Thursday, July 23, 2015

Persuasion and Prayers Read-Along: Day 14



Welcome to Day 14 of the Persuasion and Prayers Read-Along! Today we're concluding Persuasion and tomorrow we'll conclude The Prayers of Jane Austen. (Bittersweet cheers that we've made it!)

You can catch up on previous posts from this three-week discussion by checking out the read-along tag or by clicking the button in the sidebar.

Today we're going to discuss chapters 23 and 24 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 23 and 24

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

Quote to Ponder

"Such a letter was not to be soon recovered from."

[This, my friends, is what I would call an understatement! As I said in a tweet after reading it...

That pretty much sums it up. *blissful sigh*]

Honorable Mentions:

[Because this ending has so many good quotes!]

"If I could explain to you all this, and all that a man can bear and do, and glories to do, for the sake of these treasures of his existence!"
- Captain Harville

[How utterly beautiful is the phrase "treasures of his existence" to describe a man's wife and children?]

"There could be only the most proper alacrity, a most obliging compliance for public view; and smiles reined in and spirits dancing in private rapture."

[Another gorgeous phrase - "spirits dancing in private rapture." Be still my heart! Or should I say, dance on, my heart!]

"There they returned again into the past, more exquisitely happy, perhaps, in their reunion than when it had been first projected; more tender, more tried, more fixed in a knowledge of each other's character, truth, and attachment; more equal to act, more justified in acting."

"There was nothing less for Lady Russell to do, than to admit that she had been pretty completely wrong, and to take up a new set of opinions and of hopes."

Observation

After reading this final section, I wonder if perhaps this book should have been titled Pride and Persuasion, because Captain Wentworth was long held back by pride and Anne had been persuaded to turn him away. ;) But this ending does bring about such satisfying resolutions for all that heartache and separation!

It's helpful to hear the reasons why Wentworth behaved the way he did throughout the book. And it's just lovely to know that his feelings for Anne remained, no matter how he tried to forget them or snuff them out.

One thing I found especially gratifying was the forgiveness and healing permeating the last chapter (although sadly Anne's family remains self-centered as always). Two of Anne's dearest friends, Lady Russell and Mrs. Smith, become Wentworth's allies, as well. Wentworth chooses not to harbor ill will against Lady Russell, and he completely champions Mrs. Smith in her need, atoning for Mr. Elliot's unkindness toward her. How sweet is that?

And while we're reminded that the life of a sailor is uncertain and the sacrifices can be great, we're left with the statement that Anne "gloried in being a sailor's wife."

I think Anne might echo Mrs. Croft's words from chapter 8: "I can safely say, that the happiest part of my life has been spent on board a ship. While we were together, you know, there was nothing to be feared."

I think Anne and Wentworth have a happy future ahead of them. ♥

Question

We've finished the book! What are your final thoughts? Where does Persuasion rank among the Jane Austen stories you know and love?

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

Join us tomorrow for a special discussion of one of Jane Austen's prayers! (If you'd like to read along, we'll be chatting about Part III of The Prayers of Jane Austen.)

10 comments:

Julie said...

Quote to Ponder:

(YES! That letter! Definitely sigh worthy!)

"He persisted in having loved none but her. She had never been supplanted. He never even believed himself to see her equal."

I love this! He tried to forget her, but there just was nobody else to take her place. I'm so glad they eventually met each other again and rekindled those memories of their past love.

Final Thoughts and Favorite Austen books:

I like what you said Amber about this book being called Pride and Persuasion. It would have fit perfectly. I totally loved seeing Anne's character develop a backbone. As a young girl she was persuaded by Lady Russell to give up her love of Wentworth, but having her love rekindled upon seeing him I enjoyed watching her bloom and become more independent. I've read all of Jane Austen's books except for Lady Susan. My favorite is Pride and Prejudice and next would be Emma.

I've enjoyed this read along and hope to be able to participate in others in the future! Thanks so much Amber for all of the fun!

Carissa Miller said...

I agree the letter was indeed sigh worthy. I loved just as much the second time reading it. Persuasion is my top Jane Austen novel. Followed by Pride and Prejudice. I still love Captain's Wentworth's letter more than Darcy's. No matter Captain Wentworth never stopped "loving" Anne and he couldn't forget her. There was no one else for him but her.

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Oh wow! This looks like a fabulous book. I should have totally found the time to participate in this. Ugh. I'm so far behind on EVERYTHING right now! Hopefully I'll be able to join in at some point!

Amber Stokes said...

Julie,

Captain Wentworth's letter = ♥

That other line you shared is beautiful! I, too, love the fact that no one could ever measure up to Anne - she was his one and only. So sweet!

I'm so glad you enjoyed the book and the read-along! I agree that it was great to watch Anne's transformation and to experience the rekindling of hope. And how neat to learn your favorites! I'm hoping to read both of those books sometime - perhaps during future read-alongs. ;)

Thank you for your faithful participation and your fabulous comments!

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Carissa,

Great to hear your thoughts! Sounds like Pride and Prejudice is a favorite for many, but that's neat that you enjoy Persuasion even more. That sort of "one and only" love is so inspiring and touching, isn't it? :)

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Renee,

Aw, I totally understand about feeling/being behind on everything! You should see the list of review books that have been waiting way too long for reviews... *sigh*

You're totally welcome to come back and check out the posts at any time! And maybe you'll be able to join a future read-along? :) As for The Prayers of Jane Austen, this is a completely biased comment, but I think it's a lovely little read, and I hope you agree if you check it out sometime! It's an inspiring gift book to keep by your bedside or give to a friend. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope we can catch up again soon!

~Amber

Courtney Clark said...

I FINALLY finished reading Persuasion last night. I have so many feelings!

First, that letter. It is perfection. And these two chapters have no shortage of lovely quotes. You all have shared some of the best ones!

I just love how happy Anne and Captain Wentworth were at the end. Of course, I knew how it would end, but to see how their trials brought them together in complete happiness was wonderful. And that Wentworth finally shared his thoughts and reasons behind his previously-frustrating actions made me forgive him ;). Also, I am a huge fan of the way Austen tied everything together in the last chapter and didn't leave any lingering questions about the other characters.

Because it's been a few years since I've read any of Austen's other novels, I can't quite say how Persuasion ranks. But I did love it, so it will be pretty high! I think the 2005 Pride & Prejudice is still my favorite movie adaptation of them all, but that's another subject....

I'll leave you with one more quote from chapter 23:
"...and soon words enough had passed between them to decide their direction towards the comparatively quiet and retired gravel walk, where the power of conversation would make the present hour a blessing indeed, and prepare it for all the immortality which the happiest recollections of their own future lives could bestow."

Amber Stokes said...

Courtney,

Yay! I'm so glad you loved the story and the outcome. :) And, of course, that wonderful letter!

One of your comments raised the question: Do you generally prefer books with neatly wrapped-up endings, or do you also enjoy stories with somewhat open endings? Do you like when the author lays everything out, or do you like being able to imagine some of what's in store for the characters? Just curious (as an author and fellow reader)!

Well, we shall have to read more Jane Austen novels so we can compare, am I right?? ;) And we should totally have a discussion about movie adaptations sometime. (Not that we haven't already on Twitter...but maybe a blogging discussion about our favorite Austen adaptations and why we love them, since we can ramble on longer here than on Twitter. ;))

And such a lovely quote to close the comment! Thank you so much for your participation in the read-along and all your thoughtful comments. ♥

~Amber

Courtney Clark said...

Amber, THANK YOU for hosting this read-along!!! It has been so much fun. The discussion have enriched the story, I think.

That's a great question concerning endings! To answer, I think I prefer an ending that is wrapped up -- at least a little bit. Some direction as to what is next is good. But, as long as there are no lingering questions concerning a major plot point, I am ok with imagining what's next. So maybe a bit of both?

Yes, we should read more Austen novels together!!! Sign me up :)

Amber Stokes said...

Courtney,

It's completely my pleasure! I've loved our discussions. :)

And I hear you! I love happy endings...but I also like having room to imagine the details of what comes next. I like last scenes/lines that resonate, providing a sense of coming full circle and hinting at what lies ahead without dragging on unnecessarily and spoiling the joy of a perfectly placed/timed conclusion. I'm not asking for much, right?? ;)

Yay for more Austen read-alongs! Happy to have you on board!

~Amber