Monday, 30 December 2013

Reading "Persuasion" || Jane Austen's sense of balance

"Anne wondered whether it ever occurred to him now, to question the justness of his own previous opinion as to the universal felicity and advantage of firmness of character; and whether it might not strike him, that, like all other qualities of mind, it should have its proportions and limits. She thought it could scarcely escape him to feel, that a persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favour of happiness, as a very resolute character."
("Persuasion", Jane Austen) 
This quote sums up Jane Austen's view of life and the importance she places on balance, which has been expressed many times in her works- balance between sense and sensibility, between emotional display and restraint, between love and money in marriage, between the dismissal of and obsession with novels..., and now, between a persuadable temper and a resolute character. 


Among her heroines in the 6 novels, 3 are introverts- Elinor Dashwood, Fanny Price and Anne Elliot, and 3 are extroverts- Marianne Dashwood, Catherine Morland and Emma Woodhouse. I don't know yet how to categorise Elizabeth Bennet, not having read "Pride and prejudice".


"One man's ways may be as good as another's, but we all like our own best." 
(also from "Persuasion")


Her novels are valuable and significant both as literary works and as guides to life and self-awareness (and as sources of delight, amusement and comfort). I read them 1st as a reader, 2nd as a human being, and 3rd as a woman (and perhaps 4th, in a way, as a writer).  

Update on 1/1/2014: 
I've finished reading "Persuasion". A sad, beautiful work. I am pleasantly surprised to find myself loving and admiring Jane Austen more than I could ever imagine, having expected to only acknowledge, with moderation and hesitation, her talent and appeal. A wonderful feeling.

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