Personality And Morality In Anne Austen's Persuasion By Jane Austen

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Persuasion’s hero and heroine have little to say to each other at the beginning of this novel; in fact, they seldom exchange much verbal discourse until the novel has nearly concluded. Anne is resolute in her love for Captain Wentworth, but she feels as if she does not deserve any reciprocation, nor does she even see this as a possibility after her painful rejection of him seven years prior. Meanwhile, Captain Wentworth fully intends to settle down with a suitable young woman, “but, except from some natural sensation of curiosity, he had no desire of meeting her [Anne] again. Her power with him was gone forever” (Austen 45). Therefore, at the opening of Persuasion, Anne and Wentworth “[have] no conversation together, no intercourse but what…show more content…
Soon after Anne’s entrance into the White Hart, “her eyes instinctively glanced towards the distant table, Captain Wentworth’s pen ceased to move, his head was raised, pausing, listening, and he turned round the next instant to give a look – one quick, conscious look at her” (Austen 163). Everything going on around Anne fades out, and similarly to the concert scene described earlier, “Anne heard nothing distinctly; it was only a buzz of words in her ear, her mind was in confusion” (163). In these scenes, the narrator effectively points out the sheer power that a mere glance from Captain Wentworth can hold over Anne’s mind and consciousness, not to mention her heart. His glance seizes her into a world comprising only of the two of them, and she is not fully roused back into reality until Captain Harville prompts her to a conversation on constancy in love. After Wentworth hears that Anne not only believes in the solidity of men’s love, but also asserts the longevity of women’s – perhaps, a subtle allusion to her own – wills himself to hand her the letter “with eyes of glowing entreaty fixed on her for a moment” (167). Here, his eyes are described with a new brilliance, which indicates a passion that has either been absent or imperceptible up until this point in the novel. His renewed love for her is apparent in his fixation, and he is undeniably captivated, as “he had seen every thing to exalt in his estimation the woman he had lost” (171). Even when Captain Wentworth delivers his message, he does it by way of his eyes and his letter; thus, these exchanges of looks and other forms of non-verbal communication are more pivotal in bringing forth more understanding and change than mere words spoken

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