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|Oh, but I must defend!
Written by Robbin
(9/22/2005 6:08 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, What would Jane have revised?, penned by Mary Ellen
I cannot agree! I think the pompous, the mean as well as the vain, foolish, and selfish, Sir Walter and Elizabeth, are quite ridiculous and very amusing. If you add the conniving and flattering Mrs. Clay and the solicitous Mr. Shepherd, I am more than pleased with the first three chapters. Even LR lends some ridiculousness with her exaggerated value for rank and consequence—but I am mesmerized by the crossed passions introduced in chapter four—a dashing romantic hero full of confidence and pride and a lovely young lady with “an elegance of mind and sweetness of character” eager to embark at his side. I think Sir Walter is the most ridiculous of all JA’s creations, both in thought and action, and she really portrays him with a poisoned pen, so to speak, I cannot think of one thing to sympathize with or to like him for while we are given many reasons to dislike and laugh at him.
“He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior only to the blessing of a baronetcy; and the Sir Walter Elliot, who united these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and devotion.” (Chapter 1)
“A few years before, Anne Elliot had been a very pretty girl, but her bloom had vanished early; and as even in its height, her father had found little to admire in her…” (Chapter 1)
“I am not fond of the idea of my shrubberies being always approachable; and I should recommend Miss Elliot to be on her guard with respect to her flower-garden." (Chapter 3)
I think the perfection of Persuasion is that there is always something new to understand or reinterpret on each reread, just like the other novels, although it is not as obviously sparkling as P&P, it sparkles to me none the less.
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