Thursday, September 13, 2007

Persuasion by Jane Austen

To: Anne Elliott
CC: Elizabeth Bennett, Emma Woodhouse, Elinor Dashwood
Subject: He loves YOU. YOU are the one he loves.
Attachments: clues.xls

Dear Anne,

It is you that he loves. Obviously. He loves you, only you, and always you, to the end of his days. HOW do you not see this? You spend page after page, heart atwitter. A tiny gasp, a tiny sigh. Is it denial? Is it mental retardation? Or are you actually physically blind and deaf? Has all of your mild, sweet goodness clogged up your aural passages?

I know that you don't like to come right out and say things. I know you prefer to hint around and embroider wainscoating and use your eyelashes to communicate the intricate ticks and giggles of your soul. Your patience, your modesty, they cripple you. You flounder. You languish.

Here's news: If you weren't in a Jane Austen novel, where all comes right in the end, you would never be Mrs. Wentworth. Real men don't pine that much. Real men, if they pay attention to Louisa Musgrove, are doing that because they actually want to get busy with Louisa Musgrove. But you're okay. He's a Jane Austen hero, and that means in spite of all the completely contradictory evidence, he does really love you, you blind, deaf, ignorant fool of a woman. Please, when the truth comes out, take a minute to breathe and weep, and then give yourself a good smack, right on the head, because really, a cocker spaniel could see that he loves you, and only you. Louisa Musgrove? You have got to be freakin' kidding me.


Jane Austen said that Anne Elliott was too good for her. Jane, Anne Elliott was too good for me too.

Let's face it, Jane Austen novels are not about suspense. There's a man and a woman, or there are two men and two women, and at the end of the novel the church bells will peal, and there will be joy. The pleasure in one of these romantic comedies, like most romantic comedies where the end is predetermined, is watching the characters muddle through, make their mistakes, rush around.

I liked watching Emma, and Elizabeth, and Elinor and Marianne. But not Anne. I didn't like watching Anne. Anne made me impatient and irritated. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm just a dreadful person, incapable of appreciating the sensitive spirit of Anne. I know this novel is all about the subtle. And most of my friends seem to like it. I, however, was not able to love this book, although I know I should. Anne was too good, Louisa Musgrove was too annoying, and Captain Wentworth was just impossible.

You know what? In the end, they got together. Don't blubber about me spoiling the ending. No one was shocked. I was glad it all ended well, but this time, instead of weeping with joy, like I did for Elinor and Marianne, I snapped the book shut, BAM. Enough already. This time, she took it too far. Bless you, Jane Austen, you do better with sass.


  1. Philistine! YOU BLASPHEME!

    The joy of this novel -- and I confess, it is my third favorite of Jane's --- comes from Mrs Musgrove weeping on the sofa over awful poor drowned dead Richard, and the refelection that only sylph-like people should be allowed to be weepy in public. And the hair pulling shamefully reared awful babies creeping all over people. Jane is SO funny and sly. SO SLY AND FUNNY. The love story is never, ever even once, the point. It is the familiar story from which all points hang.


  2. If the love story isn't the point, then why do the characters spend so much time charging around on horses advancing the plot of it. Or rattling around in carriages worrying about it. Also, I realize it's the 19th century but... a bit ludicrous with all the travel hoopla. WOOOOOEEEEEE we're going FIVE MILES AWAY!?!?!?!? FOR A DAY!!! WEEEEO!O!O!OO!

  3. OH pish.
    See also: Tosh.

    You KNOW the love story is not the point. You even talk about it in your entry -- how the plot is the same plot is the same plot. Always, even in Northanger Abbey, which is IMO her weakest book (like sayign it is, for Toger, a bad round of golf) and a pure satire. A "nice" young lady of manners makes her way to the altar. The end. Or as you put it, "There's a man and a woman, or there are two men and two women, and at the end of the novel the church bells will peal, and there will be joy."

    As for the trips...hrm. I get excited about going to Kroger. This is because I do not get out much, a trait I have in common with ALL Austen heroines.

    I end by saying MELVILLE + HAWTHORNE!!!!111 one one! Translated: If you do not cook up MY sacred cow and eat her with A1, I will gently close the door and leave YOUR sacred, erm, bulls to show each other their tattoes under that blanket. You know the one. The blanket that I remember because it was not in a whaling chapter.