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The Role of Marriage in Persuasion - Essay Example

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An essay "The Role of Marriage in Persuasion" claims that Austen was reared during the Victorian era and the role and status of women were extremely. Women could not vote, they typically received an inferior education to their male counterparts and were limited to domestic occupations…
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The Role of Marriage in Persuasion
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Download file to see previous pages Austen was reared during the Victorian era and the role and status of women were extremely limited and stagnant. For example, women could not vote, they typically received an inferior education to their male counterparts and were limited to domestic occupations (Williams, 5). This is the context in which Persuasion was developed highlighting the prominent position that women have only two good choices in society - to get married or become a governess (Parkinson, 24). Though Austen acknowledges that marriage helps prevent loneliness and isolation, she also examines the failures of society’s perceptions of marriage which may create an intellectual isolation for women. This isolation that she recognizes, as Samuel Burchell tells us, is that “Jane Austen’s characters start in the primary condition of loneliness, pass through the difficulties of establishing the proper communication with others, and reach fulfillment in the symbolic union of marriage” (Burchell 149). Marriage is about many things in the Victorian society but it is rarely about love. For example, Anne's countenance is recognized by Captain Benwick in chapter 11 of Persuasion as it is he who found her "engaging mildness of her countenance, and gentleness of her manner" (Austen, 95) enough to instantly feel at ease; her brother-in-laws family, the Musgrove's, who claimed "We do wish that Charles had married Anne instead." (Austen, 84); and even the unacquainted cousin Mr. Elliot too had an instant attraction to Anne as he passed her during their stay in Lyme. Austen portrays Anne as essentially the epitome of goodness and kindness, but who isn't a very resistant person. She would more often than not succumb to the desires and needs to those around her in order to aid another or to keep the peace, as shown in chapter 4 when she allows Sir Walter and Lady Russell to dispel any notions of marriage to Captain Wentworth. It is this nature that is a desirable characteristic of a woman and a wife. Wentworth's entire character is full of conservative resistance. The main resistance Wentworth tries to overcome is his desire for Anne and the entire story is based on his resistance to requesting her hand in marriage again. Early in the story, there is the sense of monotony about the standard way of life as Austen uses repetition in here writing to persuade the reader of that sense of boredom. For thirteen years had she been doing the honors, and laying down the domestic law at home, and leading the way to the chaise and four, and walking immediately after Lady Russell out of all the drawing-rooms and dining rooms in the country. (Austen, 6-7) As the passage continues, there is a sense then of the repetition as we see the same thing happening for a span of over 13 years. What Austen wants the reader to see is how things will never change unless something drastic happens. As long as they follow the same routine, they can fake being happy. Thirteen winters' revolving frosts had seen her opening every ball of credit which a scanty neighborhood afforded; and thirteen springs have shewn their blossoms, as she traveled up to London with her father, for a few weeks annual enjoyment of the great world. (Austen, 6-7) What is interesting about this passage is that Austen tends to avoid discussing the central character at the start of the novel and in this case, is the early pages center on the vanity of her father as well as his contempt for those beneath him.   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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