Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Persuasion and Prayers Read-Along: Day 7



Welcome to Day 7 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 11 and 12 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 11 and 12

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

Quote to Ponder

"Anne could not but be amused at the idea of her coming to Lyme to preach patience and resignation to a young man whom she had never seen before; nor could she help fearing, on more serious reflection, that, like many other great moralists and preachers, she had been eloquent on a point in which her own conduct would ill bear examination."

[Side note: I'm getting ahead of myself, but this quote reminds me of Jane Austen's prayers! Consider this line from Part III of The Prayers of Jane Austen: "Incline us, O God, to think humbly of ourselves, to be severe only in the examination of our own conduct, to consider our fellow-creatures with kindness, and to judge of all they say and do with that charity which we would desire from them ourselves."]

Honorable Mention:

"She ventured to hope he did not always read only poetry, and to say, that she thought it was the misfortune of poetry to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely; and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly."

[Side note: These thoughts on poetry could very well suit the heroine of Morning Glory, my current WIP. So I had to include it! Plus, as a fan of poetry, I find this a good warning to remember.]

Observation

Some of you have brought this up before, but it's interesting to me that so much happens around Anne. As the heroine of the book, she instigates very little and is forced to react to quite a lot.

In these chapters, she is caught up in Louisa's scheme to bring their group to Lyme; she is introduced to Captain Wentworth's friends and feels the need to befriend Captain Benwick (a kindred spirit, of a sort); she is brought along for their one last walk along the coast; she is called upon to give advice in caring for Louisa, whose eagerness and stubborn (dare I say immature?) spirit caused her to fall; she is asked to stay and care for Louisa (which she'd like to do), but then is sent away so Mary can take her place (so she must endure Wentworth's quiet "displeasure"). In short, poor Anne is pulled this way and that and barely has a chance to make up her own mind or set her own course!

But perhaps Louisa's flighty choices have made Anne's quiet constancy shine all the brighter?

Wentworth certainly has his moments of noticing Anne's brilliance. In times of trial, he turns to her for advice and trustworthiness. And Austen made sure we understood that Wentworth noticed when Anne was gaining attention from other men! But I'm feeling torn, especially with the discussion from yesterday and then Wentworth's odd behavior in these chapters...

Question

Anne appears to value Wentworth's attention and his "care" of her very highly: from his noticing she needed rest (back in chapter 10), to his choosing her to stay behind with Louisa - and then asking for her opinion on whether or not his plan was a good one.

Do you believe that Wentworth's intentions are noble? Do his actions and thoughts regarding Anne arise from genuine concern and admiration? Or is Anne seeing only what she wants to see? 

(Forgive me if this question seems irrelevant based on what happens later in the story! I'm curious, though, if you have any supporting evidence solely from what we've read so far. :))

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 chapters 13 and 14!

6 comments:

Julie said...

Quote to ponder: "By this time the report of the accident had spread among the workmen and boatmen about the Cobb, and many were collected near them, to be useful if wanted; at any rate, to enjoy the sight of a dead young lady, nay, two dead young ladies, for it proved twice as fine as the first report."

I can't help myself! I love Jane Austen's humor! This quote just cracked me up so I had to use it ;)

"Do not you think, Anne, it is being over-scrupulous? Do not you think it is quite a mistaken point of conscience, when a clergyman sacrifices his health for the sake of duties which may be just as well performed by another person?"

This is Henrietta talking about trying to coax Dr. and Mrs. Shirley to move to Lyme. Again the way the characters think kind of cracks me up. If it isn't convenient for you then certainly you should shirk all of your duties for more comfort. It just amused me.

"But she(Anne)was yet more anxious for the possibility of Lady Russell and Captain Wentworth never meeting anywhere. They did not like each other, and no renewal of acquaintance now could do any good"

I'm not liking this Lady Russell woman. She seems to take delight in ruining relationships.

Question for today:

Do you believe that Wentworth's intentions are noble? Do his actions and thoughts regarding Anne arise from genuine concern and admiration? Or is Anne seeing only what she wants to see?

I'm thinking that as the reader we aren't aware of some of the nuances that are going on with Wentworth and Anne. Also we are not privy to what their relationship was before the breakup. Maybe Anne really does know what his motives are and that is what is causing the warm fuzzies for her whenever he pushes for her to stay, go, be tired or whatever. At first I thought he was being a bitter jilted suitor, but now I am wondering if he does still admire her and is confused about those feelings.

Amber Stokes said...

Julie,

You always point out such witty quotes! Austen's humor is great - the way she observes the quirkiness of human beings. ;) Thanks for sharing those!

And thank you for your response to today's discussion question! It's true that we know so little, as far as specifics go, about the nature of their previous relationship, and there definitely seems to be a lot of subtext going on between them. Maybe the two of them are so close as far as understanding each other that Wentworth knew Anne's needs before they could enter her own thoughts. :) I suppose I'll have to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one! *chuckles*

I'd agree with your assessment that Wentworth still admires Anne but doesn't want to acknowledge it, which leaves his heart and his behavior/demeanor a little out of whack...

~Amber

Julie said...

I do like the amusing side of life! It is so much better to laugh than cry :)

Courtney Clark said...

"I always look upon her as able to persuade a person to anything!" (Henrietta to Anne, speaking of Lady Russell.)

Further proof that Lady Russell is meddling and a control freak. I'm still not a fan of her :)

"She thought it could scarcely escape him to feel that a persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favor of happiness as a very resolute character." (Anne, of Wentworth's previous opinions of character in light of Louisa's rash decisions)

I find it interesting the number of times the word "persuade" or "persuadable" is used in this story. Austen clearly did it on purpose. I think it illustrates the fine line between being gullible and agreeable. AND the importance of "firmness of character" or remaining steadfast in one's beliefs.

Do I think Wentworth's intentions are noble, etc? Yes, I do. I have to agree with Julie, there is likely much that's happened we are not privy to which influences Anne's perspective or his demeanor. He is still frustrating to me, though! Like I mentioned to Kara on Twitter, he does have some growing to do to become the rightful hero of this story.

Amber Stokes said...

Julie,

I think this pin sums it up well! Laughter is good for the soul, and Austen is great at writing amusing scenes and lines. :)

~Amber

Amber Stokes said...

Courtney,

Lady Russell's strong personality and manipulative ways are definitely frustrating!

I'm totally with you - Austen sure does use the word "persuasion" and its various forms a lot in this book, doesn't she? It drives the point home, for sure! How all of us are "persuaded" in so many different ways, and sometimes we need those nudges from those who are wiser and more mature, and sometimes we need to stand by our convictions, regardless of what advice others give. I love that quote you shared! It does show that sometimes we need to be persuadable in some sense of the word. How else can compromise happen or learning occur?

I agree that Captain Wentworth is a *little* frustrating right now and could use with a bit of maturing in matters of the heart. ;) We're approaching the end of the book at a rapid pace now...so any time now would be great, Wentworth! Haha.

Thank you for another great comment, Courtney!

~Amber