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KS3/4 English: Persuasion (1995)

Study Austen's presentation of 18th century social interactions

Main image of KS3/4 English: Persuasion (1995)
AuthorJessica Hardiman
TopicJane Austen's Persuasion
Key Words Austen, Persuasion, dinner, Anne Elliott, Captain Wentworth
Show full lesson spec

A look at social customs and hierarchy of the 18th century upper classes by analysing the film adaptation of the dinner.

A useful extract for teaching Austen's characterisation.

This lesson idea uses the film to focus students on analysing Austen's social commentary, and presentation of social interaction. The lesson also develops this by asking students to compare Austen's characterisation with the director's representation of this on screen. Students should feel more confident at inferring from textual evidence by the end of the lesson.

Please note that this lesson touches on the same themes as those discussed in Emma, as both deal with film adaptations of social situations. These two lessons might be taught in conjunction or as separate items.

Lesson Objective

  • To develop a number of pieces of textual evidence into a cogent argument
  • To produce a comparative analysis of written and cinematic characterisation


Students read chapter four, and take notes on the impression that they get of the following things (this should be done in groups so that the students take a particular focus, and feed back to one another):

  1. What impression does the reader get of Captain Wentworth from this chapter, and of sailors/life in the navy in general?
  2. What impression of women does the reader get from this chapter?

The students should make notes in their texts/take notes in their books, citing evidence from the text as well as their ideas. The class should feed back and describe their impressions of both, so that the whole class understands and has evidence for each focus.


Main Attraction

Students are split down the middle; they have to explain to the actresses playing the women/the Captain and other naval characters in this chapter what the life of a woman/sailor is like. Students watch the film extract and take notes on these areas. They discuss what information a viewer would understand having watched this extract. Is this similar to the book - i.e. are there identical things that both reader and viewer would understand? Are there any differences, and if so, what are they?

Students now write a paragraph on the focus area they worked on, comparing and contrasting the presentation of their set of characters in the text to the presentation in the film. The students should quote from the text and refer to specific clips from the film extract in their answer (by describing it) Students should concentrate on writing sentences which compare in one sentence the two different texts - media and written, and should also do this when contrasting, as this will revise the key compare/contrast skills they will need to use confidently when completing paper one reading.


End Credits

Students read out their paragraphs and peer assess whether the person reading has used evidence from the text and from the film in their answer, and whether the person reading has compared/contrasted the two media using a single sentence each time. (E.g. The film extract portrayed women as ___________, shown by the director when ______, which is similar to the text as Austen presents the two women as _________, when she writes, "___________".)


External Links

Video Clips
1. At dinner (3:19)
Downloadable Teaching Resources

Related Films and TV programmes

Thumbnail image of Persuasion (1995)Persuasion (1995)

Read more about this film

See also

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 English: Emma (1996)KS3/4 English: Emma (1996)

Explore Austen's take on social interaction between the upper classes

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 English: Mansfield Park (1983)KS3/4 English: Mansfield Park (1983)

Exploring Mrs. Norris's characterisation on the page and on screen

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 English: Persuasion 2 (1995)KS3/4 English: Persuasion 2 (1995)

Explore Austen's presentation of characters' emotions through film

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 English: Pride and Prejudice KS3/4 English: Pride and Prejudice

Compare two directors' portrayals of Elizabeth's first visit to Pemberley

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 English: Pride and Prejudice 2KS3/4 English: Pride and Prejudice 2

Compare how two different directors portray Lydia's elopement

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 English: Sense and Sensibility (1981)KS3/4 English: Sense and Sensibility (1981)

Comparing descriptive language with descriptive techniques in film

Thumbnail image of Jane Austen on TelevisionJane Austen on Television

TV's takes on English literature's most perceptive and subtle satirist

Thumbnail image of TV Literary AdaptationTV Literary Adaptation

From page to screen