Inner and outer life
Posted by Patrick on January 15, 1998 at 16:23:37:
In response to The serenity, written by Hil on January 13, 1998 at 21:10:33
] I agree with you here Patrick. I think what was in my mind was that in Persuasion there seems to be a greater sense of JA implying that in the social order of things, people like Wentworth - self made, not your traditional landed gentry like Darcy - were worthy. We see it appearing in, for example, her esteem of the Gardiners, despite Caroline Bingley's derision of them, but her acceptance of the general worthiness of the emerging middle class seems more pronounced in Persuasion. (I could be talking nonsense). Maybe the serenity you talk of is to do with the inner person, and what I was meaning had more to do with the outside world, though of course they impinge on each other.
For me, it's not so much inner vs. outer life, or middle class vs. landed gentry - it's transcending these divisions altogether that I see in Persuasion. JA presents the Gardiners and Capt. Wentworth as sympathetic characters as a way of saying, Let's do away with classification altogether, rather than saying, See, the middle class are alright.
Anne Elliot is the quintessential JA heroine for me. She is as strong as Lizzy Bennet, but does not feel the Lizzy's need to answer every challenge, to demonstrate her own strength. Anne does not play the game that Lizzy plays in spite of herself. It just seems to me that, to create a character like Anne, and to draw her so convincingly, JA must have felt some of Anne's serenity.
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