the book: chapters 23 and 24!

5 comments:

Julie said...

Quote to ponder: "Your countenance perfectly informs me that you were in company last night with the person whom you think the most agreeable in the world, the person who interests you at this present time more than all the rest of the world put together." -Mrs. Smith

I had to laugh at this because here Mrs. Smith is thinking that she knows Anne must be thinking about Mr. Elliot and here Anne is thinking about Mr. Wentworth. Sigh...I really noticed in the movie adaptation that we watched last night the transformation of Anne's facial features as she and Wentworth were put together more and more. It is brought out in the book as well, but it is fun to actually see her blossoming on screen.

Honorable mention:

"Mr. Elliot is evidently a disingenuous, artificial, worldly man, who has had never any better principle to guide him than selfishness."

I'm so glad that Mr. Elliot's true character is finally coming out. I think we all knew there was something "not right" about his character.

Question:

If you were in Mrs. Smith's position, what would you have done? That is to say, if you knew some pretty awful things about the person your friend might be marrying, would you stay silent in hopes that things would work out all right, or would you tell your friend what you know, even if it could alter her future/relationship?

P.S. Would it make a difference to your response if you were living in Austen's time instead of today?

This is an interesting question for me. I was recently asked this by a friend. She had seen something and asked me if I would tell someone if I were in her place. My answer was that if I had a relationship with the person then by all means I would tell. I think as a friend it is our responsibility to save a friend from heartache if at all possible. If I knew something about Mr. Elliot that could possibly affect my friend if they were married then yes, I would tell her. I understand Mrs. Smith's motives in not wanting to tell if Anne totally had her heart set on Mr. Elliot, but in this case I think she would have been better to tell it. She was supposedly a close friend, it was her job to tell it. More of a friend than Lady Russell who looked to be trying to force Anne into a relationship with him before all was known. So my answer is, if there is relationship then there is responsibility. :)

Julie said...

P.S. YES! Today's chapters seemed to be never-ending! Holy Moly!

Amber Stokes said...

Julie,

Wasn't that so insightful of Mrs. Smith? Even if she did have the wrong person in mind when she said that. ;) It was definitely great to be able to see Anne's reactions to Wentworth and how they changed over time! I really enjoyed the watch-along. :)

Yes, so glad Mr. Elliot's intentions and character came to light! But I'm also glad that Anne didn't really need to be warned away from him, because her heart fully belonged to Wentworth. ♥

Regarding today's question, that's a wonderful answer! "If there is relationship then there is responsibility." Great food for thought! I was surprised that Mrs. Smith wouldn't have come out and said the truth about Mr. Elliot regardless of Anne's potential feelings about him, since it was no mere thing that Mr. Elliot had been so cruel and unfeeling and self-centered. Why would Mrs. Smith want to watch Anne have to live with that? I think that would have burdened Mrs. Smith's conscience if anything had come of Mr. Elliot's intentions toward Anne... But at the same time, it's hard to burst someone's bubble or tell the truth to someone who doesn't really want to hear it, so I can understand the feelings of reticence.

I think your response is spot-on, though!

~Amber

P.S. Seriously, right?? These two chapters were quite a bit longer than most of the preceding sections. Sorry about that! I didn't divide everything up evenly, exactly... ;)

Courtney Clark said...

My favorite quote is the same as yours, Amber!

I was so frustrated with Mrs. Smith in these chapters because she was first ENCOURAGING to Anne concerning Mr. Elliot! I think she should have been more forward in telling Anne all she knew of Mr. Elliot. I believe I would, in the same situation.

More quotes I loved:
"At nineteen, you know, one does not think very seriously." -Mrs. Smith

"It will be more painful to me in some respects to be in company with [Mr. Elliot], but I shall know better what to do. My line of conduct will be more direct." - Anne. Truth is painful but essential.

"It was a heartiness and a warmth and a sincerity which Anne delighted in the more, from the sad want of such blessings at home." I love how Anne feels so at home with the Musgroves! They are true friends to her.

On another note, Lady Russell has move up *just slightly* in my opinion because she is a book lover. At least, she loaned one to Elizabeth in chapter 22! :)

Amber Stokes said...

Courtney,

Oh, cool! It's a great one, for sure. :)

I so agree about Mrs. Smith. Perhaps I could understand being a little reticent to start bad-mouthing someone your friend is in love with, but to be flat-out encouraging when you know what a scoundrel he is...that's definitely frustrating and not really a good friend move! Honesty is so important, and one would think that it would be especially important to convey the truth about someone your friend is going to marry and likely spend the rest of her life with. As you note with one of the quotes you shared, "Truth is painful but essential." Nicely put!

Thank you for sharing some of your other favorite lines! I don't know if I caught the reference to Lady Russell loaning a book to Elizabeth...either that or I've forgotten (or I was too tired when I read it, haha). Good catch! And yes, we can hardly completely despise a fellow book lover, right? ;)

~Amber