Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

‘The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!’

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love. – Goodreads.com

 

I’ve had a theory since high school that the first Jane Austen novel you read or the first film or TV adaption you watch will become your instant favourite. For me, it’s Sense and Sensibility. For my sister, Pride and Prejudice and the same for my mum.

Austen’s novels centre around women and their relationships to other women, men, society, wealth, etc. From what I have read there is not a single scene in Jane Austen’s novels that do not include a woman. Which I find incredibly refreshing given that we are still at a point where female writes have to disguise their first name by using only initials to market themselves to both a male and female audience. Writing somehow always has been and still is a male-centric commodity, though we have many incredibly female authors and readers alike.

But that’s not a topic I want to get myself into today. Today, I just want to talk about what I love about this novel.

Austen’s characters tend to always represent one major character flaw or a very intense version of one particular aspect of someone’s personality. In this case, sense and sensibility. Romanticism, whims and excessive emotion as compared to logic and reason. Often, these flaws or prejudices have to be overcome by the character in order for them to find the reward of love, independence and/or happiness.

Elinor is my favourite character in this novel. The incredible amount of restraint and self-discipline she shows, and how she overcomes her own reservations to allow herself to feel and to fall in love. It’s a great personal journey as well as romance.

Pros

  • Intense and differing characters
  • Personal growth and growth in relationships
  • Well paced

Cons

  • Difficult to get back into reading older English sometimes, but once you get going, it’s usually easy to manage

What’s the first Jane Austen novel/adaption you encountered and what is your favourite?

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