Persuasion by Jane Austen Essay

Persuasion by Jane Austen Essay

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Set in 1814 England, Jane Austen’s Persuasion tells the tale of love lost and renewed amongst England’s upper class society. The story follows Anne Elliot, the oldest of the Austen heroines at the age of twenty-seven. Anne suffers from a decision forced upon her eight years earlier—to break off her engagement with the man she deeply loved named Captain Frederick Wentworth due to his lack of wealth. While visiting her sister Mary at Uppercross Cottage, Anne re-encounters her former fiancé when his sister and brother-in-law, the Crofts, take out a lease on Kellynch Hall, Anne’s prior home. Wentworth, now wealthy from wartime victories in the Navy, has not forgiven Anne for her rejection of him. Austen depicts the relationship between class and marriage through her interactions and behavior between characters. Similarly, in Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland must overcome class disparity in order to find love and happiness with the wealthy Henry Tilney. In both Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, Austen offers a critique on the consciousness of the British class system and the narrow-mindedness of those who strictly accede to them. Through her heroines, Anne Elliot and Catherine Morland, Austen exemplifies the struggles faced within different classes in order to find love.
Austen describes Anne Elliot as attractive, well-educated, and amiable. She is the daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, a vain baronet, who has driven his family into bankruptcy with his extravagant spending. The Elliot family is forced to move from their Kellynch Hall estate in order to lessen their debt. This instability of economic advantage conflicts with the belief that the recognition of social class is universal, which is the core of traditional British society. ...


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...s, and carriages all reveal social rank in English society. Austen makes point of the shades of dominance in class in both Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. In Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland moves from an awkward adolescence into a mature woman and later, marriage. Catherine must look past her own class in order to begin her life with Henry Tilney. As both stories unfold, Anne and Catherine must free themselves from familial authority in order to assert independence and marry for love. In Austen’s time, there was no real way for young women of neither the lower nor higher classes to strike out and be independent. The only way for women to acquire money was to marry for it or inherit it. As the narratives unfold, Austen analyzes the British class system through the struggle faced by both Anne Elliot and Catherine Morland in order to achieve love and happiness.

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