In the novel ‘Persuasion’ by Jane Austin, letters convey the deep emotions of the characters, which cannot be portrayed in such a public manor as today. Firstly we come to Mary’s letter. The youngest of the Elliot sisters, Austen’s approach to Mary’s character is of amusement and humour. Austen wills the reader to laugh along with her at Mary, Mary’s character and personalities is projected heavily through the letter written to Anne. the letter gives a slight variety from Austen’s authorial comments, about Mary and allows the reader to make up their own minds about Mary, yet still Austen portrays Mary in an unintentional negative light.

Mary’s behaviour seems to be rather unconscious, she seems unaware of her comments hurting others, ‘I make no apologies for my silence’ Mary’s letter is the longest of all three letters, and most of the letter seems to be of complaint or remarking on others’ behaviour ‘Mrs harville must be an odd mother to part with her children for so long’. The sentence structure and language utilised in the letter also show off Mary’s personality which again emphasises Austen’s dislike for Mary and Mary’s personality. I do not reckon the Haters as anybody’ Many of the sentences drag on and there are many ‘I”s in the letter. Mary through out the novel has had a tendency to project her own feelings regardless of others; many comments made by Mary have hurt or upset others. ‘I know how little’, ‘I make no apology’, I believe’, ‘I do not understand it’, ‘I have not heard’, ‘I think’, Mary is portrayed as a disconcerned selfish and sometimes stupid. Her behaviour through out the novel also helps to prove this’ oh Anne how I’m so ill a can barely speak’.

Dazed and unconnected with any matter that does not concern her, Mary is rather hypocritical. She on several occasions makes malicious comments about others and there lack of good parenting skills ‘what an odd mother’. Mary makes a comment on how parents can leave there children for days on end whilst all along she has been planning on a holiday for herself and to leave the children ‘Anne can look after young Charles’. And in other parts of the novel Mary’s bad parenting skills becomes majorly apparent.

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In the letter we can also sense a slight jealousy towards the grandchildren,’ Mrs Musgrove seems to like them better then her own grandchildren’ the tone in which it is written projects this. Mostly through out the novel Mary is rather boastful and proud, very much an Elliot, and it is apparent that it is hard for her to except that someone is more admired then herself or her family. The comparison between Mary and Anne are more and more perceptible as we read on, the Elliot pride seems to be in her a great deal.

Mary’s disconcern for others feeling are made clear in the letters, it is clear that Anne is a most frequent letter writer, as we can gather as Mary seems to know about anne’s admiration for William Elliot ‘I am glad you find Mr Elliot so agreeable’. But Mary completely dismisses the fact that she must reciprocate, or it would be impolite ‘I make no apology for my silence’. Mary also seems to be very self pitying, she fells sorry for herself a great deal, and this may be for attention ‘I have my usual luck always out of the way when anything desirable happens, always the last of the family to be noticed’.

Mary very frequently contradicts herself, but the readers feel no moral indignation towards her. Austen portrays Mary in such a negative and selfish light, it is clear that this behaviour is not conscious of Mary, she does not change through out the novel, and her attitude is constant. Lastly we come to the letter written by captain Wentworth addressed to Anne Elliot. The letter is obviously very private and is meant only for the reading by Anne Elliot.

Captain Wentworth has through out the novel been expressed as a straight forward and genuine man. Unlike both of the other letters he has had no false pretences nor has he the need for any fai??ade. Captain Wentworth being a man off action, his rushed and rapid response to the conversation between Anne and captain harville expresses this. The letter is not a conventional love letter it is in no way ‘flowery’, yet it contains an element of exquisite poetry ‘you pierce my soul’, which gives the readers a very positive feeing from Captain Wentworth.


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