Anne Elliot In Persuasion Essay, Research Paper
Persuasion, by Jane Austen is a tale of the romance between the timid and
composed Anne Elliot and the handsome and exquisite Captain Wentworth. In spite of
social barriers and the rival flirtations of the Musgrove sisters, he pursues his affection
though having once been rejected by Anne. The influence and persuasion Anne allows
herself to be subjected to, is the key theme underlying this novel. Anne almost loses the
love of her life by being persuaded by others. Anne is portrayed in the opening chapters of
the book as having no strength of character. She is dominated by all of the people around
her: her father, Elizabeth her elder sibling, and Lady Russell. Anne is treated as the heroine
of the novel; however, a heroine is a woman who takes risks and makes decisions in order
to control her life s destiny, not one who passively waits for her fate.
In the book, Anne is depicted as the novel s admirable protagonist. This only
seems so because she is surrounded by confused, bitter and conniving characters. Anne s
sister, Elizabeth, is a spoiled, unkind and immature girl. Anne is seen as the most stable
and sympathetic character, only because she is compared to the characters around her. As
for her father: Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter s character… Her
other sister, Mary who is settling down into a married life, is dissatisfied because she feels
her husband s family is inferior. In comparison to these characters, she is easily
commendable, but as an individual, her quiet, unassertive attitude reflects her inadequacies
and lack of courage.
Anne has the role of head psychiatrist to her family and friends. Everybody
chooses to voice their complaints about everything to Anne. When Anne arrives at
Uppercross she listens to several problems from four different points of view. Mary
complains about Mrs. Musgrove, Mrs. Musgrove complains about Mary. Mary complains
about Charles, Charles complains about Mary. Henrietta and Louisa complain about Mary.
They all want Anne to persuade the other party that they need to make a change. Poor
Anne has to listen to everybody’s complaints, but who listens to Anne? No other character
has the patience or the concern to listen to Anne s problems, although Anne s are more
significant. Still, Anne submits to filling the role of the passive listener.
When Anne s nephew Charles is involved in an accident she takes better care of
the child than do his own parents. She is automatically the one to passively acquiesce to
taking care of him. Anne does not resist the assumption that she will always comply when
requested to be the nurse or caretaker.
Anne has had to deal with emotional pain because she lost the man of her dreams.
She also left him, not through her own will, but because she was persuaded by Lady
Russell that it was the right thing to do. Part of the tragedy is that she has coped with it.
Anne is somebody who accepts her life as it is, and is fully prepared to settle down to
spinsterhood, and die an old maid . She doesn’t expect Wentworth to come back, but
through a turn of luck, he wanders back into her life. Anne did not search for her fate, but
rather inactively awaited for her life to unfold. Would she have gotten together with
Wentworth had Louisa not fallen? I argue that she would have continued to contain her
regret for the past and repress her feelings for Wentworth, had there not been a turn of
The common view during the early 19th century was that women were in charge
of private life, while men were in charge of public life. Because women were not in public
life, they could not own property or inherit land from their fathers,–they had no legal
rights. Thus, the only route to financial stability open to women was through marriage.
During this time, women were not typically powerful or authoritative, yet a woman could
still be aggressive or insistant.. Women gained rights and power through money and the
family to which they belonged. And so, one can argue that marriage was a defining
component of a woman s life at this time, as it gave an identity to a woman. If Anne
could not be assertive in a situation involving her class and societal position, there wasn t
much more for her in life.