Welcome to week 2 of our Persuasion Read-a-Long. This week we are discussing chapters 7 -13. SO MUCH happens in these chapters. We go from 0- 60 in one moment. How? Why? Well, we finally get to meet our hero: Captain Wentworth.
A lot of time is spent with Anne who is trying to prepare herself to face her one regret in life. We are more immersed in her emotions, but every so often the point of view takes a moment to see things briefly from his point of view.
Some things I notice as we progress:
- Anne is not misinterpreting Wentworth’s feelings about her. He comments about his anger in moments when he is the narrator. Even during Anne’s POV narration, he makes comments that clearly show his anger towards her.
- Dick Musgrove… insert eye rolls here. It’s clear there is a romanticism because he is dead, but only on the part of his mother. Clearly Captain Wentworth had no love for him either. I always wondered why Dick was part of this story and I still do. What do you think he accomplishes in the story? Is there something I am missing?
- The Crofts are probably the healthiest, established couple in ANY Austen novel. They are clearly in a partnership of equals. I mean healthy by modern standards.
- Other than Anne, all the Elliot family members are snobs. I think Mary might be the worst because I am pretty sure she thinks she married down and use that to elevate herself in their company.
- The difference between Louisa and Henrietta’s opinion on Lady Russell are fascinating. One values and looks up to her, the other sees her as having too much influence over people.
Can we talk about the carriage scene a bit? The one where Captain Wentworth deviates from his strained politeness towards Anne, recognizes her exhaustion and need for a break, and arranges to help her. It’s one of my favorite scenes in the novel. Part of what I love about this novel, the love story part specifically, is their relationship wasn’t very long, but they learned so much about each other in that time. He can’t distance himself from what he knows and neither can she. They read each other’s emotions, reactions, and needs as if they spent year together. They spent the next 8 years apart, but working through the relationships in their own minds. She leans towards regret, he towards anger because there has never been anything to contradict those emotions.
The other big event is Louisa’s accident in Lyme. I remember when I first read Capt. Wentworth reaction, his regret at allowing Louisa to be an idiot. The idea of being headstrong and stubborn versus flexible and easily persuaded. In the current world, this is something we still struggle with. Wentworth has the epiphany that maybe listening to the input of others may not make a person weak. It is probably the moment he changes his mind about his feelings for Anne.
What about you? Did you catch something that I didn’t mention? Any quotes stand out? Share in the comments!