Wednesday, June 02, 2021

"I am very angry with you": Anne Elliot and her disobedient nephew in Jane Austen's "Persuasion"

In Jane Austen's "Persuasion", when Anne Elliot tends her injured nephew Charles with only Captain Wentworth and Charles Hayter in the room, Charles's little brother Walter enters and "fastens himself upon" Anne. Her orders and entreaties with him are unsuccessful, and he climbs on her back: "'Walter,' said she, 'get down this moment. [...] I am very angry with you.'" While this is directed at the boy, both men respond: Charles Hayter speaks to Walter, and Captain Wentworth silently removes Walter from Anne's back. She speaks as an aunt to her nephew, not as a woman to the two men, but they react as if she had spoken to them directly.  (Andrew Shields, #111words, 2 June 2021)

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