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|Chapter 11 Anne adjusting...
Written by Moni
(10/17/2008 10:27 a.m.)
"Anne found herself by this time growing so much more hardened to being in Captain Wentworth's company than she had at first imagined could ever be, that the sitting down to the same table with him now, and the interchange of the common civilities attending on it (they never got beyond), was become a mere nothing."
A bit of a breathe out moment here, as even though there is no more than a normal civility, Anne has become "hardened" to the situation with the Captain.
It appears she has accepted she is no longer valued in any more but a natural kind of civil relationship with him, which seems to sit comfortably with her now. Using the focus of who values Anne and who doesn't, at present Lady Russell values her for herself, while no-one else really does, but she is about to find others outside her usual circle might value her too.
Then a little further on, she connects with a kind of kindred spirit in Captain Benwick, and benefits by this:
"While Captains Wentworth and Harville led the talk on one side of the room, and by recurring to former days, supplied anecdotes in abundance to occupy and entertain the others, it fell to Anne's lot to be placed rather apart with Captain Benwick; and a very good impulse of her nature obliged her to begin an acquaintance with him. He was shy, and disposed to abstraction; but the engaging mildness of her countenance, and gentleness of her manners, soon had their effect; and Anne was well repaid the first trouble of exertion."
By providing inspiration and solace to him, her mood improves. They have meaningful discussion on a platonic level regarding the themes of grief and melancholy, and share poetry they both enjoy, and she is able to help by recommending some books which would sustain him.
She is apart from Captain Wentworth, but finds herself engaging in conversation with Captain Benwick, regardless. Before this, she has been strictly in the spinster role, doing duties for others. She is still helping this man, but it's different. He doesn't demand it, he just needs it, and Anne in her gentle way and her own knowing of grief, can help easily there, and he is appreciative.
A nice reflection on herself closes the chapter, showing she continues this self examination, or learning about herself, as discussed in the GR earlier on:
"When the evening was over, Anne could not but be amused at the idea of her coming to Lyme to preach patience and resignation to a young man whom she had never seen before; nor could she help fearing, on more serious reflection, that, like many other great moralists and preachers, she had been eloquent on a point in which her own conduct would ill bear examination."
It's also significant this is her first foray outside her usual territory for a while. She seems to gain confidence from it, and some wisdom about herself. She is adjusting to the status quo, as it is. Does anyone else think the same, that this is Anne's turning point?
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