Structure by setting

Persuasion is set in the counties of Somerset and Dorset in England. Although the villages and houses are fictitious, the towns are real, and Jane Austen's knowledge of their geography and topography is remarkably accurate. The various settings in which Anne Elliot finds herself give a clear framework to the novel and play an important part in the development of character, theme, and plot:

  • Each new place she goes to has its own distinct atmosphere which is largely determined by the people who stay there
  • As Anne responds to this atmosphere we learn, along with her, more about herself and those around her
  • Each place denotes the occupants' level in society, and is used to emphasise the occupants' shortcomings or strengths
  • The events which happen in each place provoke a reaction from those involved, which leads to further revelations of character and theme.

For further discussion on the significance of settings in Persuasion, see Imagery and symbolism > Location.

Investigating the impact of setting
  • Make a chart for the following locations
    • Kellynch Hall
    • Uppercross Great House
    • Uppercross Cottage
    • Lyme Regis
    • Bath
  • Note for each
    • The atmosphere and inhabitants
    • What is revealed about Anne and other characters
    • The social status of the inhabitants
    • What is emphasised of their strengths and weaknesses
    • The key events that occur and what they reveal regarding character and theme.


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