Contemplate your favorite classic to date. When was this book written? Why would you say it has been preserved by the ages? Do you think it will still be respected/treasured 100 years from now? If it had been written in our own era, would it be as well received?
It’s almost impossible to pick a “favorite” classic, so I’m just going to pick one of many. Persuasion by Jane Austen was published in 1818. I think Austen’s fame from her other works (especially Pride and Prejudice) has preserved her less popular works, including Persuasion. I hope that her work will still be popular in 100 years, because the themes she deals with are timeless.
I think that if it was written today a lot of people would dismiss it as “chick lit.” It deals with a woman and a romance and some publisher would probably slap and stupid pink cover on it with flowers or something. But there’s so much more to the story! Anne Elliot caves to family pressure and refuses to marry the man she’s in love with. Eight years go by and her path crosses with her old flame once again. There is obviously a beautifully slow-burning romance in the book, but for me Anne’s story is much more important.
Throughout the plot she learns how to stand up for herself and form her own opinions. She refuses to be cowed into cancelling a meeting with a close friend that her family sees as “beneath her.” She doesn’t fall for the shallow Mr. Elliot’s attempts to woo her. She is loyal and kind and incredibly observant. In one scene she discusses the depth of feelings that women have vs. men with Captain James Benwick, a man grieving the death of the woman he loves. That scene shows us more about Anne’s true feelings than any other in the book.
I think that Anne’s age should also be considered when thinking about when it was written. In the book she is 27, which was considered old for an unmarried woman at the time. She knows that the odds she will ever marry are very limited, which means she is dependent on her relatives and so the fact that she stands up against them is even more impressive. She had very few options at that point and yet she stood up for herself.
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