Sense and Sensibility

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Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, first published in 1811, explores the social and cultural expectations of this period through the moderation of the important characteristics of sense and sensibility. The novel is a sharply detailed portraiture that represents the large difference between power and disempowerment relating to that time of between the English eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries through the many areas surrounding such themes as courtship, the importance of marriage, the role and power of women, love, money and social classes.

The novel contrasts the two sisters opposite personalities and the plot follows Elinor and Marianne as members of the upper class in the early 19th Century, who, as women, cannot “work” for a living and must make a suitable marriage to ensure their livelihood (, 2010, Sense and Sensibility).

The dichotomy between “sense” and “sensibility” is most clearly symbolised by the emotional contrast between the novels two main characters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.

Austen compares the two different personalities of the two main characters in order to find favour with one position and therefore argue against another to allow the reader to arrive at the conclusion that to become successful in life and love, you must balance and have the two important characteristics of sense and sensibility.

The eldest sister, Elinor, exemplifies the characteristic of sense with the representative qualities including common sense, diplomatic behaviour, reason, clear-headedness and a rational nature being portrayed throughout the novel. She suffers through various trials and tribulations especially after being abandoned by Edward Ferrars. However, following her feature of sense, she seldom shows her emotions, and never lets her own disappointments affect her behaviour towards others. Unlike Marianne, she always remains sensitive to others feelings and strives to behave with social graciousness. For these reasons,...
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