Jane Austen Alternate Ending

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Jane Austen was unsatisfied with the original ending of her novel Persuasion, in which Anne is flung into a situation in which she must confront Captain Wentworth, and their relationship is restored too suddenly and then, abruptly, the book just ends, leaving many questions unanswered. To craft a more satisfying end to her novel, Austen increased its length both in word count and in timespan, which allows readers to ease into the ending without sacrificing drama—the perfect recipe for a satisfying ending. One of the most obvious differences between the original and actual endings is the length. The cancelled section is a single chapter of about nine pages, which was replaced by two chapters totaling twenty-nine pages. All this extra space gave…show more content…
As you can probably tell from my summary of the chapter, its events happen in fairly rapid succession. No sooner has Anne left Mrs. Smith than she is trying to convince Admiral Croft that she has no time to stay. Once she is inside, she distresses over Captain Wentworth’s presence for an instant before he goes out into the hall with Admiral Croft, who “instantly, before they were well out of the room…continued – ‘As I am going to leave you together, it is but fair I should give you something to talk of” (Cancelled Chapters). This causes Anne even more distress as she attempts to overhear their conversation and becomes convinced of “their being speaking of her” (Cancelled Chapters). Finally, Captain Wentworth relays Admiral Croft’s message to her—though it is full of hesitations and interjections—and upon denying there being “truth in any such report” (Cancelled Chapters), the tension finally dissolves and Austen rushes to the finish. But the dominating feeling of the cancelled chapter is distress and uncertainty—on the part of Anne and of Captain Wentworth—and we are given hardly any relief from this distress because there just isn’t enough time. By the time one concern is addressed, another has been introduced, and there are some questions that never get answered. For instance, much of…show more content…
The added length allows for a much less abrupt ending because a lot more happens between Anne’s meeting with Mrs. Smith and Captain Wentworth’s declaration of his love for her. Anne is allowed to go home and recover from the shock of Mr. Elliot’s horrible past, which gives the readers some time to recover and reflect as well. He visits her family that night, which gives readers some insight into how Anne’s relationship to him has changed: “she could hardly bear the sight of his present smiles and mildness, or the sound of his artificial good sentiments” (172). The next day, the Musgroves and friends arrive in Bath, and Anne spends a full day with them and Captain Wentworth before finally, the next day, he writes his letter to her declaring his love. This declaration seems less abrupt than the one in the cancelled chapter for two reasons: readers are given more hints about his affection for Anne beforehand and because there is some time after we read the letter in which both Anne and we can recover from the emotion of it. These hints take the form of Captain Wentworth’s odd behavior as he and Anne spend time with the Musgroves. When Anne mentions Mr. Elliot, “she felt that Captain Wentworth was looking at her” (179), and he later says “as if it were the result of immediate feeling—‘It is a period, indeed! Eight years and a half is a period!’” (181) in reference to their years of separation. The possibility of his

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