Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

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Sense and Sensibility, authored by Jane Austen, it is filled with Romance, social, family life and focuses on the upper-middle-class of England’s society during the early nineteenth century. Austen focus in the book just as the title states on sense and sensibility, logic and emotion. The way that she expresses these two ideas by contrasting two sisters Elinor Verses Marianne the two main points that she focuses on throughout the book is : (1) Elinor’s “insight” character typified by a sense of balance, restraint, rational thought and “sense” (2) The Romantic Sensibility, embodied by Marianne, of heightened feelings, and response to the “inspirational” in nature and beauty.

The Dashwood sisters represent the main logic of Austen’s book. They come from a family of three girls and a step brother. With their father’s passing they go from being the upper – middle class to then being sent away from their home causing them to become part of the lower class. Despite these challenges they had and coming from the same family dynamic, there outlook on life are very different than one and other. Elinor represents sense, for she is the more logical and cautious sister, being the leader and always planning. Marianne on the other hand represents Sensibility with her she follows her heart and does everything based off emotions.

Elinor Dashwood is the oldest sister, being the eldest of three girls she is the more rational one. She displays a voice of sense, fighting her emotions she keeps her family on track. Elinor thinks of all the practically things: where are the Dashwood’s going to live? How should they respond to their new neighbors and friends? What happens if Willoughby isn’t engaged to Marianne? Without her, her family would be lost with no one to take care of them. She often finds herself having to excuse Marianne behavior to others. Despite not having the best impressions of the new neighbors and friends she is always polite and tries her best to say the right things in front of company.

Elinor is a good sister even when going through her time of stress she can comfort Marianna when Willoughby leaves her. Her biggest emotional challenge is when she fell in love with Edward and had to put her emotions aside for he was taken by Lucy. At the end of the book you see her sensibility side of her like her sister when she let out all her emotions that she had for Edward. She began crying historically out of relief that Edward had not married Lucy, at this moment she lets out all the pain she was holding in for the longest of time. Shortly after Elinor and Edward get married leading a happy and comfortable life.

Elinor believes that one should control their actions and display a normal set of conduct, and see’s the consequences of all her actions. Marianne on the other hand believes that we should listen to our heart and should be free to do what we want. Her and Marianne view Society very differently. In A disagreement with Marianne &Elinor states:

‘I am afraid,’ replied Elinor, ‘that the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety.’

‘On the contrary, nothing can be a stronger proof of it, Elinor; for if there had been any real impropriety in what I did, I should have been sensible of it at the time, for we always know when we are acting wrong, and with such a conviction I could have had no pleasure.’ (13.19)

Elinor’s Outlook on love is very logical, she tries to fix a broken heart with the use of logic and reasoning. She claims that she was able to reason her way with her emotions leading her not to be able to feel sadness and pain. Despite all the convincing herself that she was okay emotionally, she was really crushed deep down inside, as quoted in chapter 13:

‘But I did not love only him; — and while the comfort of others was dear to me, I was glad to spare them from knowing how much I felt. Now, I can think and speak of it with little emotion. I would not have you suffer on my account; for I assure you I no longer suffer materially myself. I have many things to support me. I am not conscious of having provoked the disappointment by any imprudence of my own, and I have borne it as much as possible without spreading it farther. I acquit Edward of all essential misconduct. I wish him very happy; and I am so sure of his always doing his duty, that though now he may harbor some regret, in the end he bazaqmust become so. Lucy does not want sense, and that is the foundation on which everything good may be built. And after all, Marianne, after all that is bewitching in the idea of a single and constant attachment, and all that can be said of one’s happiness depending entirely on any particular person, it is not meant — it is not fit — it is not possible that it should be so. Edward will marry Lucy; he will marry a woman superior in person and understanding to half her sex; and time and habit will teach him to forget that he ever thought another superior to her.’ (37.13)

Marinne is the total opposite of Elinor she represents sensibility. She is all about passion and is a firm believer in following her heart and not logic and being a hopeless romantic. She lacks a sense of proper behavior unlike her sister. The way that she expresses her feelings is threw the means of paying the piano and going off into emotional rants. She falls instantly falls in love Wiloughby and, when he abandoned her and left her for another she didn’t control her emotions leading her to act irrationally. Her emotions are very extreme when she is happy she is very happy but when she is sad she becomes depressed with results to her illness and near death. Her emotions have an impact on everyone around her. In the end of the book Marinne leaves her childish ways and instead of doing things out of feelings she uses logic. This caused her to fall in love with Colonel Brandon who she learned to love over time instead of developing love at first sight, marrying and living happily ever after.

Though out the book you can see how Marianne is a hopeless romantic and a strong believer of following heart a great example is in chapter 10 when she meets Willoughby. Willoughby is the Marianne perfect ideal man, being with him fees like love at first sight. She is drawn to him beyond just what is on the surface to her she sees so much more he sees what’s in his heart. Willoughby is the man that perfect man that she has been waiting for all along, the man that would come and sweep her off her feet, as stated:

“Willoughby was a young man of good abilities, quick imagination, lively spirits, and open, affectionate manners. He was exactly formed to engage Marianne’s heart; for, with all this, he joined not only a captivating person, but a natural ardour of mind, which was now roused and increased by the example of her own, and which recommended him to her affection beyond everything else. (10.6)”

Marinna compared to Elinor deeply struggles with the idea that she must maintain a proper conduct and act like a woman. she always on the defense when needing to defend her conduct of behavior to her sister. She becomes very emotionally hysterical when someone tries to guide her the right way. In midst of a disagreement with her Elinor Marinna declares:

“Elinor,’ cried Marianne, ‘is this fair? is this just? are my ideas so scanty? But I see what you mean. I have been too much at my ease, too happy, too frank. I have erred against every common-place notion of decorum! I have been open and sincere where I ought to have been reserved, spiritless, dull, and deceitful. Had I talked only of the weather and the roads, and had I spoken only once in ten minutes, this reproach would have been spared.’ (10.5)

Marianne saw her home as so much more than just a house. This house was everything to her. Losing her house is very painful and emotional. This house was more than just any ordinary house it was the place where she grew up. it’s the place that which she sheared all of childhood memories. She may sound like she is being a bit dramatic, but under Marianne’s poetic affection lies her genuine feelings.

“Many were the tears shed by them in their last adieus to a place so much beloved. ‘Dear, dear Norland!’ said Marianne, as she wandered alone before the house, on the last evening of their being there; ‘when shall I cease to regret you? — when learn to feel a home elsewhere? — Oh happy house! could you know what I suffer in now viewing you from this spot, from whence perhaps I may view you no more! — And you, ye well-known trees! — but you will continue the same. — No leaf will decay because we are removed, nor any branch become motionless although we can observe you no longer! — No; you will continue the same; unconscious of the pleasure or the regret you occasion, and insensible of any change in those who walk under your shade! — But who will remain to enjoy you?’ (5.8)

“Elinor was much more hurt by Marianne’s warmth, than she had been by what produced it; but Colonel Brandon’s eyes, as they were fixed on Marianne, declared that he noticed only what was amiable in it; the affectionate heart which could not bear to see a sister slighted in the smallest point.

Marianne’s feelings did not stop here. The cold insolence of Mrs. Ferrars’s general behavior to her sister, seemed, to her, to foretell such difficulties and distresses to Elinor, as her own wounded heart taught her to think of with horror; and urged by a strong impulse of affectionate sensibility, she moved, after a moment, to her sister’s chair, and putting one arm round her neck, and one cheek close to hers, said in a low, but eager voice:

‘Dear, dear Elinor, don’t mind them. Don’t let them make you unhappy.’ (34.34-35)

Despite their differences Austin brings out a great emphasis on family. No matter how much struggles lay between them, Marianne shows the great love that she has for her sister. Elinor and Marianne have a bond that is goes beyond any other, showing that family is there for one and other for better or for worse. This is one of Austin’s great message to her readers. No matter what happens family will always be there to catch you when you fall.

Cite this paper

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. (2021, Aug 12). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/sense-and-sensibility-by-jane-austen/

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