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This witty classic about two closer-than-close sisters gives you a taste of the complexity, and ideal sensibility, of England's Victorian era. By considering marriage an investment, Jane Austen does a phenomenal job expressing the importance of wealth and status in the terms of love. Although society in this time was quite prude, Austen makes her characters relatable to us today. She has a way of adding a light-hearted feel to her writing. It is addictive and unique, which only adds to your enjoyment.
Austen, being more of a sensible person, keeps clear the importance of creating a balance between reason and passion. This is one of her major themes in Sense and Sensibility. We all know people who think way too far into things, and people who don’t think before they act. There is so much you could miss out on by taking life too seriously or by letting your emotions get the best of you. Elinor and Marianne hit these extremes.
Elinor and Marianne are complete opposites for being such close sisters. Elinor, being the oldest, is the practical one. She is level-headed, polite, and shows her concern for others. Elinor becomes very close to a man named Edward Ferrars. Although she developes strong feelings for Edward, Elinor doesn’t let herself over-react. She tells Marianne, “ I do not attempt to deny that I think very highly of him.—That I greatly esteem, that I like him” (35). She fears saying anything to Edward because she doesn’t know how he feels. Refering to the title, she is "Sense," whereas, Marianne is "Sensibility."
Marianne lets her emotions get the best of her, and can be overly dramatic. When it comes time to leave Norland, she shows her saddness by talking about the leaves there. Poetically she says, “With what transporting sensations have I formerly seen them fall! How have I delighted, as I walked, to see them driven in showers about me by the wind! What feelings have they, the season, the air altogether inspired! Now there is no one to regard them. They are seen only as a nuisance, swept hastily off, and driven as much as possible from the sight!” (52). Elinor then mocks Marianne’s passion of the subject.
Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are both struggling under the common pressures of women of their time: they must find a wealthy man to marry. Their father has just died and all of his money was left to their half-brother, John. John had planned on taking care of his half-sisters and step mother but his wife, Fanny, won’t let him. Now, the Dashwood women are left with only 500 pounds each.
Mrs. Dashwood takes her daughters to Devonshire to live with her cousin and his family. They were all upset about leaving, but Elinor kept her grief about leaving Edward to herself. They soon get settled in and make new friends. Before long Marianne meets Willoughby. She becomes infatuated by him and believes him to be her first and only true love.
The girls may not lead the most exciting lives, but you grow attached to them. These characters can be like people any reader knows. You start learning about yourself as you watch the characters grow. It gets you thinking about how you want to live your life and if you take it too seriously sometimes. It is definitely worth reading!