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What parallels are there between the novel Persuasion and Jane Austen's life?

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if1 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 18, 2012 at 1:48 AM via web

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What parallels are there between the novel Persuasion and Jane Austen's life?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 17, 2013 at 5:48 AM (Answer #1)

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One parallel we see between Jane Austen's own life and her heroine of Persuasion, Anne, is with respect to love and marriage.

Similar to Anne, early in life, Austen fell in love with a man named Tom Lefroy. Though he was studying to be a barrister in London, the Lefroy family intervened in the match due to lack of fortune. Tom's education and the establishment of his practice was being paid for by an external family member. Hence, it would have been much more practical for Tom to marry a woman with a fortune. Unfortunately, Jane was the daughter of a clergyman; therefore, her own family had no money to give her for a dowry. The Lefroy's permanently separated the couple (Alex, "Jane Austen Biography").

Anne's story turned out a bit better than Jane's real story, but just like Jane, Anne was discouraged from marrying Captain Wentworth, whom she was in love with, because he had no fortune. He had already earned a lot of money in the navy, but had not saved any of it. However, he believed that "he should soon be rich ... should soon have a ship, and soon be on a station that would lead to everything he wanted" (Ch. 4). Regardless, his present lack of fortune and connections made both Anne's father and her dear friend Lady Russell repulsed by the idea. Hence, just like Austen was forced to part from Tom, Anne was forced to reject Captain Wentworth's proposal.

However, unlike Austen who never saw Tom again, Captain Wentworth soon returned to Anne's life. This time, he had acquired a substantial fortune, proving to Anne that she had been wrong in allowing herself to be persuaded not to marry him. Therefore, unlike Austen, Anne is soon proposed to again by Wentworth and this time marries him.

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