The novel persuasion holds no relevance today, as the main theme, of social class and misunderstandings of people’s feelings would not occur today. ‘Persuasion’ was written in the late 19th century, when many customs and rules where followed in order for people not to loose respectability within their social circles and class. There are many aspects of ‘persuasion’ which hold no relevance today, although the aspect of human condition remains constant. As times and social standing may change but human emotions will not.
Firstly we come to the role of women, and their importance and rights. In the late nineteenth-century, a woman’s social rank was extremely tenuous. Women were unique in the class society for their ability to rise or fall in social station easily. After marriage, a woman’s rank was entirely dependent upon her husband’s birth and social standing. In contrast, although a man might increase his fortune, he could not improve his rank by marrying a well-born woman; his wife would only fall to his level. An example of this in the novel is Mary, who marries into the Hayter family.
A family with title but they re still not as titled as the Elliot’s . Choosing a marriage partner well, then, was of the utmost importance for a woman. Her friends and family would seek to guide her in finding the very best man available. In the novel, the theme of social mobility for women is illustrated by the “dangerous” prospect of a match between Mrs. Clay and Sir Walter. Today the role of women has altered dramatically, women now have independence and control unlike in the novel where women are constantly in the shadow of men.
It was very important for the gentle men to hold a certain title and reputation and to follow rules and regulations. This is apparent in the novel when Mr. Elliot openly rejected the rules and values of his class and station; by writing all those years ago that he cared neither for his family nor his title. The aristocracy is based upon the core beliefs of family and tradition; by rejecting these, Mr. Elliot proves himself unworthy to hold the title of baronet. The concept of rules, regulations, and abiding by them were very important. I got rid of sir wallet and miss’, ‘I wish I had any name but Elliot’ Secondly I shall discuss the concept of social realism in the novel. Many of themes discussed in the novel may have had a very important role in the daily lives of the upper-class, in England in the late 19th century. The themes of wealth, status, marriage, and title were essential. Although many of the conversations and thoughts of the characters hold no relevance, the underlying idea and feelings behind the initial idea still would remain.
A typical point in the novel illustrating this is chapter 8 of volume two. Anne implores for Captain Wentworth to remain at the concert hall ‘is this not a song worth staying for’, although, due to Mr Elliot’s presence captain Wentworth decides to leave. This scenario may still be apparent today as although the social conventions have moved on, the feelings that Anne feels may still be felt today. The description of the relationship by keeping the feelings between the knowledge that Captain Wentworth and Anne are in love with each other must be released slowly.
The novel considered as a whole, the problems which promote the feelings of the characters are not relevant. The actual feelings and thoughts felt by characters which were triggered by the problems are. In the novel we come across Lady Dalrymple, a rather pretentious and ostentatious human being. Sir Walter and Elizabeth who have a fair share of vanity still choose to degrade themselves and reacquaint themselves with their cousins. This degrading of self character to please others and make others happy may still be standing in today’s society.
The ideas and concepts that bring these emotions to a front seem to have no significance in this day and age although the emotions that are revealed still exist today. The feelings of jealousy, self deprecation and belonging are still as important today as they were then. Austen may be trying to project the idea of human condition and character development is more of an important relevance then social standing, but as the human conditions in the novel are in direct effect of social class and conventions of the 19th century these problems need not arise today.
Character development through out the whole course of the novel is an important factor in keeping the aspect of human emotion and reality in the novel. The realistic changes of character throughout the novel help to bring the idea of the novel into a modern society. The development of Anne, captain Wentworth and the other characters in the novel are still familiarised in today’s society. Anne from a timid young vulnerable girl blossoms into a mature and understanding woman.
The characters of Captain Wentworth and others are shown to develop throughout the course of the novel. To throw away herself at nineteen’, ‘she had been forced into prudence in her youth; she learned romance as she grew older’. The book includes both social motives and human emotions. Austen expresses the feelings of the characters through social motives. But the novels human emotions are what keep readers of a modern social convention interested. As they can relate to similar feeling and emotions under different conditions and the ability of the characters in the novel to deal with them in a manner most suited to them.
The idea of human emotion and condition is the only aspect of the novel that holds and ties the changing times to the novel. The importance for the novel to include social motive is as equally important as human emotion, as the human emotions in the novel are a direct impact of the social conventions of the times. . Austen is not a revolutionary; she defends the values and traditions of respect for the social structure. Yet she is subtly subversive in her support of greater social mobility.
The Navy’s role in gradually increasing class flexibility is stated to be one of its “domestic virtues. But there are rules and limits to social ambition in Austen’s world. Mr. Elliot and Mrs. Clay are punished for the selfishness they show in overstepping their bounds and breaking these rules. Austen is conservative in her respect for class traditions, yet practically she recognizes the advantages of greater social flexibility. The novel is mainly based on the upper class therefore may only be giving the thoughts, ideas and feelings of one class. A person from a lower class may be seen as someone who has not got that much of a social respectability, in the eyes of social systems back then.
They then in effect would not have much of a reputation to hold onto, therefore may be more expressive of their feelings and emotions. To conclude the idea and concept of social realism, character development and human conditions of the characters in the novel is one which is very slightly hold relevance today. Issues addressed in the novel have no connection to today’s modern social conventions. Although the feelings which were a direct impact of the issues discussed still remain.