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Mediumlength Sample Answers Jane Austen's Persuasion

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Table of Contents

Like all Austen’s novels, Persuasion ends happily with a marriage between the heroine and the man she loves. In Persuasion, however, numerous types of marriages exist, from good to bad. What does Anne Elliot learn about marriage from observing the various marriages of the people around her? 4

In many of Austen’s novels, some characters serve as foils for others. A “foil” is a character whose personality and behaviour contrasts with another character’s and thus highlights that character’s qualities. How is Louisa Musgrove a foil for Anne Elliot? And how does Louisa’s being a foil for Anne impact Wentworth’s changing views of Anne? 5

When Anne Elliot and Captain Harville discuss the differences in constancy between men and women, Anne tells him that women “live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us. You are forced on exertion. You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately, and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions.” 7

Her observation states a truth about the lives of women of the upper classes in eighteenth-century England. How is this statement true of Anne’s life—and that of other women in the novel? 7

Austen is famous for her use of irony in her novels. In Persuasion, she directs that irony in particular at Sir Walter. How does Austen use irony to reveal the character of Sir Walter and make a statement about men like Sir Walter in general? 9


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