Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Persuasion and Prayers Read-Along: Day 2



Welcome to Day 2 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 3 and 4 of Persuasion. If you 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 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 3 and 4

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

Quote to Ponder

"She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older: the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning."

[Side note: These two chapters were full of great quotes - it was hard to pick just one! So I'm cheating and sharing my honorable mentions below... Which line from this section was your favorite?]

Honorable Mentions:

"Anne, at seven and twenty, thought very differently from what she had been made to think at nineteen."

"Had she not imagined herself consulting his good, even more than her own, she could hardly have given him up."

"A lady, without a family, was the very best preserver of furniture in the world."

"The navy, I think, who have done so much for us, have at least an equal claim with any other set of men, for all the comforts and all the privileges which any home can give."

"We are not all born to be handsome."

Observation

In these two chapters, we go from the reasons why Admiral Croft and his wife would make great candidates for renting the Elliots' home, to the reason why Anne is still unmarried. I feel like this is almost an extension of the "diamond in the rough" theme from the first two chapters, in that sailors (while sometimes weather-worn and from a different class than the Elliots) sacrifice much in the military and can make for trustworthy men, and sometimes the cast-aside love interest is really the one who would have made you the happiest. Caution and prudence have their place for sure, but this reading reminds me that too-quick or too-harsh judgments can sadly limit our relationships.

Question

Do you believe Anne was unwise in breaking her engagement?

(Going deeper: How much should someone rely on the well-intended advice of family and trusted friends in matters of the heart? Do you believe it's possible for two people to be right for each other while the timing and maturity levels are all wrong?)

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 chat about chapters 5 and 6!

11 comments:

Julie said...

Observations: Roles in class distinction always interest me. The snootiness of the Elliot's while discussing whether a man of the sea would be a suitable person to rent their home had me rolling my eyes and cracking up at the same time.

Quotes:

"Sir Walter, what I would take leave to suggest is, that if in consequence of any rumours getting abroad of your intention; which must be contemplated as a possible thing, because we know how difficult it is to keep the actions and designs of one part of the world from the notice and curiosity of the other..."

(reminded me of nosey neighbors!)

Honorable mentions: "Mr. Wentworth, the curate of Monkford. You misled me by the term gentleman. I thought you were speaking of some man of property..."

There were as you say so many more! A couple that you chose stood out to me as well!

Questions:

Do you believe Anne was unwise in breaking her engagement?

(Going deeper: How much should someone rely on the well-intended advice of family and trusted friends in matters of the heart? Do you believe it's possible for two people to be right for each other while the timing and maturity levels are all wrong?)

As one of the quotes you quoted noted, we tend to be more mature at 27 than we are at 19. At least that is the way things should go. So in answer to both of your questions at 19 poor Anne was young and naive and probably had no choice but to rely on the advice of friends. While she was deeply in love, at that age it is hard to stand firm when everyone around you is saying it isn't in your best interest. So should she have broken off the engagement? I don't see that she really had a choice, when everyone around you is saying it isn't the best thing it is hard not to be influenced especially by those you look up to and admire. And especially if you have a tender heart like Anne seems to have.


Carissa Miller said...


I do believe its possible for two people to be right for each other while the timing and maturity levels are all wrong, because for one thing human timing is not God's timing. That the first time they meet its when they are too young to be "right" for each other but it's just to get to know each other, and they are going to meet again when the time is "right"

Amber Stokes said...

Julie,

There's definitely lots of call for eye-rolling when it comes to Mr. Elliot's view of those in lower classes! Sheesh. But as you say, it's amusing in a way to see just how silly people can be in how they judge others. (Spoiler: I love how this is addressed at the beginning of tomorrow's reading! Chapter 5 has a hilarious comparison between Mr. Elliot and Admiral Croft. :))

Those quotes... LOL. Nice choices. ;) Humans sadly thrive on gossip, don't we?

Great thoughts on today's discussion question! Anne truly does seem to have a tender heart, and Austen does emphasize that Anne simply couldn't hold up against her trusted friend and mentor's disapproval. I wonder what would have happened if Anne hadn't broken the engagement... Would she have driven a wedge in her friendship with Lady Russell? Would her family have cast her aside - if not legally, at least socially and emotionally (with what little exists of their emotional attachment)? And would it really have been an impossibility for her to go against her loved ones' wishes, because that would against her very nature?

Interesting thoughts to ponder!

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Carissa,

Lovely thoughts. :) I think it's so neat to hear real-life stories about people who were sweethearts when they were younger - or at least one of the pair loved the other - but they didn't get together until much later in life. God's timing is definitely not ours! And yet, as much as we bemoan the wait, God does use that maturing time for our ultimate good. Something that's easy to understand in hindsight, but SO hard to appreciate when you're on the younger side of the spectrum!

~Amber

Courtney Clark said...

I love your choice of quotes, Amber! And I almost picked "A lady, without a family, was the very best preserver of furniture in the world." It is, at the same time, serious and witty.

To answer your question, I agree with Julie, that Anne was naive and influenced to make her decision. She obviously missed an opportunity to have love and happiness (yay for second chances in this story!). But, Anne's young self was at the mercy of her advisers.

A quote:
"It would be difficult to say which had seen highest perfection in the other, or which had been the happiest, - she, in receiving his declarations and proposals, or he in having them accepted." chapter 4

To me, that quote is very descriptive of their relationship. Obviously they were happy together. And, this alludes to Anne's selflessness (in contrast to the rest of her family) in that she held him in high regard.

An observation:
Apparently after Wentworth was put off, Anne also turned down Charles Musgrove, who proceeded to marry her sister, Mary. This fact is new to me. Somehow I missed this tidbit in watching the 2007 movie (Or was it even mentioned?). I think it must have some influence on the dynamic of Anne's relationship with the Musgroves.

Amber Stokes said...

Courtney,

Thank you! There were so many great ones to choose from, so I couldn't resist cheating and sharing more. ;) (I wanted to keep the discussion posts fairly simple and doable for each day, but we can make exceptions, right?)

And isn't that one about furniture so true? Hilariously so! ;)

Yay for second chances, indeed! That's such a happy aspect of this story.

Love the quote you chose! Such a sweet encapsulation of young love.

And yes, that is a great observation! I found it interesting, too, that Anne was the one whom Charles proposed to first. On a surface level, that doesn't seem to make things too awkward between her and the Musgroves, but I would imagine that there would likely be at least some sort of undercurrent at times.

~Amber

Maggie Jackson Nambot said...

I love your "going deeper" question! I've started to wonder if it was an option for Anne to just prolong the engagement? My perception of her and Wentworth's relationship is that they met one summer, fell in love, and before he went off to the navy they became engaged and subsequently parted. Was it not an option back then to remain engaged until he had secured a living to satisfy Anne's family? That would have removed a lot of heartbreak! Then again, we'd have no story ;)

- Maggie @ macarons & paperbacks

Courtney Clark said...

Maggie, I wondered, too, if that was an option! Of course, we wouldn't have this story, but it sure would have been easier for the characters!

Amber Stokes said...

Maggie,

Aww, thank you! And that's a wonderful question! You and Courtney make an excellent point that prolonging the engagement could have been just the solution Anne and Captain Wentworth needed.

If my understanding is correct, didn't Jane Austen's sister have a prolonged engagement? (Here's an article about Cassandra. Note the fourth paragraph down.) I'm not sure if it's the same sort of circumstance, but it seems to me that a longer engagement could have been an option back then! I wonder, though, if Anne called the engagement off because she thought her father and Lady Russell would never approve of Captain Wentworth? Being only 19 years old, it might have been hard for Anne to envision a future where things could be different - and it's easy to be overdramatic about things when we're younger. :)

Just some thoughts! Curious to hear what you guys think!

~Amber

Maggie Jackson Nambot said...

Thanks for sharing that article, Amber! It was very interesting. I knew Jane's sister Cassandra was engaged before her fiancé died tragically, but I didn't know how long they were engaged for.

That's a good theory you have, though, that Anne called off her engagement because her family would never approve of Captain Wentworth. I guess since she was so much younger and more susceptible to persuasion, she didn't quite think through all of her options. It's funny; when I think about this situation happening today, I'm more likely to believe that a 19-year old will run off and elope with someone instead of listening to his/her parents' disapproving remarks and persuasions.

Amber Stokes said...

Maggie,

You're welcome!

Agreed about Anne - "more susceptible to persuasion" is a perfect way to describe her younger self. It would have been hard for a girl her age and with her personality to envision things changing so drastically when she got older, I think!

And that's an interesting point about today's young adults! I think that's definitely a more prevalent attitude, for sure. Perhaps "persuasion" doesn't have as much weight in our society? Or perhaps young people are more likely to let people and things outside of their family and close friends persuade and influence their choices?

It does make you wonder how much is universal and how much is based on our culture and society when it comes to human tendencies. Plus, personality plays a big part! I think I'm a little more like Anne in seeking my family's opinions and being persuaded by them...

Lots of good stuff to think about! Thanks for the great discussion. :)

~Amber