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by Jane Austen

Persuasion Gender Quotes

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

Quote #1

That Lady Russell, of steady age and character, and extremely well provided for, should have no thought of a second marriage, needs no apology to the public, which is rather apt to be unreasonably discontented when a woman does marry again, than when she does not; but Sir Walter's continuing in singleness requires explanation. (1.9)

This underscores the different roles of men and women in marriage during this period. Lady Russell's got her financial stability, so she no longer needs a husband, while a widowed man of good fortune must be in want of a wife to keep his house running for him.

Quote #2

The child was to be kept in bed and amused as quietly as possible; but what was there for a father to do? This was quite a female case, and it would be highly absurd in him, who could be of no use at home, to shut himself up. (7.7)

So daddy doesn't know any quiet games? This sounds like an excuse...

Quote #3

[Mary speaks] "So you and I are to be left to shift by ourselves, with this poor sick child; and not a creature coming near us all the evening! I knew how it would be. This is always my luck. If there is anything disagreeable going on men are always sure to get out of it, and Charles is as bad as any of them." [...] [Anne speaks] "Nursing does not belong to a man; it is not his province. A sick child is always the mother's property: her own feelings generally make it so." (7.10)

And Mary thinks that Charles is being slippery too. Anne here is the voice of the status quo, and gets in a subtle dig at Mary: if she were a good mother, she would want to stay with her child.

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