Persuasion, Jane Austen – The Odd One Out?

“Anne hoped she had outlived the age of blushing; but the age of emotion she certainly had not.” 

Persuasion tells the story of Anne Elliot, who was persuaded to break off her engagement to the man she loved because he was not successful enough – though has never forgotten him. When he returns, he brings with him a tantalising second chance of happiness.

This is the last novel Austen wrote and published before her death – which is evident in her writing, being greatly improved when compared to Sense and Sensibility (her first novel).

Austen follows her female protagonist of Anne through the novel. She is an older and more mature character (perhaps reflecting Austen’s own state), presenting to the reader a calm, sensible and reflective or often peaceful voice. I liked this; it was a welcome change to the young emotion-driven girls of Austen’s previous novels.

Persuasion had a good plot, with unexpected twists to keep the reader engaged and interested –  although typical to Austen’s stories, the conclusion was extremely predictable before I even started reading. Yet, the turns in the plot still kept the reader in suspense and impatient for the happy ending through all the novel, stoping it from becoming boring or tedious!

I particularly liked the use of setting through the novel: it was set  in the countryside, the seaside and the town of Bath. With these contrasting areas you may expect the plot to become confusing and the different places distracting, but Austen skilfully employs these settings in such a way that they are all locations for important and symbolic events. The contrast of town and country is a technique Austen used in all her writing, and something I always look out for when reading her work. The fact that Bath is used in this novel, which is the town where she lived, furthers my idea that this is a novel greatly influenced by Austen’s own later life, and therefore a book of personal importance.

I liked this novel, and became more engrossed in it as I continued reading. I can see though why it is not the most popular of Austen’s novels: it has a more mature feel to it, making it seem different from the rest. Yet this contrast does not make it worse. in fact, I like it even more because of it!



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