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Sense and Sensibility

Though not the first novel she wrote, Sense and Sensibility was the first Jane Austen published. Though she initially called it Elinor and Marianne, Austen jettisoned both the title and the epistolary mode in which it was originally written, but kept the essential theme: the necessity of finding a workable middle ground between passion and reason. The story revolves around the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne. Whereas the former is a sensible, rational creature, her younger sister is wildly romantic--a characteristic that offers Austen plenty of scope for both satire and compassion. Commenting on Edward Ferrars, a potential suitor for Elinor's hand, Marianne admits that while she "loves him tenderly," she finds him disappointing as a possible lover for her sister.

Soon however, Marianne meets a man who measures up to her ideal: Mr. Willoughby, a new neighbor. So swept away by passion is Marianne that her behavior begins to border on the scandalous. Then Willoughby abandons her; meanwhile, Elinor's growing affection for Edward suffers a check when he admits he is secretly engaged to a childhood sweetheart. How each of the sisters reacts to their romantic misfortunes, and the lessons they draw before coming finally to the requisite happy ending forms the heart of the novel. Though Marianne's disregard for social conventions and willingness to consider the world well-lost for love may appeal to modern readers, it is Elinor whom Austen herself most evidently admired; a truly happy marriage, she shows us, exists only where sense and sensibility meet and mix in proper measure.

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Recent Forum Posts on Sense and Sensibility

Colonel Brandon's daughter

When Colonel Brandon tells Elinor he once loved a woman who resembled Marianne, but she had to marry his brother, who she did not love, or him her. Then she had an affair with someone who was not Colonel Brandon and had an illegitimate daughter. Then I can't remember if this woman was divorced or dead, but the girl became Colonel Brandon's ward. Are we supposed to believe this? Elinor is happy to believe it, but it sounds like a whopper to me. I would want to have a good look at the girl to see if there were any family resemblance. Colonel Brandon challenged Willoughby to a duel, but neither of them were injured. So I suppose, Colonel Brandon having made the challenge, Willoughby had choice of weapons and chose pistols. That would make sense because Willoughby spends a lot of him time shooting, while he would have had little practice with swords. I suppose they only had one shot each, or maybe Willoughby only had to submit to one shot to retain his honour. I could understand Colonel Willoughby doing this for his own daughter more than another man's.

Unreliable narration

I am about half way through. Reading Elinor's thoughts about the Steele sisters. In particular Lucy, I wondered whether she was being fair. I thought maybe she was being a bit *****y. I have not got to the end of the book so I don't know if her assessment of those characters were right. I wondered whether Elinor was an unreliable narrator, only the book is not written first person. It was written in free indirect discourse. Jane Austen is often credited with inventing free indirect discourse, so maybe this was the first time the technique was used to describe an experience of a mind who is not impartial.

Situations and characters in Sense and Sensibility in the later novels.

I’ve notice a number of situations in S&S which crop up the later books and probably better handled. Among others I note these. Any other suggestions? A female tyrant imposing a marriage – Mrs Ferrers – Lady Catherine A mother with daughters in straitened circumstances – Mrs Dashwood – it is what Mrs Bennet fears will happen after Mr Bennet’s death A last minute off stage and unlooked for elopement which leads the hero to marry the heroine – Lucy Steele and Robert Ferrers –Maria Rushworth and Henry Crawford. A woman having to keep quiet about her love while very unsure of it – Elinor – Fanny Price, Jane Fairfax, Anne Elliot A charming cad who has seduced, or tried to seduce, a young woman –Willoughby- Wickham A young woman coming to marry a man she had initially dismissed – Marianne and Colonel Brandon – Lizzie and Darcy. A doting mother and noisy children – Lady Middleton – Mary Musgrave, Isabella Knightly (whose kids are far better behaved.) A heroine marrying a clergyman - Edward - Henry Tilney, Edmund Bertram A silly young woman going on about men - Nancy Steele - Isabella Thorpe, Lydia Bennett (who are both considerably younger)

Re-reading Sense and Sensibility - plot and characterisation

I’ve just finished Sense and Sensibility. It is a very fine novel and if Jane Austen hadn’t written five other novels it would be her finest. It is a highly ingenious plot, probably the most elaborate she wrote. But to begin with it seems too schematic with the two sisters contrasted as Sense and Sensibility. (My sympathies are all with Elinor and in the early chapters Marianne strikes me as an emotionally self-indulgent and self-centred pseud.) And the clever twist that leaves Edward free to marry Elinor is not prepared for at all. The characterisation also seems cruder than in the other novels (including the earlier Northanger Abbey). The dominant figure of Mrs Ferrers only appears once in person and compared to other tyrants (Lady Catherine, General Tilney) is a simplistic caricature. Edward Ferrers himself is a really boring character.

Marianne's marriage to Brandon in context

I've just finished 'Sense and Sensibility' and can't say I enjoyed it that much, I certainly preferred 'Pride and Prejudice'. As with a lot of people I've spoken to about the ending, and as I've seen discussed in a couple of other threads on here, what I particularly didn't like was the way Marianne ended up marrying Colonel Brandon. I thought this was handled quite dismissively, almost just for the sake of social harmony, rather than from any deeply passionate feelings on her side. Earlier on in the book she believes him too old and doesn't see the possibility of his marrying again having been married before. To what extent do you think Austen did this just for the sake of rounding off the novel to the satisfaction of those who would have been reading it when it was published? Would her audience at the time have demanded a 'happy' ending, even if it is arguable that she doesn't even give them that?

Favorite Quotes?

heyya im new here i just read sense and sensibility because my english literature teacher forced me so -_- and i love it :D i wanna know whats your favorite quote based on the book and why? because i dont have one..... i have to make a poster based on that quote if you guys have an interesting quote can i use it for the my poster? thank you :D that would inspire me :D

Sense and Sensibility Discussion

Hey, I'm just on the third chapter right now, and I am kind of enjoying it. Can anyone give me any hints as to what's going to happen without spoiling it? Just a paragraph summary or something....

book club - sense and sensibility

the time has come for book two, sense and sensibility. we had planned to read this late october (i think) but the three months allocated for persuasion were a bit long - and i think in general, three months is far too long. i don't think there will be a limit on how long we discuss this book for, once everyone tires we'll just move on to the next one, pride and prejudice. for new comers - there are no 'rules', you can come and go at any point you want. we'll 'officially' start reading today, but discussion can begin at any point, in this thread. happy reading :wave: link to original thread persuasion

Literary Criticisms

I'm currently in the process of looking for literary criticisms on Sense and Sensibility; however, I was wondering if anyone had a particular favorite criticism or one that they'd like to share. I need a criticism from the year that it was published (1811) and four more from in 1830 to modern day. I've been searching for some older ones, but they're much more difficult to find than modern ones--especially considering that the non-modern ones are typically not posted on the internet. Any suggestions, comments, etc. are eagerly welcomed!

Friendship and Happiness

There is one quote that puts me into wonder sometimes, it is said in the book, "One's happiness can not depend on the other person" I have never experienced love other than family love, which it is a very different kind of love compare with the love between two lovers. However, i am not going to get a girlfriend because i still have to develop my personal characters;moreover, i am afraid of the power of Love. For those of you who are married. Is the statement true? Is it a practical statement or is it a philosophical statement. And if possible, can you tell me, What IS LOVE?

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