The Novel “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Summary
  3. Conclusion

Introduction

The novel “Sense and Sensibility” was written by an English author, Jane Austen. She was born on 16th December in England. Most of her novels were inspired from the suffering of women in her time. She belonged to the Georgian era.

During this time due to the wars happening women lost their rights and were not considered important since they had very little to contribute on their part. The men were in charge of everything and the only ideal work for them was either in the army, law or clergy. Women on the other hand were expected to stay home and take care of children and chores. It was an obligation for them to find themselves a suitable match so that they can live off of the money of their husbands. Since they did not have a profession of their own they were characterized by their husband’s profession. Therefore, finding a perfect match was of utmost importance.

Summary

The novel starts with the death of Mr. Henry Dashwood leaving Marianne, Elinor and Margaret (his daughters and Mrs. Dashwood (second wife) nowhere to live. He leaves all his money for John (his eldest son) from his first wife. Even though Mr. Dashwood tells John before dying to take good care of his sisters and mother he is manipulated into not giving them a single penny by his evil wife, Fanny.

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Left with nothing to survive on, the women travel to live in a cottage of one of their relatives (the Middletons) in Barton Park, Devonshire. It was difficult for the women to leave their home but Elinor found it more difficult than the other since she let herself get attached to her sister-in-law’s brother, Edward Ferrars before leaving. Having both her feet on the ground and thinking practically, Elinor decides to keep her feelings for him low-key. Then they moved away to live with their distant relatives where Marianne meets an elderly man (in his thirties) named Colonel Brandon who seems to like her and gives her a lot of attention. But she doesn’t seem to have the same feelings as Mr. Brandon and instead falls for a stranger who saves her from the misery of her twisted ankle. They both love each other and publicly show their feelings for each other. Everyone around them at a point becomes sure that Marianne and Willoughby will soon be engaged. Marianne was so in love that she was deeply hurt and agonized when Willoughby suddenly announces that he will be leaving town for some work and is not entirely sure when he will be back for Marianne.

As the days pass by, Lady Middleton’s sister and her husband come by to visit the Middletons who live in the same area as Willoughby and Marianne hopes to hear something from them about Willoughby but is sad when doesn’t. Then comes in Lucy Steel who tells Elinor that she has been secretly engaged to Mr. Ferrars. She almost instantly is convinced that it is Robert Ferrars, Edward’s small brother. But is heartbroken and dismayed when finds out that in real it is Edward and not Robert who is engaged to Lucy. Both Elinor and Marianne at this point give up on love and want nothing to do with it.

One of the Middletons ask the Dashwood sisters to accompany her to London. There Marianne meets Willoughby who avoids her at all costs and dumps her through a letter. Seeing Marianne in such a miserable condition Mr. Brandon shows concern for her. He reveals a harsh truth about Willoughby to Elinor. He tells her that Willoughby dumped his daughter (adopted) after getting her pregnant and fled to marry a wealthy girl. Going through so much pressure Elinor decides to confide in Marianne and tell her about everything and her feelings for Edward included. After realizing everything her sister endured, Marianne is sorry for every harsh thing she said to Elinor for being too practical. During all of this, unfortunately, Elinor is constantly found in the company of Lucy. Lucy’s elder sister reveals of Lucy and Edward's engagement to his mother and the Ferrars Family is outraged by this news. As a result, Edward was thrown out of the family. Later on Mr. Brandon helps Edward out by giving him some work to survive on. Meanwhile, Marianne gets sick and everyone is worried including Willoughby. He comes to Elinor to confess his true feelings for her and accepts all his mistakes. Elinor tells Marianne everything in the hope that she might feel better after knowing what Willoughby said.

Just when things were beginning to look better, Mrs. Dashwood arrived in London to give them the news that Marianne was to be married to Mr. Brandon since he confessed his feelings for Marianne to her. Amidst all these Elinor comes to hear the news of the wedding of Mr. Ferrars and Lucy. To her something doesn’t add up. This is when Edward comes in and tells her that he was wrongly accused and it wasn’t him but Robert who is married to Lucy. Free of all the obligations from his family he now asks Elinor’s hand for marriage and they get happily married. Marianne on the other hand learns to be practical and loves Mr. Brandon for the good man that he is.

Conclusion

Elinor and Marianne even though sisters, are completely different. Elinor being the mature one (the sense) and Marianne being the emotional and romantic (the sensibility). Even though Elinor is going through a lot of things of her own she manages to support everyone and tries to take care of everything as much as she can. Despite of all their differences, the two sisters supported each other. The novel shows a series of events through which both the characters develop beautifully and learn things that they lacked before. Austen tried to show the importance of support and acceptance among women. Instead of degrading the other women of her feeling and the relationship she has with another man it is always better to understand and help the woman out of her problems. Austen also shows through Elinor that marrying a rich man is not love. A woman can still be happy and have everything with a man who isn’t rich.

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The Novel “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen. (2020, October 20). WritingBros. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/the-novel-sense-and-sensibility-by-jane-austen/
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The Novel “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Oct 20 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/the-novel-sense-and-sensibility-by-jane-austen/
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