Essay on Chapter One of Persuasion by Jane Austen

Essay on Chapter One of Persuasion by Jane Austen

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Chapter One of Persuasion by Jane Austen

Chapter one of Persuasion makes use of a highly economic narrative
style, which celebrates Austen’s success as a novelist. Austen’s
narrative style is so successful in chapter one of Persuasion as many
of the characters are introduced to the reader along with the majority
of the main themes which concern them in the novel. Austen clearly
underlines that she is writing with a novelist’s voice, using
traditional conventions of third person with past tense. This first
hint of Austen’s narration style is shown in chapter one and reappears
again in chapter eleven where it is evident that Austen has become an
omniscient narrator. This highlights to the reader that everything we
are told in chapter one will lead to a conclusion which will shape the
novel and its outcome.

The first sentence of Persuasion commences with; “Sir Walter Elliot,
of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own
amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage.” This opening
immediately introduces us to the fact that one of the main themes of
the novel is the concept of the class system. With “Sir”, we
immediately see that Walter Elliot holds one of the highest positions
of social rank. We can also see that Mary has wed “Charles Musgrove,
Esq. of Uppercross.” The title of esquire is a step down from “Sir”,
so this opening history shows the possible decline of social rank,
which links to the main theme of social class in the novel.

As well as the novel’s theme of social class, another strong link to
the idea of social hierarchy is Sir Walter Elliot’s obsession with the
“Baronetage.” By studying and being intensely interested in his family
blood lines, Sir Walter shows the ex...

... middle of paper ...

...ion, the opening chapter of Persuasion is a suitable opening
to the novel as it introduces the majority of the central characters
together with a little of their history. The chapter also hints at
many of the major themes in the novel; social class, blood lines and
marriage. The most interesting theme to be introduced in the opening
chapter however, is that of appearance and vanity. The introduction of
this theme not only provides the reader with an informed view of Sir
Walter’s perception of vanity, but we are able to detect senses of
Austen’s opinions concerning appearance. With this input to the novel
we can recognise aspects of Austen’s character reflected in Anne
Elliot. This is particularly insightful as Austen learnt of her
impending death whilst penning the novel which could have had an
impact on certain character’s views of issues in Persuasion.

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