Persuasion, Ch. 7-12

WOW, a lot happens in these chapters! I tend to think of the key events in Lyme occurring much later, though actually we’re halfway through the book in terms of chapters.

(I’m getting sick and I feel a bit loopy, so if anything I say makes no sense, please let me know.)

Ch. 7
In light of Louisa’s fall, it’s hard not to think of Charles Musgrove Jr.’s as unconnected. I also wanted to point out that he is our first instance, I believe, of real illness in the novel (excepting Lady Elliot, who died off-screen, so to speak).

More instances of a general reaction or sentiment which Anne is not part of. Also, more instances of people saying exactly what’s going to be most upsetting to her, without having any idea that they’ve done so.

In Ch. 7 we have reason vs. feeling, when Anne tries to talk herself out of her agitation after first seeing Wentworth. Interesting to have the themes of S&S revisited.

We also get a bit from Wentworth himself, enough to confirm that at this point in the story his feelings are much as Anne had imagined them.

Ch. 8

I noted last time that Anne listens a lot; here we have Wentworth talking based on the qualification of his profession and his disposition.

“It was perpetual estrangement.” I love how Austen puts things.

We do also see Wentworth being kind to Mrs. Musgrove about Richard, when his immediate reaction is one of horror and disgust.

I’m never sure how to read Austen’s bits about large fat sighings, which seem so much more trenchant than anything else she ever published. Her letters can be fairly sharp, and this seems much more in that tone.

Friendship comes up several times here, and in the following chapters.

Ch. 9

I really like the Crofts; I always have. They seem like such a nice couple and there’s that great image at the beginning of this chapter, of them going around to inspect everything together.

Charles Hayter has “chosen to be a scholar and a gentleman” based on some pretty slim connections. Oddly, this makes me think of Great Expectations.

There’s a sense in Persuasion of old ways dying out slowly, and being replaced with new. This is personified in three of the men we see: Charles Hayter, Charles Musgrove, and Mr. Elliot, all of whom are waiting eagerly to inherit the land they’re heirs to. All three plan to usher in a new era.

Ch. 10

“a little fever of admiration”–another great phrase!

Here we have Anne indulging herself in a little poetry. Which Capt. Benwick also does, but not as sympathetically.

I think we’ve had a number of times now where Anne understands Wentworth, or believes that she does (though so far I think she’s mostly been borne out). Also she feels his care for her is an “impulse of pure, though unacknowledged, friendship.”

Ch. 11

So they all go to Lyme and Austen treats us to a downright lyrical description of the town and its surroundings, though as far as I can tell, our party never visit the ones which receive the most praise.

We’re obviously meant to contrast the story of Fanny Harville and Capt. Benwick with Anne and Wentworth, but it’s also interesting to note that there’s nothing terribly unusual here, as far as I can tell.

More on poetry, wherein Austen makes it clear that she, as well as Anne and Benwick, is up on the latest poets.

“she had been eloquent on a point in which her own conduct would ill bear examination”–quite.

Ch. 12

Lady Russell is generally known as able to persuade anyone to anything.

The first meeting with Mr. Elliot. Impressions from others?

I’ve been noticing that men are affected by emotion as well as women. Capt. Benwick is essentially sinking into a decline; Wentworth is too overcome to speak to Anne at one point (besides his reaction to Louisa’s fall); Harville also is too affected by his sister’s death to renew the subject.

I’m never sure what Captain Wentworth actually thinks of Anne at the end of this chapter.

One of the other things I noticed in these chapters is that Austen very careful delineates several instance when people should allow themselves to be persuaded and do not (Mary and the dinner party, Louisa and the Cobb). Anne even says as much: “[she] wondered whether it occurred to him now, to question the justness of his own previous opinion as to the universal felicity and advantage of firmness of character.”


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