What is it about Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth that make them your favorites? ❤️
Anne’s quiet strength, honestly. She is not so closed-off as Elinor Dashwood, but is rather constrained by the people she is surrounded by, and helpless to get away from them. Where she finds true friends, she eagerly becomes warm and friendly, and blossoms under positive attention. She does not have Fanny Price’s fearful timidity and over-grown sense of gratitude to oblige her to be subservient to others…rather she helps because she finds it easier to do so, and finds purpose in being useful, even if she knows she is neglected by those she helps. She knows/believes her isolation to be her own fault, and so she accepts her lot, but never truly compromises her beliefs again. (Refusing Charles Musgrove even if he could have given her a comfortable life, company, a family of her own to focus on, and better appreciation than she receives at Kellynch Hall from her father and sisters.) Being older, wiser, and sadder, she knows who she is and what she wants, but holds back from pursuing it by her own sense of remaining dignity and the belief that Wentworth wants nothing more to do with her, as she is well-aware of how much she hurt him in the past, and has no desire to hurt him any further, or pain herself with the indignity of throwing herself at him at all–especially if she believes a rejection to be inevitable.
As to Frederick, he is an IDIOT who does not deserve a second chance with Anne Elliot because he behaves atrociously to her and others, but as he is aware of just how big a douche he’s been by the end of the book and suffered terrible emotional distress due to it, I shall safely proceed with my praise of his virtues. 1) He is warm and kind, and strives to be thoughtful even if perhaps it’s not warranted. (Taking time to speak with the mournful Mrs. Musgrove about her dead son, even if said son was a Dick in every possible sense, because it’s somebody’s dead son, and as a Captain in war-time he’s seen enough men die and had to send the worst possible news to their loves ones, so he’s going to patiently sit and listen to this woman talk about a guy he probably loathed because it’s not about Dick, it’s about his mother and her broken mother’s heart.) 2) He is clever as shit. (Taking valuable ships to get that much prize-money in a shitty sloop like the Asp must have taken some luck, but also some baller strategies and intense leadership skills.) 3) He has fantastic manners, but is not so elegant that he’s stuffy and fake like the people Anne knows. (He recognizes and likes people for their individual merits, not who their father might be or what connections they may have.) 4) He’s the only Austen hero to be a self-made, working man. Edmund and Edward are clergymen, yes, but naval officers began training at age twelve for their careers, and also it’s difficult to compare a country parish living to active naval service in war or peace-time, when there is still plenty to do and dangers at sea. (We know some clergymen did not even fulfill their duties for preaching or other tasks, instead hiring a curate to undertake all the work for a pittance salary while they just collect their income and take it easy. Not that I’m saying Edmund and Edward do this, but the fact that it was a possibility and common enough for Austen to poke fun at it in her writing–her own father having been a clergyman, we must presume she knew of many such men–makes it hard to feel Edmund and Edward are being pushed to put everything on the line in the way Frederick would be.) 5) Kind of tying into that last point, he is brave as hell. Of course war is hell and modern foreign policy and the military industrial complex being a nightmare makes me something of a pacifist at heart, but I can’t retroactively un-do Napoleon’s shit, so here we are. If we gotta have war-heroes, at least we have Frederick Wentworth being all noble and studly about it.
So Anne would be drawn out into better circles of friends, with more easy and relaxed company among people who, like her, deserve to be admired for their characters and actions, rather than bloodlines or wealth, and in these circumstances, she would bloom like the beautifullest fuckin flower in the whole world, she would be unstoppable once she’s appreciated and able to unwind and let go and be her truest self. And FREDERICK. He lands his booty in hot water with the Musgrove girls because he is rather AWARE of his virtues and being rich and handsome and having the glory-aura of a hero and lets his pride, scorn for Anne because of his broken heart, and arrogance lead him into empty flirtations which he really ought to have been more sensible about. Secure in Anne’s affections, she would keep him just humble enough, once he knows that Anne’s admiration is the only admiration that really matters, and he has always had it.