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|An attempt at clarification.
Written by Rachel G
(10/30/2011 7:32 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Anne's way, penned by Stephanie
I am glad to hear your responses Stephanie. I'll try to reply briefly as the GR is about to end.
Put simply, I'd define 'faults' as behaviours which have a negative impact on other people. The problem I had when looking for Anne's faults was that I couldn't really find any serious ones. I think she must be one of the kindest, least selfish characters JA ever created.
When Frederick did not return after making some money, Anne made a choice, consciously or unconsciously, to make no effort to move on in her life. She chose instead to resign herself to a lonely, unhappy situation, and to keep the memories alive by buying the Navy List. I would not say that she was wrong to do so - they were perfectly valid choices, but I cannot see them as admirable.
One result of those earlier choices was that Anne reacted to Frederick's return in a hyper-emotional way. I think her behaviour at that time was faulty because it was dysfunctional and prevented her from communicating with Frederick effectively. The way she handled things did nothing to protect her from pain and unhappiness - on that account I felt sorry for her. More importantly, her failure to master her emotions enough to re-establish good communication with Frederick had an impact on him. Her inability to communicate with Frederick denied him any insight into her feelings. Because of that he almost wound up married to someone he did not love, which would have resulted in three unhappy people.
JA's characters are generally endowed with a normal share of human failings, but I had very real difficulty finding any serious failings in Anne. Most of what I have marked as 'failings' are simply ways that she behaved which tended to make her heartache worse than it need have been.
Just as 'Persuasion was ready for publication, JA wrote a letter to Fanny Knight in which she said:
After trying and failing to identify any major faults in Anne, JA's comment makes perfect sense to me. The wonder is that I still like Anne so much despite her apparent near- perfection!
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