Anne Elliot is the protagonist of Jane Austen's sixth and last completed novel, Persuasion (1817).
Anne Elliot was persuaded, when she was 20 years old, to break off her engagement with Frederick Wentworth, a promising young lieutenant in the Royal Navy but a commoner without fortune, and she has never married. Lonely, unloved by a stuck-up and pretentious father and older sister, little considered by a family circle incapable of recognising her value, she leads a dull life of an almost-old maid. And yet here it is that, 8 years after the naval war with France ended, in September 1814, the young man whom she has never forgotten returns to England, having earned epaulettes, prestige and fortune in the navy. The first contacts are painful. He has retained an image of her as a person too easily influenced and she sees clearly that he is still angry with her. But at age 27, she has matured and gained enough independence from her family and social circle to choose her friends and her future.
The posthumous novel by Jane Austen presents the portrait of an independent spirit, a young, intelligent and melancholic woman, sensitive and attentive to others, who regains her self-confidence when she is given a second chance to find happiness, a very different happiness from other Austenian heroines, since she marries neither a land owner nor a clergyman, but a ship's captain. She would be "proud of being the wife of a sailor" but she would also know its anxieties and its sorrows. She is considered the most lucid and responsible Austenian heroine and the reader is privy in a special way to her thoughts, which are of an exactitude and a perceptiveness which are without parallel in the heroines of previous novels.
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