Distribute a guide about Jane Austen's Persuasion provides activities and ideas to use before, during, and after reading the novel.
9 |
10 |
11 |
+ show tags
Teaching Strategies:
Page 5 of 5
Jane Austen's Persuasion
Persuasion, directed by Roger Michell, is available for rental in video stores. The strength of the film is in the superb acting and in the wonderful settings that are so evocative of the early 19th century. The film brings the characters and the settings to life; however, much of the storyline is compressed and illustrated through brief scenes that can be difficult to follow without knowing the plot. Therefore, the movie is best shown after or during the reading of the novel.

Activities based on the movie:

1. Discuss and write about the movie in terms of what was changed or omitted. Why were those parts changed or taken out? What effect do the changes have on the movie?

2. Critique the casting of the movie. Which actors and actresses are different from the way you envisioned them? How is the role played differently than you imagined it? Who would you suggest as alternate cast members?

3. Comment on the settings in the movie. In what ways did the book give clearer descriptions of these places? In what ways is the movie clearer?

4. Advertise the movie. What elements would you emphasize to create print or radio campaigns?

5. Read and compare several reviews of the movie Persuasion (many are available on the Internet). Write your own review of the movie.

Through participating in activities and/or research:

1. Read other books by Jane Austen and compare them to Persuasion.

2. Conduct research on the changing fashions of women and what statements fashion makes about women's place in society.

3. Compare how much control females had over their own lives in Persuasion to how much control females had over their own lives in Shabanu by Suzanne Fisher Staples, Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman, or The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman.

4. Research how and when women gained some measure of economic control over their lives and could own and inherit property.

5. Read biographical information on Jane Austen and speculate on why she portrayed characters as she did and what she liked and disliked about her society.

6. Skim several poetry books and find poems you think specific characters would like. Explain why you believe each character would like the poem you have picked.

7. Several characters were critical of Captain Benwick's engagement to Louisa less than a year after the death of his fiancee, Fanny Harville. Do some research on grieving and see if his behavior was typical and if it was emotionally healthy.

8. In Persuasion it is obvious that different sections of Bath are more prestigious than other sections. Cities, suburbs, and neighborhoods are even today identified in terms of prestige. Make a map of your area and identify how different neighborhoods might be labeled. What makes one neighborhood more desirable than another? How has this changed?

9. Read Remember the Ladies by Norma Johnston about the Seneca Falls Convention. How do you think Anne Elliot would react to women having the vote? Construct a conversation between Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who is featured in Remember the Ladies, and Anne Elliot. What would they agree and disagree on?

10. Imagine that a character from Persuasion visited your school. Brainstorm all the things you think they would notice about behavior and politeness. Then either write a letter from the character to another character in the novel in which he or she reacts to manners in today's society OR develop a list of the rules of etiquette this character would compose for the people of today.

Through using the Internet

Users of the Web can simply type in Jane Austen's name and an intriguing list will be called up. Starting with James Dawes' Jane Austen Page allows the searcher access to many of the other Austen resources on the Internet. This page cites the Jane Austen Society, the Jane Austen Listserver discussion group, Other Jane Austen Pages and links to the hypertext Jane Austen archive at the University of Texas. Through Dawes' Jane Austen page, users also have access to many recent movie reviews of the film Persuasion. Books for further research are suggested on many of these pages.

Other resources include:
The Jane Austen Society of North America Home Page and Henry Churchyard's Jane Austen Society Information Page. Several other Jane Austen pages are also mentioned.

The University of Texas Jane Austen Archive has a long list of information on Jane Austen including listings on Jane Austen's Art and Its Reputation and Jane Austen's Literary Influences. Students could do much of their research on the Internet.


Cecil, David. A Portrait of Jane Austen. Penguin Books, 1980.
Edwards, Anne-Marie. In the Steps of Jane Austen. Southampton: Arcady Books. 1985.
Pool, David. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: from Fox Hunting to Whits - The Facts of Doing Life in Nineteenth-Century England. Touchstone Books, 1994.
Persuasion. Dir. Roger Michell. Sony Pictures Classic, 1995.
See the Signet Classic edition of Persuasion for a more complete bibliography of works by Jane Austen and biography and criticism about Jane Austen.

Suggested Titles
In addition to the Signet Classic edition of Persuasion, PENGUIN USA also publishes the following works by Jane Austen:

Mansfield Park
Northanger Abbey
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility

Students interested in comparing some of the themes in Persuasion to themes in other books may wish to read some of the books that follow.

Appearance vs. Reality

Avi. Nothing But the Truth. Orchard, 1991.
Bauer, Joan. Thwonk. Dell, 1995.
Klass, Sheila Solomon. Rhino. Scholastic, 1993.
Foley, June. Susanna Siegelbaum Gives Up on Guys. Scholastic, 1991.
Wersba, Barbara. Just be Gorgeous. Harper, 1988.

Lives of Women in Different Historical Times

Brennan, J.H. Shiva Accused. Harper, 1992.
Cushman, Karen. Catherine Called Birdie. Clarion, 1994.
Cushman, Karen. The Midwife's Apprentice. Clarion, 1995.
Gregory, Kristiana. Earthquake at Dawn. Harcourt, 1992.
Hudson, Jan. Dawn Rider. Scholastic, 1990.
Paterson,Katherine. Lyddie. Lodestar, 1991.
Patterson, Katherine. Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom. Avon, 1983.
Pullman, Philip. The Ruby in the Smoke. Knopf, 1985.
Reiss, Katherine. Dreadful Sorry. Harcourt, 1993.
Rinaldi, Anne. A Stitch in Time. Scholastic, 1994.
Staples, Suzanne. Haveli. Knopf, 1993.
Staples, Suzanne. Shabanu. Knopf, 1989.
Temple, Francis. The Ramsey Scallop. Harper, 1994.

Women Making Their Own Decisions:

Avi. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Orchard, 1990.
Staples, Donna. Arena Beach. Houghton, 1993.
Spinelli, Jerry. There's a Girl in my Hammerlock. Simon & Schuster, 1991.
Plummer, Louise. My Name is Sus5an Smith. The 5 is Silent. Dell, 1991.

Family and Duty

Doherty, Berlie. White Peak Farm. Orchard, 1984.
Garland, Sherry. Shadow of a Dragon. Harcourt, 1993.
Hall, Barbara. Dixie Storms. Bantam, 1990.
Hunter, Mollie. Cat, Herself. Harper, 1985.
Johnston, Norma. Louisa May. William Morrow, 1995.
Klass, David. California Blue. Scholastic, 1994.
Lasky, Kathryn. Memoirs of a Bookbat. Harcourt, 1994.
Namioka, Lensey. April and the Dragonlady. Harcourt, 1994.
Terris, Susan. Nell's Quilt. Farrar, 1987.


Garland, Sherry. Song of the Buffalo Boy. Harcourt, 1992.
Newton, Suzanne. Where Are You When I Need You? Viking, 1991.
Willey, Margaret. If Not For You. Harper, 1988.
Willey, Margaret. Saving Lenny. Bantam, 1990.


Diana Mitchell, Past-President of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) of the National Council of Teachers of English, is currently co-director of the Red Cedar Writing Project at Michigan State University, a site of the National Writing Project. She taught middle school and high school English for twenty-nine years and now works as an independent language arts consultant. At the state level she is President-Elect of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English and co-editor of the Language Arts Journal of Michigan. At the national level she is on the board of directors of the Conference on English Education and active in WILLA - Women in Literature and Life Assembly. She received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in English at Michigan State University. Publications include Explorations in the Teaching of English , co-authored with Steve Tchudi, a chapter in Adolescent Literature as a Complement to the Classics, edited by Joan Kaywell, and a monthly column of Teaching Ideas in the English Journal.


Arthea (Charlie) J. S. Reed is currently president of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN). She is the author of three books in the fields of literature and teaching: Reaching Adolescents: The Young Adult Book and the School, Comics to Classics: A Guide to Books for Teens and Preteens, and Presenting Harry Mazer. In addition, she is the author or co-author of numerous books in the fields of foundations of education and teaching methods. She was editor of The ALAN Review for six years and has co-edited the Penguin/Signet Classic teacher's guide series since 1988.

In May 1996, Dr. Reed retired after 17 years as a professor of education and six years as chairperson of education as Executive Director of Development and Education for Northwestern Mutual Life in Asheville, N.C. Dr. Reed and her husband Don live with their two dogs and a cat on a mountain top in Fairview, N.C.

W. Geiger (Guy) Ellis, Professor Emeritus, University of Georgia, received his A.B. and M.Ed. Degrees from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and his Ed.D. from the University of Virginia. For most of his career, Guy has been active in teaching adolescent literature, having introduced the first courses on the subject at both the University of Virginia and the University of Georgia. He developed and edited The ALAN Review from 1978 to 1984, changing its focus from a newsletter to a referred journal. His research has had heavy emphasis on the content of literature instruction.

ISBN: 0-451-52661-9
Copyright © 1996 by Penguin USA
Teachers and readers are welcome to view or print copies of these online guides for classroom and reading group use. But they are copyrighted materials and may not be reposted to other networks, repackaged or resold.

For additional teacher's manuals, catalogs,
or descriptive brochures, please write to:

Academic Marketing Department
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014-3657

To order, call: 1-800-526-0275

In Canada, write to:
c/o Canbook Distribution Services
Education Department
1220 Nicholson Road
Newmarket, Ontario L3V 7V1
Printed in the United States of America

loading gif