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The Fangirl’s Chapter Challenge: Chapter 1-3: A Still Very Fine Man and Where’s Anne?

Chapter 1-3: A Still Very Fine Man and Where’s Anne?



The Fangirl’s Chapter Challenge is an original weekly challenge/meme started here at Just Way Too Boss. The rules are super simple. It's all about having fun!

1. Choose a book and however many chapters you want to write about in a week
2. Each week write your thoughts about the chapter(s) you've read
3. Be fangirl-y and have fun! You can follow my template (summary, thoughts, quotes, life lessons) or do whatever you feel like! Just let us know what happened in the chapter(s) and what you thought of them!
4. Yes, it says fangirl but feel free to change it to fanboy. Anyone can use this challenge.
5. Leave a link in the comments so we can see what you wrote!

For my first The Fangirl’s Chapter Challenge, I’ve decided to re-read Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I love all of dear Jane’s work and Persuasion is one of my favorite slow-burn so-beautiful-breaks-your-heart romances stories out there! It’s got a Cinderella theme and THE MOST ROMANTIC LETTER EVER CREATED!!

I will be breaking down the novel into 3 chapters a week. Let us begin the journey to Jane Austen’s darling world of the Regency era!

Summary


Persuasion begins by introducing us to Sir Walter Elliot, father of the heroine, and his not-so-secret fixation over his own attractiveness and position. He was lucky because his deceased wife was smart, good and kind and her only one mistake was falling for Sir Walter cuz he was so hot and rich.

Mom left behind three daughters – eldest Elizabeth, who grew up to be like daddy (pretty and dumb); Anne, a sweet, reserved girl who grew up to be like Mom, and Mary, who married someone who wasn’t poor but a total nobody which seared Daddy’s pride. The girls thankfully didn’t grow up motherless as Surrogate Mom, Lady Russell stepped in to make sure the girls weren’t alone. Perhaps widowed Lady Russell and widower Sir Walter might’ve gotten a thing on, since they were neighbors and friends for years, but Lady Russell’s crow marks on her temples apparently killed that.

Without any sons, the estate, Kellynch Hall, is promised to the closet male heir, Sir William Walter Elliot, nephew to Sir Walter and NOT to be confused with his uncle (cuz you know, their names are kinda similar). The Heir Apparent burned bridges with the fam after he married a super-rich lady of zero background. Eldest daughter, Elizabeth Elliot still hates her cousin’s guts, since she could’ve married him and kept Kellynch Hall. Now Sir William is a widower, but Elizabeth still hates him.

Time to vacate, Elliots
Which leads into the very pressing situation that the family is forced to deal with. Daddy’s been spending all the money and they’re basically poor now! Their lawyer talks to Lady Russell who in turn talks to Anne, the daughter that’s always overlooked because Dad and Sis can’t stand how plain and normal she is, who in turn tells them that DRASTIC changes must be made. Of course Anne’s the only one with guts or sense because Dad and Sis swear any income budgets would kill them.


The lawyer convinces the fam that they need to move – either London (but too expensive), Bath (moderate), or in the country (best choice, but too embarrassing for a baronet like Sir Walter). Everyone agrees to Bath, except Anne who was never asked, and she also hates Bath. Lady Russell, who loves Anne most, thinks its best all around. Though she’s a caring lady, she’s a colossal snob and basically worships titles. She wants Sir Walter to feel good about saving money (can’t have the man feeling like he’s poor!) and she’s sure Anne will get over her silly feelings about Bath.

Finally, the lawyer has the difficult job of smooching up Sir Walter, making him believe that renting out Kellynch Hall to someone is the best plan. Dad can’t stand the idea, but agrees to it – if someone just happens to need a place, but no advertising. Word gets round anyway and a worthy gent, Admiral Croft, asks for the place. Sir Walter is disgusted at Navy people in his house because of how quickly they age and become ugly (whoa dude...) but his family convinces him it's for the best. And then the lawyer throws out a zinger that only Anne feels acutely – Admiral Croft’s wife is sister to none other than Captain Wentworth! Who is Captain Wentworth? Well, we’re not told yet. But considering Anne’s words, he was definitely a somebody in her life. Deep breaths.
“a few more months, and he, perhaps, may be walking here.” – Anne Elliot

Thoughts 

Though Persuasion starts out quietly and with a lot of backstory, and doesn’t really have the heroine around until the last part of the third chapter, it’s got all that classic Jane Austen comedy of manners and fun setup that makes it great.

If you look at the story and characters straightforward and sincerely, you’d probably be annoyed. I mean, these rich people are really conceited and obsessed with weird stuff (like their own genealogy book and how lesser attractive people might rent their houses). But Persuasion is far more comedy than I sometimes remember and even dabbles in the realm of fairytale retellings with loud, terrible characters surrounding a few innocent, good people in this world. Honestly, Anne’s family is hilarious in a very sad and humiliating way. Just like Mrs. Bennet and Lydia in Pride and Prejudice, the Elliots have birth rights but no real class. The fuss about the things that were given to them (looks, baronetcy) and belittle people for actually making a name for themselves! They literally derive the Navy officers for gaining a name for themselves, even though Navy guys bust their butts making money and getting position the hard way. Dang, that’s harsh.

Anne Elliot. Persuasion 1971.
Despite how much is lacking of Anne at the beginning, we learn a lot about her just from her family. She’s had to put up with these people for a loooong time! She’s a total hero, friends. We all know back then a woman had so little ways to provide for herself, which meant she was completely dependent on her parents. And this makes Elizabeth and Anne’s situations rather painful. Their father (and well, Elizabeth too) overspent recklessly, and his fate would be their fates. Anne’s obviously got the drive to face whatever may be though. She pushed for more budget revisions than anybody else and wanted to live in a tiny house in the country. She’s definitely an introvert, lol, and clearly not afraid to face reality.


Though I’ve read the story (and watched the adaptations) before, I’m going in as fresh as I can to experience the story all over again. Which leads me to what are my initial feelings about Lady Russell? And it’s really half and half. She’s a pretty solid lady for being there for three motherless girls. She helps the family economize. Though she wants Anne in Bath despite her desires, her motive is to see Anne happy and not in so much isolation. In that regard, seeing Lady Russell as Mom 2, who even loves Elizabeth despite how she totally ignores her, makes her seem to be a positive influence in the girls’ lives. But her fatal flaw – obsession of titles over uh… reality, makes me very wary of her (also I KNOW WHAT SHE DID AND SHE’S A MONSTER!!!)

Some interesting things I learned that I completely forgot about from when I first read the book –

Captain Wentworth had a good job as a curator of Monkord before he, well, became a captain. Of course, to the Elliots and Russells that meant he was a nobody. Jerks.

Admiral Croft was “the rear admiral of the White”. Apparently the Navy had three divisions – Red, White and Blue. And that made him like second top dog in the Navy before he left (or so the notes in the Persuasion I’m reading tell me). He also served in the Trafalgar Campaign – super confusing, over-complicated attempt in 1805 by French + Spanish ships to get past the Royal Navy and take over England. Apparently the plan failed because the Royal Navy is a beast to deal with and Napoleon kept messing things up. So basically, Admiral Croft was a hero serving in wartime for his country!

Just how handsome is the Dad??? While it’d be funny if the guy believed himself to be gorgeous but he wasn’t… the narrator (who we must trust??) calls him still a very fine man for 54. So how fine? And wait… does asking this question basically make me like Sir Walter? OH MY WORD? AM I THE NEXT SIR WALTER??

I've added in some pics of actors in their 50s who we could use as a template to imagine what Dad might've looked like...!! (please join me in imagining each actor in spiffy British 18th century clothes sitting with his daughters and sputtering on about how handsome he is and how plain the world is)

#Viggo Mortensen
#Johnny Depp
#Brad Pitt
#Tom Cruise
Vote below it the comments for who you think Dad Elliot should look like!
My vote is Tom Cruise, cuz I find that the most hilarious choice, lol!

Quotes

“The navy, I think, who have done so much for us, have at least an equal claim with any other set of men, for all the comforts and all the privileges which any home can give. Sailors work hard enough for their comforts, we must allow.” – Anne Elliot

“You misled me by the term gentleman. I thought you were speaking of some man of property: Mr. Wentworth was nobody; I remember; quite unconnected; nothing to do with the Strafford family. One wonders how the names of many of our nobility become so common.” – Sir Walter Elliot

Life Lessons I’ve Gleaned

That hot, rich dude you like might be Mr. Darcy… or a young Sir Walter. Look before you leap, ladies!

You have to wear black ribbons for your cousin’s deceased wife, even if you hate this guts and wanted him to marry you not her. Also eww.

Admiral is better than Mr. but Sir is best of all.

You can never use too many hyphens. If your editor has a problem, shove this book in their faces! 200 years later and Austen’s still a household name!

Let me know your thoughts about Persuasion, and if you've decided to join in the chapter challenge, leave a link in the comments so we can check out your posts!

Comments

  1. I've always think of 'persuasion' as my favorite austen novel though it used to be 'pride and prejudices' but only because I read that first.

    I didn't even of cinderella when I read 'persuasion' but now that you mentioned it, it really is like the cinderella story, awful sister elizabeth, sir walter could take the place of the evil stepmother & the prince is wentworth. sounds very much like it.

    I guess I'll have to read the book again because I don't recall wentworth being a curator. I think the movie/tv adaptations ruin my view of the book because, sadly, all I really remember is the movie/tv adaptations and not the book. my favorite version is with sally hawkins as anne and rupert penry-jones as wentworth.

    the whole cousins marrying cousins makes me cringe. it was the norm in those days but you know, just weird.

    hyphens? haven't notice that. but I do hate it when they use it to replace a name of a place instead of the place, which I guess I don't quite get.

    fangirl chapter- interesting idea, will have to think on this.

    have a lovely day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pride and Prejudice was the first Jane Austen novel I read also. And for school too. Of course I fell in love and started reading all the books. :D

      Yeah I never thought of it either, but when I joined a Cinderella Blogathon awhile back in early 2016, I read an article about the similarities which I thought was cool.

      It's just a single line about Wentworth's old curator job. Yeah, that's true. The movie/TV versions kind of overpower the book in our minds. The Sally Hawkins verison is my favorite as well, though I still think there hasn't been a version that's completely captured the heart of Persuasion.

      Haha, I know. Cousin romance is awkward. One of my favorite Louisa May Alcott books is Rose In Bloom where the heroine has two love interests, both her cousins. I always tried to imagine she was adopted or something to pretend it didn't feel so weird lol.

      It's more a joke about the hyphens. I don't mind them. But I'm pretty certain a modern editor would've forced Jane to eliminate a lot of them haha. She had her own style though, which I like.

      lemmie know if you ever decide to do it! I'd love to read your posts. :D

      Thanks for stopping by Lissa! :D

      Delete

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