• Year Published: 1811.
  • Pages: 400.

Sense and Sensibility Summary

Sense and Sensibility achieved its publication in the year 1811 under the author Jane Austen. The book was nothing but a classic but sadly it was later appreciated by a whole different generation. Many at times this also happens for other books. Maybe it had to go through several generations in order to finally get the round of applause denied during its birth.

The book’s twists and turns are mostly enjoyed through the two primary characters, Elinor and Marianne who are Dashwood sisters, and daughters of Mrs. Dashwood, who also has a sister by the name Margaret. John who is the son of Mr. Dashwood and step-brother to the Dashwood sisters is left to protect the family despite not being profoundly involved with them. Sir John Middleton offers shelter in a small cottage to his cousin Mrs. Dashwood and her family as an expression of compassion.

The two sisters make the book one heck of a story as they live in deep contrast to their characters but only parallel in their struggle with life-based on their misfortunate past and small opportunities. Elinor appears to be more reserved and practical in making choices, always placing her mother’s and sister’s interests before hers. She would always be controlling over her feelings and always thought twice before she acted. Marianne existed in a completely different world full of romance and musical thoughts. She submits to her feelings without hesitation nor reflection on what is to happen consequently. Only singing would make her soul light up with joy and she felt every smidgen of passion that one could possibly feel. Both of them were only similar in sacrificing happiness for one another.

A man by the name Willoughby brings forth melancholy onto Marianne by rejecting her and breaking her heart and Elinor takes it upon herself to provide a shoulder for her sister to cry on. The plot gets more dramatic as Elinor learns that Lucy is engaged to the love of her life but in secrecy. This only makes her dumbfounded, bringing her only sorrow and grief but she chooses to embrace the distress and holds it back in. She toughens up towards Elinor hiding her blues as she promises to Lucy to never let the cat out of the bag. Her perseverance acts as a testimony to her strong character which could not easily be shaken.

One of the most remarkable parts of the book was when Elinor made her speech which came after Marianne eventually got wind of the truth. She testifies about Lucy trusting her and she expresses her hurt claiming that she had to bear the harsh treatment from the family of the man she loved, “I have had to content against the unkindness of his sister, and the insolence of his mother, and have suffered the punishment of an attachment without enjoying its advantages”.

The book portrays a deep sense of irony as Elinor who has always been kept back in her emotions and actions is reunified with Edward, the love of her life while Marianne who has never failed to have a profound view of life was rejected in due course by Willoughby. However, her hope for love is rekindled by Colonel Brandon who had never occurred even once on her mind at the outset of the plot. In the end, we are left with a question as to whether one should be Sensitive or Sensible in life. In my opinion, it is fate that will decide for us.

Themes

  1. Love
  2. Marriage
  3. Family
  4. Society and Class
  5. Women and Femininity
  6. The Home
  7. Wealth
  8. Language and Communication
  9. Dreams, Hopes, and Plans
  10. Competition

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