The Psychology of Anne Elliot | Jane Austen's Persuasion | Summary and Q&A

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February 6, 2022
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The Psychology of Anne Elliot | Jane Austen's Persuasion

TL;DR

Jane Austen's character, Anne Elliot, is persuaded to break off her engagement with Captain Wentworth due to societal pressures and the influence of her mother figure, Lady Russell.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why was Lady Russell's opinion so influential in Anne's decision to break off her engagement?

Lady Russell, a mother figure to Anne, had a significant role in her life and influenced her values. Anne valued Lady Russell's opinion and wanted to please her, even if it meant sacrificing her own happiness.

Q: Did Captain Wentworth's lack of wealth play a role in Anne's decision?

The societal pressure to marry for financial stability and status influenced Anne's decision. Lady Russell, with her focus on social rank, felt that Wentworth's lack of money made him an unsuitable match for Anne.

Q: How did the loss of their mother affect Anne and her sisters differently?

Elizabeth, the eldest sister, took on the responsibility of running the household but struggled with the task. Mary, the youngest sister, exhibited signs of arrested development, clinging to childhood behaviors. Anne found solace and guidance in her godmother, Lady Russell.

Q: Why did Anne turn down another proposal from Charles Musgrove?

Anne valued intellectual compatibility and realized that Charles Musgrove was not her intellectual equal. She learned to trust her own judgment and prioritized her own happiness over societal expectations.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The loss of Anne's mother, Lady Elliot, had a major impact on her and her sisters, leading to different reactions and behaviors.

  • Lady Russell becomes a mother figure to Anne, shaping her values and influencing her decisions.

  • Lady Russell's biases and preferences, combined with societal pressures, contribute to Anne's decision to break off her engagement with Captain Wentworth.

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