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by Jane Austen

Persuasion Foolishness and Folly Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #4

"That is the woman I want," said he [Captain Wentworth]. "Something a little inferior I shall of course put up with, but it must not be much. If I am a fool, I shall be a fool indeed, for I have thought on the subject more than most men." (7.41)

Here's yet another version of folly – acting without thinking. Some characters, however, seem to be foolish even when they do think (Sir Walter comes to mind), because what they think is so ridiculous.

Quote #5

As to the sad catastrophe itself, it could be canvassed only in one style by a couple of steady, sensible women, whose judgements had to work on ascertained events; and it was perfectly decided that it had been the consequence of much thoughtlessness and much imprudence; that its effects were most alarming, and that it was frightful to think, how long Miss Musgrove's recovery might yet be doubtful, and how liable she would still remain to suffer from the concussion hereafter! (13.20)

"Thoughtlessness" as folly again – but is the accident entirely Louisa's fault? (If so, could it still be called an accident?)

Quote #6

"The notions of a young man of one or two and twenty," said he [Mr. Elliot], "as to what is necessary in manners to make him quite the thing, are more absurd, I believe, than those of any other set of beings in the world. The folly of the means they often employ is only to be equalled by the folly of what they have in view." (15.20)

The folly of what young men have in view, what they want, is success in society – which means that Mr. Elliot is implying that seeking society's approval is foolish. Or perhaps he's only saying that a young man's idea of what society wants is incorrect, and therefore foolish.

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