"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 7
What I should have done last week was put up this time table for our reading of Persuasion . . .
20 August -- Chapters 1 to 4
27 August -- Chapters 5 to 8
3 September -- Chapters 9 to 12
10 September -- Chapters 13 to 16
17 September -- Chapters 17 to 20
24 September -- Chapters 21 to 24
If anyone would like to do a guest post or to host one meeting on his or her blog, starting next week, just let me know before then! =)
Chapters 5 to 8
So . . . did anyone else expect to die a little during Anne and Wentworth's first meeting in over seven years? LOL! How it actually plays out is almost anti-climactic--and we almost agree with Anne that "The worst is over!"
But of course it isn't! =P Now she gets to sit back and watch while the man she still loves picks another fiancee among a bevy of younger, prettier girls who have all been "admitted to the honour of being in love with him." (Cue cackle of schadenfreude.) Right now, there is nothing much to differentiate the two Miss Hayters and the two Miss Musgroves; but as Captain Wentworth tells his sister, he isn't picky.
"Yes, here I am, Sophia, ready to make a foolish match. Anybody between fifteen and thirty may have me for asking. A little beauty, and a few smiles, and a few compliments to the navy, and I am a lost man. Should not this be enough for a sailor, who has had no society among women to make him nice?"
As our peek into his sister's thoughts tells us, however, he knows that he is very "nice" and we can be sure he has more standards than these. As I read Chapter 8, my eyes sharpened every time he said anything about ships he had commanded, just in case it was some metaphor for marriage--and I felt a little silly when I was done with the chapter and realised it must have all been perfectly literal.
Then there is Anne at the piano, providing the music while everyone else dances. It reminded me of a sad passage from Chapter 6:
She played a great deal better than either of the Miss Musgroves; but having no voice, no knowledge of the harp, and no fond parents to sit by and fancy themselves delighted, her performance was little thought of, and only out of civility, or to refresh the others, as she was well aware. She knew that when she played she was giving pleasure only to herself; but this was no new sensation: excepting one short period of her life, she had never, since the age of fourteen, never since the loss of her dear mother, known the happiness of being listened to, or encouraged by any just appreciation or a real taste. In music, she had always used to feel alone in the world . . .
I'm just playing grammar detective now, but does anyone else think that the "one short period of her life . . . since the age of fourteen" alludes to her engagement? And if so, does this mean that Anne's talent for music will play a significant role later in the plot?
It's also interesting to note that Anne never seems to be listened to. Apparently, even Lady Russell, who loves Anne well, cannot appreciate her goddaughter's playing. And yet it is superior to that of everyone else in the novel. This tips us off: the happy ending will come when Anne can finally make herself heard.