What is an example from Persuasion of what the state of a marriage reveals about the individuals in it?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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A clear example of what the state of a marriage reveals about the individuals in it is the case of Mrs. Smith.

On Chapter 17, when Anne goes to visit Bath, she encounters her good friend and former governess, Mrs Smith (nee Ms. Hamilton), in the worst and most hapless conditions imaginable for a woman.

Her misfortunes came as a result of one thing: Her husband's extravagances. When she was to be married to him, she had intended to make a "good marriage". In this sense, a good marriage entails the connection to someone of higher social status, which will give name, financial stability and possessions to his wife.

However, nothing good came out of what should have been a good union. His extravagances brought the marriage to ruin, he died young and broke, and she was childless and destitute. On top of it, she developed a form of debilitating illness, and had nobody to care for her.

The conclusion of all this is that women entered marriage completely susceptible to the world, and their husbands would ultimately dictate their fates. Therefore, in the state of a marriage such as Smith's we see the master/servant, co-dependent and fruitless assumption that a man will provide and secure a home with this "gentleman's honor".

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