Persuasion

by: Jane Austen

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Yes; it is in two points offensive to me; I have two strong grounds of objection to it. First, as a means of bringing persons of obscure birth into undue distinction, and raising men to honours which their fathers and grandfathers never dreamt of; and secondly, as it cuts up a man's youth and vigour most horribly.

These lines are spoken by Sir Walter Elliot in Chapter Three. He is explaining to his family and friends why he objects to the Navy and wishes that none of his relatives will ever join it. Sir Walter highly values appearance and attractiveness, and so naturally he dislikes the way the sun and sea air can weather a face and "cut up a man's youth." Sir Walter truly objects to the Navy because it functions as a means of social ascension. The Navy allows men who are dedicated and hard-working to build a fortune and to gain social status. His objection is not only to the Navy, but to increasing social mobility in society.