This week my quote is from Persuasion. I've been studying it in class (I know, I know, my life is such a trial) and I have a whole new appreciation for Captain Wentworth's 'nut' speech.
Wentworth has recently returned, and as much as he tries to argue otherwise, he is still bitter and angry about Anne's rejection of their love. His advice to Louisa, overheard by Anne, is tinged with this bitterness, but also wisdom. I love it.
From Book 1, Chapter 10:
It is the worst evil of too yielding and indecisive a character, that no influence over it can be depended on. - You are never sure of a good impression being durable. Every body may sway it: let those who would be happy be firm. - Here is a nut,' said he, catching one down from an upper bough. 'To exemplify, - a beautiful glossy nut, which, blessed with original strength, has outlived all the storms of autumn. Not a puncture, not a weak spot any where. - This nut,' he continued, with playful solemnity, - 'while so many of its brethren have fallen and been trodden under foot, is still in possession of all the happiness that a hazel-nut can be supposed capable of ... My first wish for all, whom I am interested in, is that they should be firm'.
This speech, considering the themes of the text, is one of the most central passages of the novel. It's certainly revealing! Considering it in context, Captain Wentworth reveals a heartfelt opinion blighted by bitterness. That is, I have to have a little giggle when he reveals later in the text that it's not so much that Anne allowed herself to be persuaded, but that she allowed herself to be persuaded by someone other than himself. I love that little touch of Austen's - yes, Wentworth believes that the 'worst evil' is that 'no influence' over a 'yielding' character can be depended upon - but he reveals the beautiful contradictions of humanity:
'I could think only of you as one who had yielded, who had given me up, who had been influenced by any one rather than by me' (Book II, Chapter 11)
Jane, again, a master of human emotion and truth. What a blessing she is. And now I get to go back to school ... and read Persuasion. :)
Pic 1: Persuasion 1995 from: Longborne: Persuasion Pics
Pic 2: Persuasion 2007 from: Fanpop Persuasion
Pic 3: Persuasion 2007 from: Fanpop Persuasion
Saturday, 24 October 2009