Persuasion and Age of Innocence

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A deeper understanding of relationships and identity emerges from pursuing the connections between Persuasion and Age of Innocence. Compare how these texts explore relationships and identity. Persuasion (Jane Austen 1815) and Age of Innocence (Martin Scorsese 1993) has thoroughly explored relationships and identity in differing contexts that reflect a rigid society. Connections between both texts have demonstrated, through key themes of social consciousness, marriage and passion, a deeper insight to human relationship and pursuit of identity and appearance. Austen’s effective use narrative techniques of intrusive narration and irony, in connection with an equally effective use of filmic devices by Scorsese has enlightened the audience with a deeper understanding of relationships and identity. Although Persuasion and Age of Innocence are set in different contexts, both have presented a social consciousness which have contributed to shaping relationships and identity. Persuasion defines one main social division in early 19th century England – landed gentry of the middle upper class. This is represented by Sir Walter who is described as “vanity as beginning and end” of his character by the narrator, in which he is completely dependent on social hierarchy to ensure superiority over lower classes. Hence his obsession over his title, “never took up any book but the baronetage”. Similarly Age of Innocence focuses on the ‘old money’ families of New York late 19th century in which money and possession were the sole determinants of status, in contrast to Persuasion where wealth was manifested as capital and status was earned. This was emphasised in introductory scenes of the film in which close-ups on jewels and items of monetary worth in an opera theatre full of wealthy upperclassmen. The opera itself is a metaphor of society, where the deliberate exaggerated make-up of the heroine suggested her facade and pretence, ultimately criticizing society. The social...
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