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|Anne (In the Beginning)
Written by BarbaraB
(10/24/2008 10:18 p.m.)
While I have managed to catch up with the reading, I am woefully and wretchedly behind in reading/writing posts. I doubt that I will catch up during the GR itself. I wrote this post on Anne last week concerning my thoughts of her during the first two weeks of reading. Hope I am not trudging over thoughts/ideas already discussed and if so, I do apologize.
This is the order in which the characters are presented to us (not counting the entries in Sir Elliot's book) when we first begin to read PERSUASION: Sir Elliot, Lady Elliot, Lady Russell, Elizabeth, Mary and finally, last and least, is Anne.
We get these descriptions of her:
"...but Anne, with an elegance of mind and sweetness of character, which must have placed her high with any people of real understanding,..." ch 1
Concerning Retrenchment: "Every emendation of Anne's had been on the side of honesty against importance." ch 2
While she is no longer the extremely pretty girl of 1806, in my opinion she still retains the "gentleness, modesty, taste, and feeling" as attributed to her at that time. ch 4
Despite Anne's malaise, melancholy and quiet demeanor there is a spark of the old Anne still alive within her. With the very first words she speaks in the novel, I think we are warned not to underestimate her. Her father is speaking of withholding certain privileges at Kellench Hall if a "sailor" should rent because he feels they are not deserving of all that his home has to offer. Anne challenges him knowing this would be improper:
Here Anne spoke --
"The navy, I think, who have done so much for us, have at least an equal claim with any other set of men, for all the comforts and all the privileges which any home can give. Sailors work hard enough for their comforts, we must all allow." ch 3
I feel there is an immediate change in Anne when she goes to Uppercross. She prefers Mary to Elizabeth, is on good footing with Charles and enjoys her nephews. The Musgroves, though they are self-absorbed in immediate family interests like, respect and admire Anne. She converses and interacts well with both sets of families. As Anne walks through Autumn, isolated from the others, there is something almost lyrical and spiritual in her connection to nature (not unlike Fanny in MP) and the word Uppercross, in and of itself, alludes to spirituality. Anne finds a way to gain pleasure for herself in an unpleasant situation, I feel, in this scene and rises above the misery she has been experiencing.
Lyme with its fresh sea air, congenial people, new things to see, literary discussions, 'admiration' of two men and further self-reflection combine to further improve Anne's looks and outlook on life. I think Deborah Y's post below is a good one in pointing out some of what went into Anne's transformation. I believe her to be the most eloquent of JA's heroines.
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