Discussion Questions: Persuasion
Hello, Classics Challengers! This week, we’re reading Persuasion, Jane Austen’s last complete novel. While Sense and Sensibility has been my favorite Austen for a while now, Persuasion is quickly eclipsing it in my mind. Remember, our discussion post will be on Thursday, and all participants will be entered in next month’s drawing for a Penguin Clothbound Classic. Here’s what we’ll be talking about on Thursday:
First and foremost, let’s discuss Frederick Wentworth. Do you see him as a typical Austen hero along the lines of Edward Ferrars, Fitzwilliam Darcy, etc., or is he more distinct? If you see him as different, please discuss why.
Like Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion‘s main theme is hinted at by the title. How is the act of persuasion seen as a double-edged sword in the novel? What defines just and unjust means for wielding this rhetorical weapon?
The issues of rank and social mobility lurk behind the more central themes in this novel; think Sir Elliot and his maintaining what he sees as a fitting lifestyle, or the Musgrove cousins who are a class below Henrietta and Lousia, or Wentworth himself. How does Austen feel about rank in general, do you think? How can you discern (or can you discern) her opinion on the matter?
Thanks, Challengers, and I’ll see you on Thursday!