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Kell

Jane Austen Book Group - Persuasion

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Anyone who would like to get hold of a copy of this book and join in the circle - there are quite a few copies available at

Green Metropolis

 

Also available at Amazon. See link on site front page!

 

Or download it for free:

audio book at Librivox / e-book at Project Gutenberg

 

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The fifth book being read in the Jane Austen Book Group (throughout September and October) is Persuasion:

"Persuasion" is the ultimate novel of love lost and regained. By turns achingly sad and intensely romantic, it's a Cinderella story for anyone who's ever felt overlooked - or anyone who's ever had their heart broken...Eight years ago, Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth fell head over heels in love. But Anne's family put a stop to their engagement, believing he wasn't good enough for her. Pretty, intelligent Anne soon realises she's made a terrible mistake. Then Captain Wentworth walks back into her life again. Can he forgive her? Does he still lover her? And could they ever be happy, after all this time?

 

~~***~~



In deference to those who may be reading it for the first time - if you're going to talk about a major plot point, please state which chapter your post relates to and use the spoiler tags, so that those who haven't yet reached that point will know to wait a while before reading that post!

Some discussion questions to consider:

DO NOT READ THE FIRST SET OF QUESTIONS BEFORE READING THE BOOK - THERE MAY BE SPOILERS!

 

1. Persuasion is said by some to be Jane Austen’s most romantic book. Others think it is a sad, rather autumnal book, about missed opportunities. Jane Austen wrote it at the end of her life. Which view do you take, if any? Do you think either is correct? What was your response to Anne Elliot’s story?

2. In the extended Musgrove family, who has the highest social standing? And who has the lowest? Does this reflect in their characters? Do we still view and rank people by their social standings? What do you think of the formal and generally well-accepted way in which they practised this?

3. Discuss the character of Anne Elliot. Is she a conventional romantic heroine? Do we see her as the characters in the novel see her? Is the story seen through her eyes? If not, how not?

4. Although Anne and Captain Wentworth have not seen each other for seven years, their feelings are as strong as ever. Do you think this is realistic? Do you think today’s society would support this kind of constancy? Does it make the central story less relevant, or does it make it more timeless?

5. Jane Austen’s brother Henry gave Persuasion its title after Jane’s death. What is the significance of the title Persuasion? Does it have positive or negative connotations?

6. How important is Kellynch Hall? Does it act as the focal point of the novel, or merely as a plot device?

7. Does Austen respect the rigid late-eighteenth century / Regency class structure, or does she seek to subvert such traditions in Persuasion

8. How important is family in Persuasion? Does it bear any reflection on the individual? If you have also read it, consider alongside MansfieldPark

9. How do men and women interact? Which interactions in particular did you find interesting and why? How do these relationships and interactions compare to engagements and marriages today?

 

10. Are the characters in Persuasion conventional in their thoughts and actions according to the time in which the novel is set? In what ways do they conform (or not) to conventions? What is expected of them and how do they react to those expectations?

 

11. Who was your favourite character and why?

 

12. Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?

 

13. Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

 

14. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

 

15. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

 

 

 

(You do not have to answer all, or indeed, any, of these questions, they are meant only as points for you to perhaps mull over as you read, and provoke more discussion. Please feel free to ask and answer any questions that come up as you read.)

Edited by Kell

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Okay, I've read this book before, but now picked it up again to read it with you all... So, anyone reading this?

 

One of the things I really enjoy with Persuasion is that it feels like Austen's pen has gotten a little sharper over the years, with practice. If you look at the very beginning of the book, the first sentences, you get the clearest of understanding of the type of man Sir Walter Elliot is. It's brilliant! Austen is getting sharper in painting the picture. Would you agree? Especially those that have recently read other works by her, as I have not.

 

I will, as I read on, pay more attention as to why I like Anne so much, when clearly she's very different from me. It could be interesting to find out. The past times I've read the book I've just enjoyed the story.

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This is absolutely my favourite Jane Austen book. While she still wrote about certain characters with amusement, there was something more sad and yearning about this particular book - and for me, Wentworth would be my pick over Darcy any day!

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I recently re-read this, so I won't be reading it again, but I'll join in the conversation because this is my all-time favorite book of Jane Austen's!! I hope everyone else loves it as much as I do. :blush:

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Wentworth would be my pick over Darcy any day!

 

You'll have to fight me for him, first. *grin*

It's the letter, that won me over, I love it.

 

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I'm well into it too Supergran. I think this might possibly end up being my favourite Austen after P&P. I can relate to Anne more than any of her other heroines I've read so far.

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i'd like to join in on this too.. i have read this one before of course, but not for a while now! i have it in .lit form as well, so i've just dropped a copy onto my desktop so i don't forget to read it! :D

 

 

sorry.. just editing to add this:

 

i cannot get into this book at all. i guess i am just over reading Jane Austen now, my attention wanders as soon as i look at it, and i find myself up and looking at the TBR pile instead..

Edited by grabit

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It takes a while to get to the rhythm, doesn't it? I know it always takes me a moment to switch to French literature and back to non-French...

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I finished this a few weeks back. I did struggle with the verbose style. I prefer modern prose. There's lots of explanation in this book, as opposed to just showing is what is happening. Yes, I understand it's a book of it's time, but that's just my opinion.

 

Having said that, I did enjoy it. It made me laugh out loud in places. I also really liked Anne. I loved the way Austen describes the very immediate emotional details, it lets you get right inside her head. The bits where she is utterly conscious of Wentworth when he is in the room, but unable to speak to him, or trying to glean his feelings through the stuffy restrictions of polite society. I suppose it's easy to sympathise with Anne because those details are so vivid, you can refer to similar experiences in your own life.

 

I do feel that Austen is glorified romance though, yes witty and well written, and very well observed, but at the end of the day it's romance isn't it?

 

Even though I enjoyed it, I'm not rushing to read another Austen just yet, one day, but not yet :)

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Even though I enjoyed it, I'm not rushing to read another Austen just yet, one day, but not yet :)

Well, if you haven't already, I DO recommend reading Northanger Abbey - it's got a darker humour than Austen's other novels and is excellent.

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Well, if you haven't already, I DO recommend reading Northanger Abbey - it's got a darker humour than Austen's other novels and is excellent.

 

Actually its funny you should mention that. I listened to an abridged version on CD last year and enjoyed it and was just thinking how I ought to read the book one day.

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OK, DON'T read this if you haven't read the book yet

 

I have mixed feelings about this book.

One the one hand, it contains JA's well known great writing.Moreover, the overall idea of two people in love after so many years was great. Also, the two of them were quite sympathetic characters

One the other hand, it has mediocre development, in my opinion. In other books, there were some sudden changes in the plot, so you didn't really what was going to happen in the end, Here, Ann's certainty that Frederick still loves her and his passive attitude don't really create agony, and in the end I felt like the plot was a straight line

I don't know, what do you think?

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I only started this book last night - and like many of you have of course "read it before". Those quotation marks refer to myself, of course - for I often find that I've managed to "read" a book while entirely missing something obvious in it! - which is why I like to read most books at least twice. As it happens I have read this book more than twice before, but as as younger woman, when, in my then-opinion, any romantic heroine over 21 wasn't worth getting to know! :)

 

I've already found in my recent-travels through P & P., and S & S., that I'm seeing greater depth in most of the main characters now, so decided on "Persuasion" next, as I've a confession to make over it ...... I hate Sir Walter!! :D There - I've come out of the closet!

 

This time I'll :D with more care - for surely there's something about this ... creature .... kinda-likeable? Isn't there?? What do the rest of you think of this - :irked: - peer of the realm?

Edited by Booknutt
spelling oops!

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Well, Sir Walter was honest in his shallowness. He didn't try to mask it up to some "greater good" but wanted to be known and admired. That's good in my books. I prefer people being honest about who and what they are.

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Agreed, Aye Aye - much as admiring shallowness is a bit of a left-handed compliment, old Sir W. sticks to his guns and "walks his talk" and now, as a more ... mature ... person, I can appreciate that! At least we know where we are with him.

 

I've actually also spotted another chink of light in his character - his love for Elizabeth - scantily mentioned in the early pages of the book. Of course, it's largely based on vanity, again - she's a female version of him in looks and nature (unlike the other girls), so he's fond of her, but it's the fact that she is female that interests me. As a woman, Elizabeth can't inherit Kellynch, the bricks-and-mortar proof of Sir W's heritage. As a female, she's also not a carbon-copy of him, as a son might have been. She's unavoidably "imperfect" in the respect of her gender - even her looks and nature can't disguise that - but she's still his favourite daughter, for whom he might be persuaded to sacrifice ... if it was ever asked of him. The old codger has revealed a touch of the human-being! I'm quite pleased with him, now. :D

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