Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rosie's Riveters: Rachel & Anne Elliot

Rosie the Riveter
Rosie's Riveters is a weekly posting written by Booklust readers about riveting females in literature. Many readers have strong reactions to the women in the books they read- either very positive or very negative. These are the characters we find riveting, for good reasons or bad ones, and they form the population of Rosie's Riveters. Through this weekly post, we can discuss females we love to hate, or love to love. And maybe, just maybe- we can determine why we react so strongly to them.

If you are interested in participating, please comment on this post, e-mail me, or just fill out the template below and send it to me. I am always looking for more participants!

This week's poster is Rachel, from Book Snob.  Rachel is a newish blogger who writes fantastically detailed reviews; you can tell she puts a lot of thought into her reviews and always wonders what the book meant to her.  I really enjoy her blog, and she rose even more in my esteem when I saw who her chosen riveter is.  Persuasion is very, very high on my list of books to reread for the Flashback Challenge next year!

Who is your riveter?
 Anne Elliot

What book does she feature in?
Persuasion by Jane Austen


Do you love her or hate her?
 Absolutely adore her!

Describe her personality – how would you describe her to a friend?
Anne has one of the most beautiful spirits I have ever come across. She is kind, patient, clever, loving, and passionate, not to mention unfailingly generous with her time and care for others, and self sacrificing. She never gives way to bitterness, despite being badly treated by many around her, and she is capable of an admirable amount of self control in the most painful and difficult of personal circumstances. In short, she is a wonderful, interesting, intelligent woman with a heart of pure gold.

Can you compare her to a celebrity?
Probably Mother Teresa would be closest! Though don’t think from that, that Anne is perfect or pious – she’s not at all.

What makes her riveting?
I think what makes Anne so riveting, and so prominent in my affections, is that she is a woman who has nothing going for her throughout the majority of the novel. At the beginning she is being forced to leave her beloved family home due to her odious father’s inability to manage his money; she is then treated like a servant by her irritatingly selfish sister Mary, before traipsing around various other places, having to watch the man she loves and was persuaded to give up seven years ago flirt with other women in their party, and then finally ending up in Bath, which she hates, with her father and other sister, who treat her like a piece of furniture. 

PersuasionShe is constantly undervalued, ill used, pushed this way and that, and treated like an easily dispensable servant by her family members. She is not a glamorous heroine; she is not especially beautiful, she is past the age where marriage seems a possibility, she is oppressed by so many of the circumstances in her life, and there seems to be little hope for her future. She is therefore very easy to identify with; I know I have felt like Anne Elliot frequently in life! 

However, she somehow manages to keep her head above water; she never gives up, she never mistreats anyone, she rarely has a bad word to say. She harbours her secret passions, her secret dreams, in her heart, and she soldiers on. It’s this realness about Anne that I think makes her such a brilliant and memorable literary heroine; her life isn’t perfect and she has been disappointed and let down and ill treated. But she hasn’t let her dreams die, and she hasn’t let herself become embittered. She is an inspiration.

What do you most admire/despise about her?
I admire her stoicism the most. Even in her moments of darkest despair, she thinks of others first; she doesn’t let herself become self centred or let her entire attitude to life become coloured by the sadness she feels. She devotes herself to making other people happy, to enjoying every circumstance she finds herself in as much as she can, despite the difficulties she faces. She is a woman of real inner strength and beauty.

Would you recommend reading the book in which the Riveter features?
Yes, a thousand times, yes! It is one of my absolute favourite books of all time – depending on when you ask me, it might even be my favourite. I know if I was going to a desert island, I’d take it with me. It’s that good. Forget Pride and Prejudice – Persuasion is Jane Austen at her best. I think your life will be fuller for having read Persuasion, no exaggeration whatsoever.

Do you have a quote by or about your Riveter you’d like to share?
"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight and a half years ago. Dare not say that a man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant."

This is about Anne but I won’t say who says it – it would ruin things for those who have never read the book! It also happens to be my favourite quote in the world EVER and every time I read it, it makes me cry.


  1. Fabulous riveter! I met Anne (and Rachel in person, for that matter) for the first time and adored her. I love Elizabeth Bennett and Emma Wodehouse but they are both flawed characters (intentionally so); I do prefer their gumption to Anne's passivity but Anne is very endearing and I too admire her stoicism.

  2. Oh I love Anne, I used to love PP but then my soul found Persuasion. It truly is her best work

  3. I love the Rosie's Riveters theme!! Great post, I'm off to check out Book Snob's blog as well!

  4. This is a wonderful post and a great riveter. I had been debating which Austen would be my next, and I do believe that I've found it! I am really looking forward to reading Persuasion now, it sounds lovely!

  5. I haven't read Persuasion yet, but I loved Pride and Prejudice. It looks like reading this book (and getting to know this heroine) would be a treat.

  6. I LOVE that book quote, it is truly a moment of realisaton. Have your hankies on standby.

    Great post, Rachel!

    Thanks Arti.


  7. I'm so pleased to see people loving Anne! She is such a wonderful character and Persuasion is a truly beautiful book. So worth reading, time, after time, after time!

    Thanks so much for letting me take part Aarti!

  8. Yay! Anne seems to go so unloved in comparison with the other Austen heroines, but she's brilliant and she has fantastic romantic lessons to teach. Just because you make a mistake doesn't mean you can't find or forge happiness for yourself. And that quote - swoon.

  9. For many years, I shied away from Austen on the ridiculous grounds that she was "literature" rather than something to be enjoyed. Persuasion was what convinced me I was wrong: I agree with Blodeuedd, it's her best..


  10. This is a great Riveter! I love Anne - I'm thinking about doing a re-read of Persuasion this year!

  11. I adore Anne and agree wholeheartedly with your write up.
    Thanks for sharing.
    All the very best.

  12. Just found this blog and LOVE the weekly! What a great idea. Can't wait to read more!


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