Sense and Sensibility

Topics: Novel, Narrative, Narratology Pages: 2 (321 words) Published: October 30, 2014
Notes:
Questions to consider:
-There’s a relationship between Richardson’s ways of constructing a character and Austen’s, and perhaps a relationship between the ends he’s seeking to achieve through characterization and those of Austen’s. -With that being said, how do we turn it into an analysis?

>>> Why not begin with questions about form?
-Does it matter that Richardson’s novel is epistolary first-person and Austen’s narrator is a version of third-person omniscient with a great deal of access to characters’ inward states, thoughts, and feelings? -Are you aware that Austen originally began this text (or one that would evolve into this text) in the epistolary style? Why do you think it might have appealed to her? Why do you think she might have abandoned it in favor of the mode of narration we eventually get? (Go back to the text for answers…)

-Richardson’s Pamela and Austen’s Marianne both embody—albeit in quite different versions--what the eighteenth-century called sensibility. >They’re both depicted in states of heightened emotion (notice the proliferation of scenes in which they cry, blush, swoon, etc.,), and they both seem to be governed by their emotions (although this is a little complicated in Pamela’s case). -Discuss their character (how the characters are, what they’re like, how they act, etc.) -If Pamela and Marianne are both tearful, do they elicit tears from the reader in the same way? In other words, are they both drawn to elicit a sympathetic response in the reader? -Are they constructed in such a way that the reader is invited to identify with them? Alternatively, is the reader invited to judge or suspect or criticize either or both? (To answer these questions, I think you’d have to make some claims about how each author builds his character and positions his reader in relation to her. This might bring you back to a discussion of the different narrative modes used by the two novelists.)
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