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Themes

Family rules everything in Persuasion. It determines where you live, what you eat, whom you see, and what you talk about. Separating oneself from one's family is a necessary step to forming an independent identity, but few characters manage to take this step, since family connections are such a huge part of their position in the world. The fact that the protagonist's family doesn't care for her much makes her life at home difficult, but also helps her to develop her own ideas as to who she is and what she wants.

Questions About Family

  1. What does the novel say about what an individual owes to his or her family? What does it take to be a good family member?
  2. What impact does the family have on the identities of its individual members? To what extent is a person's identity determined by his or her family in the novel?
  3. Why doesn't Anne just leave her family and go live with Lady Russell?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Anne's relationship with her family determines her identity: they control where she lives and who she meets.

Despite Anne's family controlling her physical existence, her independent mind means that she has an identity separate from them.

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