Persuasion

by: Jane Austen

Motifs

Walking

Walking is a motif that is employed throughout Persuasion and Austen's other novels. When characters go for walks in the novel, it often signals a period of character development. Walking entails conversing with others, commenting on one's surroundings, and reacting to the world outside. It allows an author to expand upon her reader's understanding of a character by bringing the character out into a different light. In Persuasion, walks are essential for the progression of Anne and Captain Wentworth's relationship. Anne learns of his feelings regarding female constancy on one of their initial walks, and at the end they reveal their feelings to each other on a walk home through the park. Walking is a frequent and essential motif.

Marriage

Marriage is another motif which plays a strong role in Austen's novels. It is not only the consummation of a love affair; marriage directly compares social ranks in society. Individuals, classes, titles, and accomplishments are measured and weighed in the consideration of a marriage. The courting and engagement which precede the ceremony allows friends and family to offer their opinions as to the appropriateness of the match. Marriage thus serves as a kind of social yardstick to measure and compare the characters in the novel.