Persuasion was Jane Austen’s last finished novel and after reading it recently, I was left with a few things to reflect upon.
People can have life-changing influences over your decisions
Anne Elliot, our heroine, gets talked out of her engagement at a very young age by a mother-like figure in her life. All throughout the novel she keeps getting talked into or out of whether to pursue a relationship with a man or not. The main message I got out of this is:
How many times have we let people in our lives, friends/acquaintances make our decisions for us or influence our decisions in life to a great degree?
And it’s not until Anne starts to listen to her own instincts that she realises that she is the best judge of what is good for her or not.
It’s always best to trust your instincts
Carrying on from the above point. Anne is possibly my favourite Jane Austen heroine, she has a sound mind and judgement which she learns to occupy throughout the novel.
Her instincts draw her towards certain kinds of people, good people, and once she stops worrying about not living up to other people’s expectations and just doing what she believes is right, things start falling into place in her life.
True love withstands all
This one I’m not particularly rooting for however, it is one of the biggest and cheesiest aspects of the novel. Anne and her love interest Captain Wentworth have been separated eight and a half years after breaking off their engagement.
Circumstances happen to bring them together and their love stands the test of time, it stands the test of distraction by other potential lovers and it stands the test of vanity- Anne is considered to have “lost her bloom” at the time the novel is set yet, Mr. Wentworth still finds her beautiful.
On rationality & resentment
Anne and Captain Wentworth both have opposing responses to their broken off engagement. While Anne accepts her lost chance and has a more rational approach to things, Captain Wentworth cannot help but be angry and resentful of the circumstance and Anne even.
I personally believe Anne’s rational approach is the better option because resentment leaves you in despair and agony.
On appearances & vanity
Vanity is a huge aspect of the life of the Elliots, Anne’s family, though Anne is the odd cookie who isn’t vain at all and is super down-to-Earth about her beauty. Keeping up appearances and being pretentious for the sake of a profit, romantic or otherwise is also a scheme a few characters in the novel occupy.
The novel in its conclusion leaves you with the impression that being pretentious and vain, in the end, leaves you with nothing basically.
So don’t be pretentious and vain guys
Anyways, I didn’t just wanna do any old book review on this novel as it left me with a lot of thoughts jumbling about so I hope this persuaded you enough that persuasion is worth a read!