Newness for a New Year

Monday, March 28, 2011


Saturday, I went to the BYU production of Persuasion. It was a fairly traditional read of the play, although they did include a young Anne and Captain Wentworth throughout. The two would come on stage and provide memory moments for the older Anne and Captain Wentworth. It was a fun addition to the play. It seemed to really reflect how life is... we are living in the present but with constant views into our past. Even being down in Provo drew all kinds of memories fresh to my mind and heart. I was walking in the present and past simultaneously. That is the way of life.

The one thing I did not enjoy about the play was the shocking absence of my favorite line from the book.

It is Anne, who after seeing Captain Wentworth again, says, "There could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison, no countenances so beloved. Now they were strangers ... it was perpetual estrangement." These lines are the crux of the entire conflict. They are so beautiful, drenched with the hope of what could be and the loss of what is. It is the division that must be overcome...two people so complete when together and yet apart.

I've had many people ask why Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen. I guess it all started by chance really. I was 18 or 19 at Ricks College, and I used to scour the bookstore for good reads. Well, I had read Pride and Prejudice in high school and loved it. I picked up Persuasion on a whim and took it home. It cost me $3.95 (the sticker is still on the back). I read it quickly and with much adoration. Little could I know what foreshadowing that book would have in my own life. But, I think I liked it because Anne was older, and she had felt deep loss. It felt so real to me. And, then there is the letter from Captain Wentworth at the end. Can words be any more beautiful and love feel any more splendid?

Perhaps love can survive distance and time. Maybe waiting for love can help refine our senses. This was Jane's last completed novel. It seems to embody the maturity of her writing. And, I'd like to think that maybe she longed for love once close that was, by then, gone away.

1 comment:

Daisy Chick said...

I too love Persuasion. It was the first Jane Austen book I ever read and I couldn't put it down. Over the years it has come to mean so many things to me. I relate to Anne, in her quest to please and then in her ability to finally step into her own and strongly become the women she WANTS to be. I find there is a maturity in her words and in her relationship because she learned how to "love longest when all hope is gone." Thanks for another beautiful post.