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Persuasion: The Value of an Anne Elliot
|Title:||Persuasion: The Value of an Anne Elliot|
|Issue Date:||15 Jan 2014|
|Publisher:||University of Hawaii at Manoa|
|Abstract:||Of personal attractions she possessed a considerable share. Her stature was that of true elegance. It could not have been increased without exceeding the middle height. Her carriage and deportment were quiet, yet graceful. Her features were separately good. Their assemblage produced an unrivalled expression of that cheerfulness, sensibility, and benevolence, which were her real characteristics. Her complexion was of the finest texture. It might with truth be said, that her eloquent blood spoke though her modest cheeks. Her voice was extremely sweet. She delivered herself with fluency and precision. Indeed she was formed for elegant and rational society, excelling in conversation as much as in composition. This might be a fitting description for Anne Elliot; actually, this is Henry Austen's description of his sister Jane Austen, printed with her earlier novel Northanger Abbey, and her last completed one, Persuasion. Written in her maturer years, Persuasion's heroine reflects Henry' s description of both his sister's appearance and personality. Many critics, and most recently John Halperin, point out that Henry Austen idealizes his sister. Anne Elliot is Jane Austen's own account of an ideal woman; however, such a heroine is not to be easily admired, as Jane Austen herself predicted: "You may perhaps like her, as she is almost too good for me," she once wrote of Anne to her niece (Chapman, Letters 487). Her critics have proved that Austen's assessment of her reader's response to Anne is well-founded. Anne Elliot is much too good. As a consequence, she does not seem as attractive as other Austenian heroines; Emma Woodhouse and of course Elizabeth Bennet are much more appealing than this silent heroine whose only flaw in life seems to be her lack of a proper hero. As Henry Austen's heart-felt tribute may suggest, Anne Elliot deserves a second look precisely because she is excellent, the creation of her author's maturity and the combination of some of Austen's most valued qualities. In Persuasion, Jane Austen tests these virtues under the harshest possible conditions of her society. Through Anne, she also shows just how well these qualities can be integrated in a single mind and life.|
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|Appears in Collections:||Honors Projects for English|
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