In Persuasion, by Jane Austen, there are many exceptional characters. Perhaps two of the most memorable are Sir Walter Elliot, and his daughter, Anne Elliot. These characters are well shaped and have something about them that transcends time and social class, enabling readers of the all ages, to feel they have something in common with them.
Jane Austen has created a very silly, vain man with immense family pride in Sir Walter Elliot. Sir Walter is extremely proud of his good looks, his family connections and above all, his baronetcy.
The reader is introduced to Sir Walter at the beginning of the novel. Immediately his family pride is seen and the reader cannot help but associate Sir Walter with the aristocracy known to Austen. A simple character sketch of him reveals much:
Vanity … was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter
Almost unconsciously, the reader feels a strong dislike for a man who:
considered … beauty as inferior only to … a baronetcy.
Sir Walter’s pride and vanity is reinforced in many different ways: the way he acts in certain situations, his opinions of others, his dialogue, and others opinions of him.
Sir Walter is a character who will always act in the same manner, no matter what situation he is involved in. Sir Walter uses his family name for authority and decision making. For example, when Lady Russell suggests economizing Sir Walter reacts:
What! Every comfort of life knocked off!…even of a private gentleman.
Another example is when Sir Walter leaves Kellynch Hall and is "prepared with condescending bows". In each of these examples, Sir Walter reminds others of his title, and that they are l...
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... Persuasion is still popular today that emphasizes this universal and realistic world of Austen’s characters.
Works Cited and Consulted
Austen, Jane. Persuasion. New York: Oxford, 1998
Curran, Stuart. "Women Readers, Women Writers." The Cambridge Companion to British Romanticism. Ed. Stuart Curran. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Fergus, Jan. “The Professional Woman Writer” The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen. Eds. Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster. New York, Cambridge UP, 1997. (12-32).
Radway, Janice. "Reading Reading the Romance." Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: A Reader, Second Edition. Ed. John Storey. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1998.
Wiltshire, John. “Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion” The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen. Eds. Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster. New York, Cambridge UP, 1997. (58-84).
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