Thursday, September 15, 2011

Those little things you never notice

In case you couldn't tell by a lot of "My Top Tens," I love Jane Austen to pieces. If anyone says anything negative about her I pounce to her defense. And my all-time favorite book of hers is Persuasion. I've read it four times, seen both versions of the movie at least once, and even studied it in a British Literature class last winter.

Now I'm taking a class on writing literary criticism. So of course we need a book to read so that we can criticize it. And what does my professor choose, but Persuasion. Not only one of my favorite books, but I also already own a copy with notes in it. Score!

Last week we started talking about it (if you haven't read it: Anne broke her engagement with Wentworth, who later became rich and a captain in the navy. Due to various circumstances the two are thrown back in the same social circle, where he has the eye of all the ladies especially the Musgrove sisters, Louisa and Henrietta). My professor was lecturing, and talked about the first dinner scene when Captain Wentworth comes back. In it, he describes his first ship, the Asp, as "worn out and broken up...hardly fit for service." He doesn't have very nice things to say about the Asp. His brother-in-law, Admiral Croft, and his sister chastise him, saying how amazing the ship was and how many would have loved to command her. Then they talk a bit about Captain Wentworth's time with his ship the Laconia.

Now, I've read this scene over a lot. And many of you who have read it probably didn't notice the parallels. Anne (the Asp) was Captain Wentworth's first. In his return, Louisa Musgrove (the Laconia) becomes his new interest. This scene is in parallel to Captain Wentworth's career and love life. It's so simple, for the Asp and Anne, the Laconia and Louisa. But I'd never even noticed it.

Do you like to put little parallels and connections in your writing? Have you noticed any in a book you've read?


  1. That is interesting. I will have to pay more attention to that aspect.

  2. I have not read this particular Jane Austen novel, however, that is a wonderful writing technique, the use of an understated but powerful analogy.