by Jane Austen
Persuasion Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Altered beyond his knowledge." Anne fully submitted, in silent, deep mortification. Doubtless it was so, and she could take no revenge, for he was not altered, or not for the worse. She had already acknowledged it to herself, and she could not think differently, let him think of her as he would. No: the years which had destroyed her youth and bloom had only given him a more glowing, manly, open look, in no respect lessening his personal advantages. She had seen the same Frederick Wentworth. (7.34)
Just like any movie where a 50 (or 60, or 70)-something -year-old guy is paired with a 20-something girl, the aging process is viewed very differently, depending on whether the person getting older is male or female. Compare, too, Sir Walter's views on beauty: he seems to think himself still handsome, while he criticizes Anne and Mary for looking old.
[Captain Wentworth speaks] "Such a number of women and children have no right to be comfortable on board." [...] [Mrs. Croft speaks] "But I hate to hear you talking so like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days." (8.45)
Captain Wentworth's comment here is kind of like what Anne says about good mothers liking to take care of their sick children: Wentworth thinks women should be uncomfortable on board ship, and no amount of actually quite comfortable women will make him change his mind. Mrs. Croft points out another fallacy in her brother's argument: that he's taking a small number of fussy women and pretending all women feel that way.
"And yet," said Anne to herself, as they now moved forward to meet the party, "he has not, perhaps, a more sorrowing heart than I have. I cannot believe his prospects so blighted for ever. He is younger than I am; younger in feeling, if not in fact; younger as a man. He will rally again, and be happy with another." (11.13)
Here's that gendered age difference again, that turned up before when Anne compared the change in her looks to Wentworth's; a man is considered young for much longer than a woman, and so has the opportunities of youth for longer.