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Persuasion | Chapter 24 (Volume 2, Chapter 12) | Summary

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Summary

Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth, of course, marry. Elizabeth Elliot seems unaffected by their union. Unable to provide Anne's complete dowry, Sir Walter Elliot is neutral. Approving of Wentworth's appearance and reputation, he adds their marriage to his treasured copy of the Baronetage. Finally able to value Anne's happiness above her own, Lady Russell accepts Wentworth as a son. Pleased with Wentworth's superiority to the husbands of Charles's sisters and her own involvement in their romance, Mary Elliot Musgrove is "immediately gratified."

To Sir Walter's and Elizabeth's embarrassment, Mr. William Elliot and Mrs. Clay leave Bath to live together in London. Wentworth helps Mrs. Smith gain the West Indies property. After marrying Wentworth the only negative feeling Anne suffers is worrying about her husband while he is at sea, "the dread of a future war all that could dim her sunshine."

Analysis

The final chapter features happy resolutions for most characters. To Anne's satisfaction, her friends, whom she has always valued more than her family, benefit from her marriage. Lady Russell undertakes suitable character growth by "admit[ting] that she had been pretty completely wrong" and adopting "a new set of opinions and ... hopes." Mrs. Smith, who originally fears losing her friend to marriage, gains her rightful property, improving her situation. Captain Wentworth justifies Anne's belief in his good nature by being instrumental in aiding Mrs. Smith.

Those who experience less happy endings are the characters most concerned with vanity and external status rather than inner happiness. Sir Walter and Elizabeth are betrayed once again by William Elliot. Elizabeth remains unmarried, her major source of anxiety at the novel's beginning. Scheming William Elliot and Mrs. Clay settle for less: each other.

At the story's end the focus returns to Anne. For her good nature and her willingness to play a more active role to secure her own happiness, she gains every wish and reward she deserves.

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