Writer: Jane Austen
Publishing House: Penguin Clothbound Classics
Date of Publication: April 24th 2012 (first published December 1817)
Rating: 4 stars
“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”
When I first read Persuasion, I was disappointed. I was barely twenty and more hot-headed than I am now (if that is even possible…) Used to Jane’s classic heroines such as wise Elizabeth, sensible Eleanor and spirited Emma, I couldn’t bring myself to care for Anne and the woes that she inflicted on herself. However, as I grew older I began to doubt my judgement and a tiny corner of my Literature-related brain wanted to visit Austen’s novel again, to rethink and revaluate, and most importantly, to try and understand Anne and her choices.
I am 36 now and while I cannot say I agree with Anne’s initial choice, I can safely say that I understand her. I have never been one to pay attention to others’ opinions about me, I have never reacted well to those who wanted to offer me ‘’guidelines’’ or ‘’advice’’ for my own good, and I have always replied with strong language to the ones who wanted to convince me to go against my judgment, my heart or my mind. But. There’s a time and there’s a place for everything and I now view Anne as a victim of her era and her society. A woman who was not strong enough to swim against the current but had the good sense and the heart to recognize her mistake and change her course.
In the end, that is all that matters, isn’t it? To have the courage to admit we were wrong, to have the bravery to question pre-conceived notions and pseudo-principles that a dubious society has inflicted on you since your birth. To send the ones who want you to doubt and betray your heart to Hell.
“My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.’
‘You are mistaken,’ said he gently, ‘that is not good company, that is the best.”