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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Friday, April 26, 2019

An Austen mini-quiz about Persuasion

This evening, I happened, quite by accident, upon another of the few thousand gems of brilliant, subtle interconnectivity hidden in plain sight in Austen's fiction. It occurred to me that it would make a lovely question for a mini-quiz. 

I found it in Persuasion, and here's the quiz. If a poll were taken of Janeites who love Persuasion and who know the novel really well, and they were asked which other characters in the novel Anne Elliot would have been LEAST likely to have been influenced by, I feel safe in claiming that most such readers would name Mrs. Clay as one of the top three answers, with strong competition from Anne's father and her sister Mary  - or if the three of them were Disney characters,we might call them Sneaky, Snobby, & Whiny.  ;)

Therefore, I was delighted to catch Jane Austen in the act of playing a sublimely subversive trick on her heroine, Anne, and on her trusting readers who see through Anne's eyes, by parading an example right before our eyes of Anne unconsciously echoing Mrs. Clay in a way that is nontrivial, in fact it goes to the heart of the romance of the novel

Can you guess, or if you have the time, search for and find, the two passages in Persuasion which provide the basis for my seemingly absurd claim?

If no one provides the answer by Saturday morning, I will reveal it then!

Cheers, ARNIE

1 comment:

pinkypromise said...

Arnie, I love your posts and your analysis since I love Jane Austen's books and I never get tired of them (and I use your blog to understand some things that are kind of tricky or unclear to me).
I'm currently reading "Northanger Abbey" (well, it's my second time) and I came across this line and, it happened the same to me as when I read it for the first time which is, I can't completely understand the intention and meaning of the phrase. Maybe it's a silly question but it'll be great and I think I'll be kind of happy if I could understand it, since, when this happens to me, I get annoyed with myself! haha
The line is actually in the very end of chapter 11: “And lucky may she think herself, if she get another good night's rest in the course of the next three months.”

thank you!!!