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Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Captain Wentworth: I come on business, Sir Walter.
Sir Walter Elliot: Business?
Captain Wentworth: Yes, my proposal of marriage to your daughter, Anne, has been accepted and I respectfully, sir, request permission to set a date.
Sir Walter Elliot: Anne? You want to marry Anne? Whatever for?

Persuasion is my favourite Jane Austen book now; it has replaced Pride and Prejudice forever. The contrastingly unfeeling Lizzy and Darcy have no chance besides Anne and Wentworth.

To explain: I have just recently finished reading P&P, and expected to get at least a little bit gripped by the story. Sure, I've watched it that many times, and probably read the book too much, but good books should always grip you. It was disappointingly flat, tragically hollow. Since that moment P&P lost some of its lustre and appeal.
Elizabeth, though still one of my favourite heroines, had no excellent reason for marrying Mr. Darcy, except that he was handsome, got around on perfectly groomed horses, always looked gloomily out of the window, never talked, was always offending someone, went and saved Lydia from a dire situation, had an amazing house by a lake, and ten thousand pounds a year.

He's your typical dark, melancholy hero with the good looks, who annoys and aggravates the heroine until close to the end of your story, when he does something utterly fantastic and the heroine swoons pathetically into his arms.
How sweet.

And Lizzy. Well, she's harder to be mean about because she really is the perfect heroine. She does all the right things: says witty sayings at all the right times, is not afraid of the formidable Lady Catherine, challenges the dark and gloomy Darcy, refuses to ever dance with him, then dances with him, meets the gentleman at his own house while making a tour of it, accepts the hero's proposal precisely when she ought to.

But Anne and Wentworth! Excitement.
Picture this: A young couple, one of them with good prospects in the navy, the other nineteen years of age, sweet, pretty, with a good strong mind, capable of thinking correctly and deciding appropriately. They want to get married, and explain the proposition to the girl's baronet father. The father is outraged, and the girl's friend advises against it. The girl is persuaded to break off the engagement. The young man goes off in a huff, with a broken heart and wounded feelings. He nurses a bitter resentment towards the girl, the girl's friend and her family throughout his years of service and promotion.

He comes back to England; the war is over. The girl is older now, eight and a half years have gone by, and her bloom is gone. He meets up with her, is astonished by the change. The rest of the story is devoted to what happens when he gets back, how he overcomes his resentment, and whether or not Anne will marry the dashing (Wickham-like) Mr. Elliot who plagues the pages of the second half of the book.
It is a gripping read. I've never read an Austen that has made me want to know what happens next, like I did when I read Persuasion.

Do you have a favourite Jane Austen book? Why is it your favourite, and do you agree with me that Anne and Wentworth have more going for them than Lizzy and Darcy?


Blogger Ellie said...

I read them all last year.

Sense and Sensibility was my favourite.

I plan to read them all again and see.

I'd probably say that too. Elizabeth annoys me by falling for him after seeing Pemberly. Urgh!

Oh, and why is it my favourite? I can't really say. I must read it again. Then I shall be able to inform you.

10:06 pm  
Blogger Livi said...

I haven't read all of Jane Austen's books, but of the ones I have I do like Persuasion best. As to Anne and Wentworth having more going for them than Lizzy and Darcy I definitely agree! =)

6:02 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

haha, yes it's amusing that Lizzy decides she loves him after she's seen his house.. But I don't really find it annoying. I think she saw that his house was a good indicator of his character, and she sort of fell in love with his house and then him :)

That's cool Livi! Persuasion has a lot more guts to it than most Austen books I've read - it's not quite so devoted to marital pursuits...

12:51 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:51 pm  
Blogger Emz said...

I totally agree with your comments regarding P and P :p... It really is just far too cliche.. Having said that sometimes cliche is nice, but often you want something a bit more :)

I must confess I have not actually read Persuasion, only watched the movie *guilty look* but I think you have persuaded me to have a read :p

For my part tho, I rather like Emma - perhaps I identify rather with a headstrong matchmaking rather selfish heroine, I dont know, but somehow Emma and Mr Knightly make a rather satisfying match :p...

However even better than all of the Austen novels are I think, the ones by Charlotte Bronte... I have only read Jane Eyre and Villette so far but they are so much more complex, more deep, more unusual and ultimately more satisfying that I think they rather outshine all of Austen quite completely!

Long comment I know, but as you can see this subject is of the deepest importance to me... :)

9:40 am  
Blogger Lydz said...

Yes, maybe it's cliche because people have loved it so much..?

I love Pride and Prejudice. Despite the fact that I can pick holes in it until I'm blue in the face, I continue to enjoy the story.
(As usual) a group of us youth talked about Pride and Prejudice after church today. Some of us agreed that Darcy just doesn't cut it. He's got this unforgivable lack of character and a really melancholic complex.. and Lizzy falls in love with him as soon as she sees his house.
yep, but I still like it. You can't say that there isn't some true feeling there.

Do you guys think that there's not really much noble about Darcy? I mean, even when he was off saving Lydia. He admitted to Lizzy later that he only did it for her - and he did it for her because he wanted to marry her.

hmmm... Emma. Can't say I like the girl that much. But you're too right about Knightley! He's fantastic.

I quite agree about the Brontes. They wrote such fiery books - think Wuthering Heights!
That book is scary. But amazing. mm. Jane Eyre is complex aye, and it's very satisfying to read about normal, complicated people. Like us! Except we're not normal :)

9:16 pm  
Blogger Theresa said...

You obviously haven't read Northanger Abbey.

I love the contrast between all of Austen's books, Persuasion is lots darker and moodier than the rest. I love it too, however I can't help hating the fact that Wentworth hardly has a character at all, poor guy. He's just that dashing guy in the background, you love him because Anne does. Darcy has so much more character going on.
But yeah, the best couple is definitely Emma and Knightly cos when you read the book you understand BOTH of them.

When I read persuasion I get the feeling that Jane Austen put a lot of herself into it, that it why it's so, I dunno... emotionally charged. She knew what it was like to be a "spinster" and have her heart broken. When you think about it, Persuasion gives us a glimpse of her heart ache. But she still gives all of her characters happy endings, knowing that a similar happy ending for herself was probably out of reach.

10:56 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

hmm.... Darcy really doesn't have much of a character either, I would say. You get the impression he's stern and immovable, reads a good deal, and generally has some witty/cruel things to say at the right times.

Apart from that, his character is full of holes, and even Lizzy didn't take much time to understand it: she went from totally not understanding him to feeling that she'd misjudged him, deciding she loved him and marrying him. I reckon she was taking a fairly big jump by marrying someone she'd only talked to a dozen times. Jane skimped on character for all her heroes though.
I just love Knightley! He's brilliant.. But Emma - did you really like her, as a heroine? She's frustrating, and she doesn't deserve the most Excellent Knightley.

I agree about the high level of emotion in Persuasion. It's the only Austen book I've read I think that is so emotionally - charged.. It felt good to read something that Austen was actually feeling herself- almost letting herself go.

6:11 pm  

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