Persuasion Appearances Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
[Sir Walter speaks, even though it's in the third person] "The worst of Bath was the number of its plain women. He did not mean to say that there were no pretty women, but the number of the plain was out of all proportion. He had frequently observed, as he walked, that one handsome face would be followed by thirty, or five-and-thirty frights; and once, as he had stood in a shop on Bond Street, he had counted eighty-seven women go by, one after another, without there being a tolerable face among them." (15.13)
Sir Walter cares way too much about this, if he actually takes the time to keep a tally of pretties vs. uglies. Why is he so invested in this? Handsome guys he might feel personally threatened by, but why is he so obsessed with unattractive women?
It is something for a woman to be assured, in her eight-and-twentieth year, that she has not lost one charm of earlier youth; but the value of such homage was inexpressibly increased to Anne, by comparing it with former words, and feeling it to be the result, not the cause of a revival of his warm attachment. (23.66)
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – where have we heard that before? Wentworth's opinion is just as much a judgment of him as of Anne – at least it is in Anne's interpretation that she's pretty because he loves her for her, not because he cares so much about appearances that her beauty made him love her again.
Glowing and lovely in sensibility and happiness, and more generally admired than she thought about or cared for, she had cheerful or forbearing feelings for every creature around her. (23.76)
Both Anne's previous plainness and her re-blossoming into beauty suggest that happiness is a major factor in how attractive someone looks – and being unconscious of one's own beauty doesn't hurt either.