In Persuasion, what is the relationship between class and money?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Jane Austen's era, as is demonstrated in Persuasion, the relationship between class and money is a distinct, direct and important one. As Lady Russell admonishes, without wealth, a person cannot establish her-/imself in a higher class of society. Wentworth illustrates this quite well. It was because he had no wealth that Lady Russell declined to accept him in her social class and persuaded Anne to reject his love and proposal. Even Wentworth's name symbolically points out this relationship: He went because he had no monetary worth. In addition, without the continuation of wealth, a person cannot continue in good standing in a higher class of society. The Baron illustrates this quite well. After wasting his fortune away, he is forced to restricting his lifestyle and reducing his costs, which are measures that result in he and his family being less acceptable to higher class social circles. Anne herself illustrates one further aspect of the relationship between money and class. Since she is both unmarried and without an independent fortune of her own, and since she is dependent upon her father's dwindling fortune, she will be increasingly lowered in class after her father's death and become the dependent of any charitable relative who will take her in and give her a home.

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