Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day Sixty-Eight: "A Marriage of Persuasion" by Susan Petigru King


A young woman challenges convention in the late 1800's and refuses to marry the man her family has chosen for her. Well, she refuses at first. This story tracks poor Anna as she fights the "good fight" and argues with her mother over marrying for love versus marrying for money.

Ultimately, Anna loses and as the story ends, her mother is more than simply pleased. She is almost overjoyed that not only does her daughter have wealth and prestige, but that she herself has won, as if her beliefs have been vindicated by her daughter's decision to give in to her mother's choice.

This story read to me as many other stories of the time did on this topic...with the exception of the closing paragraph that is, a paragraph about poor Anna's capacity any longer for love. It reads as follows:

"Is this grand automaton really dead, or does a heart, young and still untouched, lurk--strong, free and dangerous--in that quiet unmoved and stately figure?"

This is a story that I'd venture may not be published today but for its place in history, I commend it and its author. She took a risk but this story shows it paid off.

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