Volume 2, Chapter 12 / 24

Synopsis of Volume 2, Chapter 12 / 24

The narrator steps in and tells this final part of the story. She points out that Captain Wentworth and Anne have several things in favour of their union:

  • Sir Walter found reason enough to approve the marriage in Captain Wentworth's appearance, fortune, and naval title
  • Lady Russell has overcome her misjudgement of him and embraced him as a son
  • Mary is happy with the sense of superiority she gets from the fact that her sister's husband is richer than either of her brother-in-laws.

We learn that Mr. Elliot has burned his bridges with Elizabeth and Sir Walter. He left Bath and had an affair with Mrs. Clay, who might yet end up persuading him to marry her. Anne's only regret is that her family is not worthy of Captain Wentworth and rates poorly against his family. Instead, she turns to Lady Russell and Mrs. Smith. Captain Wentworth recovers Mrs. Smith's property which increases her fortune. All that clouds Anne's happiness in being a naval wife is the threat of war on the horizon.

Commentary on Volume 2, Chapter 12 / 24

This may be bad morality It would have been considered bad morality to not honour one's parents with obedience.

the situation in which Providence had placed him Many subscribed to the view that one's place in society was God-ordained and should be made the best of. Sir Walter has not made the best of his station in life by squandering his fortune.

enabled Sir Walter at last to prepare his pen … for the insertion of the marriage in the volume of honour The story has come full-circle for Sir Walter, who is once again preoccupied with the Baronetage.

Anne restored to the rights of seniority As the eldest married daughter, Anne will now have precedence over Mary.

Landaulettelandaulette A small horse-drawn carriage with a folding hood.

sensible Aware.

she must pay the tax of quick alarm She must sacrifice peace of mind as a sailor's wife, knowing that her husband could be called to war.

that profession which is, if possible, more distinguished in its domestic virtues than its national importance While Jane Austen held the navy's role as national protector in high esteem, here she is highlighting its role in providing a way for people to advance in society through honourable behaviour, hard work and their manner of living that was not possible before.

Investigating Volume 2, Chapter 12 / 24
  • This chapter opens with a statement about marriage and morality. Describe the moral growth that Captain Wentworth undertakes that leads him to the prize of a happy marriage with Anne.
  • Compare the changed fortunes of both Captain Wentworth and Sir Walter.
    • How are they interrelated?
  • Notice that Lady Russell's influence prevented Anne from experiencing happiness for a long time, yet her character is redeemed at the end of the book by her willingness to put Anne's happiness above her own need to be right. Why is it important that we are left with a sympathetic impression of her? 
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