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Chapter One of Persuasion by Jane Austen Essay

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Chapter One of Persuasion by Jane Austen

Chapter one of Persuasion makes use of a highly economic narrative style, which celebrates Austen’s success as a novelist. Austen’s narrative style is so successful in chapter one of Persuasion as many of the characters are introduced to the reader along with the majority of the main themes which concern them in the novel. Austen clearly underlines that she is writing with a novelist’s voice, using traditional conventions of third person with past tense. This first hint of Austen’s narration style is shown in chapter one and reappears again in chapter eleven where it is evident that Austen has become an omniscient narrator. This highlights to the reader that everything we are told in
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The idea that Sir Walter cannot produce a son shows, to an extent, that Sir Walter’s family is falling in social rank, as his daughters can be seen as a metaphor to suggest
Sir Walter’s own impotence in society with the further decline of the
Elliot household.

Another important theme in Persuasion is introduced to us in the opening chapter in the guise of vanity and appearances. “He could read his own history with an interest which never failed – this was the page at which the favourite volume always opened: ‘Elliot of Kellynch
Hall. Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760.” Sir Walter’s obsession with his own history shows us that vanity is Walter Elliot’s driving force in life. It also goes to show Sir Walter’s carelessness of major affairs, as the only script he cares to read is his own “Baronetage”.
When describing Walter Elliot, Austen uses flattering language, such as “fine”, “beauty” and “good looks”. There is a tone of acute amusement and gentle contempt in Austen’s writing with “Sir Walter
Elliot, who united these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and devotion”. This tone almost suggests to us that Austen does not perceive beauty to be of the utmost importance in life. By saying of Sir Walter that “he could read his own history with an interest which never failed”
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