Sense and Sensibility
Sense and Sensibility - Introduction
Sense and Sensibility
In 1795 Jane Austen wrote “Elinor and Marianne” the first version of “Sense and Sensibility” in the form of letters of which the original draft was lost. In 1797 she started to revise it with the title of “Sense and Sensibility” and it was published in 1811. In brief “Sense and Sensibility” is a story of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, who, as members of the upper class, cannot "work" for a living and must therefore make a suitable marriage to ensure their livelihood. The story relates in third person descriptive narration including fifty chapters. As usual in Austen’s novels dialogues reveal characters and direct the plot in sequential order. The story sets in England and moves to Sussex from Devonshire and again from Devonshire to London and Somerset. As in some of her other novels in “Sense and Sensibility” too she deals with the importance of marriage to a woman's livelihood and comfort. The title itself is really appropriate to the novel as the eldest sister Elinor epitomizes the sense of the title while her younger sister personifies a complete sensibility. Furthermore the eldest sister Elinor becomes a caricature of common sense and tactful behavior, while her sister with lack of emotional control with full of passion.
With the death of their father Dashwood sisters and their mother became financially imbalanced. They had to leave out their family home and survived with barely respectable income. They decided to move away to a cottage owned by a distant cousin in Barton Park, Devonshire. Before that Elinor the more practical sister fell in love with Edward Ferrars. However the family left to Devonshire and made their home in a cottage. Marianne the more passionate and less practical sister developed an affair with an elegant young man named Willoughby at the time they spent at Devonshire. Passion made her develops a complete trust towards the person. Yet the things went wrong fairly soon with Willoughby’s sudden left to London for the reasons which were not entirely certain. Later on Elinor’s hopes of love and marriage too got cracked with the news she got from Miss Lucy Steele which was that she was secretly engaged to Edward Ferrars. Both Dashwood sisters deceived in their love. Elinor’s habit of self control strengthened her to overcome her disappointment while Marianne became physically and emotionally weak. Marianne’s situation became more critical and it made Willoughby to relate the true reason to forget Marianne to her sister Elinor. It was because of money that Willoughby had to marry another and that reason made the Dashwood family forgive him. Elinor thought this story made Marianne better. At the same time Colonel Brandon has confessed that he's in love with Marianne, and Mrs. Dashwood made a quick engagement as a conclusion to overcome the critical situation of her loving daughter. And Marianne began to recover. Apart from these Elinor who remained unsettled after Edward Ferrars story got to know that it was due to miscommunication she got the news of Edward’s marriage to Miss Lucy Steele. And actually it was not Edward Ferrars who married Miss Lucy Steele but his younger brother Robert. Elinor got elated with this good news and agreed to marry Edward her first lover. Finally everything ends happily. Elinor gets happy with the man she loved. Marianne finds her own happiness with the help of Cornel Brandon. The story ends interestingly with the marriage of two sisters.