What does the idea below suggest about the ways the novel’s plot is or is not dependent on gender differences in Persuasion?In Persuasion by Austen, both male and female characters spend a lot of...

What does the idea below suggest about the ways the novel’s plot is or is not dependent on gender differences in Persuasion?

In Persuasion by Austen, both male and female characters spend a lot of time thinking about marriage--do they want the same things out of a marriage?

Asked on by nhakami

1 Answer | Add Yours

kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Of course, Jane Austen would not have thought in terms of plot dependence (or lack of dependence) on gender differences; this is purely a contemporary thought construct. On the other hand, Persuasion is an "ivory" upon which Austen "paints" the miniature though accurate picture of the lives of men and women in her era in her class and the classes in which she was privileged to socialize. In these classes, the needs, requirements, and opportunities of men and women often overlapped yet were as often different. As a result, someone from the twenty-first century might examine the text of Persuasion from a cultural theory of criticism and discover a dependence in the plot on gender differences.

This sort of analysis would be supported by the conversation Anne and Harville have while standing at the window about the constancy of men's and women's affection and devotion. Another support for it would be Wentworth's ability to advance in a career and change his fortunes while, during the same period of time, Anne only fades in beauty, cares for her demandingly petulant married sister, and subsists on the expectation of a lonely life. Another support might be Louisa's happiness at Captain Wentworth's attentions and the expectations of social and financial benefit she and her family expect to receive as a result of a marriage between them.

We’ve answered 318,916 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question