March 17, 2015

Literary Heroines :: Anne Elliot

Persuasion by MadMonaLisa
via (Thanks, Kami, for sharing this!)
Where to begin?! I suppose I must first cite you to this post written by Hamlette, in which she most eloquently describes Anne ever so much better than I. But it's what inspired me, so I'm going to write my feelings anyway. {I may get a little longwinded.} {As if that'll surprise you, right?}

Anne Elliot. I'm not sure what it is about her exactly. But no matter how amazing any of Austen's other heroines may seem, Anne has always had my heart. Right from the very first time I "met" her. I came to Austen's writing and adaptations when I was in my early 20s. My first viewing was P&P (of course....isn't that just about everybody's?) which I thoroughly enjoyed. So much so that I immediately searched out every other adaptation I could get my hands on! And subsequently discovered Persuasion. After watching the '95 version, I was absolutely convinced that Persuasion was the Austen book I wanted to read first. Which I did and loved, loved, loved it!


Persuasion (BBC, TV mini-serie, 1995) oh my favorite part!!! thats it another read of persuasion after I finish national velvet
via
Anne is quiet, gentle, and easily overlooked. "Nearly invisible" as Hamlette says. But once people take the time to actually converse with her, she proves she can handle herself very well, that she has an opinion. One is required to draw her out to realize this though. (She doesn't show her extraordinariness to just anyone.) Which is what a few awesome people begin to do! One thing I definitely love about Anne's journey is that those who seek her out (the Crofts for one example) figure out pretty quick exactly how remarkable she is. And they love her immediately! No doubts, no questions, they simply enjoy her company and honestly appreciate her.
At the beginning of the story, she's hiding within herself and doesn't even realize it. She made a choice eight years ago that she dearly regrets and when one has that long of a time to dwell on a decision, it eats at you. You draw in and tend to isolate yourself and analyze your own actions and thoughts. (Or tell some of them to Lady Russell who will never truly understand, as much as she might think she does.) Anne is also surrounded by a family of selfish people, none of whom truly know her or understand her. Or even want to understand her.

So you take the Anne from that world and suddenly these people who genuinely care about her opinion appear in her life and what happens? A slow opening up of the beautiful flower that Miss Anne Elliot truly is.

There could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison. {Persuasion}
via
Anne's arc throughout the book is wonderful. Really, I think what allows Anne to truly "come into full bloom" is the friendships she forms. Don't get me wrong, I love Captain Wentworth and watching the two of them slowly come together again is utterly satisfying. And while I think his return to Anne's life may be a catalyst for her, I'm not convinced that he's the full reason she finds herself again. For that's exactly what she does. Find herself. She begins to have confidence that her opinion matters. That she's not just a middle daughter who's always in the background and unimportant. She's a woman with opinions and skills that only she can offer.


I love what Hamlette says about Anne being strong. It takes a lot of inner strength to do something you don't want to do, and Anne does things she dislikes over and over. She gives up the man she loves. She nurses her "sick" sister back to good spirits. She spends time in the company of Captain Wentworth when she'd rather be anywhere but in his presence. She moves to Bath, a city she hates. And she doesn't whine or complain about these things, but does them the way she does everything: quietly and helpfully. I hadn't thought about describing her that way prior to that post, but I do think it's correct. Anne's inner strength is precisely what has gotten her through the past eight years. Really, it's gotten her through her entire life, because with a father like that...!!!

Character arcs are what interest me in a story, rooting for the underdog and all that. And Anne is so incredibly easy to root for! You want her to reach her full potential and realize that all those negative people in her life don't truly matter at all. And when she does? When she finds her confidence and boldly starts paving her own way? Why then she gets the privilege of receiving that glorious letter from Captain Wentworth! She gets her happily ever after and who better deserves such a thing?

Simply put, Anne Elliot is magnificent. A true literary heroine if ever there was one! :)



11 comments:

  1. You know, I just realized I have never read Persuasion. It is the only book of Austin's that I have not read and I do not know why. Time to get it I guess!

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    1. Absolutely, Kelpie! Of course, since it's a favorite of mine, you knew I'd say that. :) But I do think it a wonderful story well worth reading!

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  2. Persuasion was my first Austen read as well. I had tried P&P when I was 17 but it struck me as fluffy. I was so young and naive! But Persuasion captured me because it struck me as smart, and that was thanks to Anne.

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    1. Yes! That's it exactly. Anne is very smart and this book is well worth reading. Glad you like it as well, Jewels! :)

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  4. (She doesn't show her extraordinariness to just anyone.)

    Love that! So perfectly put.

    And I think you're right, that even were Captain Wentworth not back on the scene, Anne would have come into her own a bit more, have unfolded more and more. If he were not there, Captain Benwick still would be, and Mr. Elliot would still be there, bringing her forward, making Sir Walter and Elizabeth notice her more. Would she have married Mr. Elliot? No, but she might have found someone like Benwick who valued her, and had a comfortable and happy life with him.

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    1. Thanks, Hamlette! :)

      That's exactly what I was trying to say. There are so many things that contributed to her journey, Captain Wentworth being only one of them. Each of those people impacted her, even if she didn't realize how much. Because I'm not certain she actually does realize what a difference they make in her life, at least not at first. She slowly starts coming into her own and realizing her own potential. And that she is attractive to the opposite sex. As you said, Captain Benwick and Mr. Eliot both help in that regard. Even though she never harbored any true attraction for them, I think they boosted her confidence a lot.

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  5. Wonderful post, Kara, and great observations about the character! I never thought about her charcter journey being one of finding herself, though I did think about how at the end she does step out of that "overlooked" element she was in in early in the novel, finds happiness, and is no longer lonely. It also pains me reading the early chapters where everyone pretty much overlooks her, even the Musgroves (however kind they were towards her).

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    1. Thanks, Liane. And yes! The way she's treated and overlooked in the beginning of the story just breaks my heart. Including the Musgroves! They were kind, but they didn't really view her as someone other than a confidant or a peace-maker.

      I confess that it took me a while to thinking and analyzing her character before I decided that she does journey to find herself. At least, that's how I viewed it. She gains confidence in herself. Which is just lovely to watch! :)

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  6. I love that picture at the top! As you know, I've recently discovered Persuasion, and I LOVE IT! I can't get enough. I've watched 2 movies, and I just finished reading Captain Wentworth's Diary. I love Anne's character development too, and I think her family takes her for granted. She is a strong and quiet, and I love that about her. Great post!

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    1. Thank you, Kami! That picture at the top is amazing. The artist did a fabulous job! :) Anne is just awesome, isn't she? Watching her gain confidence in herself and find the love of her life again is so wonderful. It made me happy when I found out you enjoyed the book! :)

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