Themes In Sense And Sensibility Pdf

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Jane Austen is often described as a novelist of manners. Her works illustrate in great detail the workings, habits, customs, and manners of high English society in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The plot of Sense and Sensibility revolves around marriage. The novel begins with Elinor and Marianne as unmarried but eligible young women and only concludes when both of them settle into marriages.

Sense and Sensibility Themes

The main theme in this novel is the danger of excessive sensibility. Austen is concerned with the prevalence of the "sensitive" attitude in the romantic novel which, after the s, turned to emphasizing the emotional and sentimental nature of people rather than, as before, their rational endowments.

The influences which worked this change were many. The philosophy of Lord Shaftesbury was popular at the time, stressing man's natural beneficence. Rousseau wrote about the "noble savage," and Samuel Richardson's intense portrayals of the emotional life of women were also popular. The gothic revival was developing at the time, with its stress on the exotic and its accompanying disgust with the trivialities of everyday life.

And there was a prevalence of female novelists, writing for a large female audience. Tears and sighs were streaming from every chapter. To be able to show one's emotions was thus desirable, and restraint, in fact everything relating to rational control, was deemed artificial. Austen tries to discredit this trend towards sentimentality by pointing out its dangers in the example of Marianne and showing the superiority of sense, in the example of Elinor.

There is a dual plot and dual heroines. Elinor and Marianne each pursues her romance according to her temperament and beliefs. Each has an unhappy love affair at the start. The parallel plots, illustrating the dual theme, are one of the weaknesses of the novel, for they occur too "conveniently" and are therefore not convincing. The theme of sensibility is illustrated in the love affair between Marianne and Willoughby.

The theme of sense begins with the relationship of Elinor and Edward. The two plots are carefully interwoven. Marianne's romance is ideal until Willoughby deserts her. Elinor's is threatened from the start.

Marianne's reactions are always impassioned and uncontrolled; Elinor is always sensible and restrained. Sense is finally justified and sensibility shown to be a weakness. Ironically, Marianne marries a prosaic older man, and for both it is a second love, something Marianne vowed she could never tolerate.

Elinor's fate is more romantic; she marries her first and only love and is quite happy to settle down as the wife of a country parson. Austen, in expostulating this theme, is setting up in the process what she believes to be a fitting standard of behavior.

But the issues are not so clear cut. The proponents of sensibility actually emerge as much more favorable characters than do those that stress the tenets of sense.

The moral qualities of goodness and loyalty to one's family are an integral part of what Austen means by good sense. In fact, they are the most important parts of it. Thus Marianne and her mother, while immature and overly romantic, are, on the whole, good people.

Sir John is much more pleasing than his wife, and Mrs. Palmer is preferable to Mr. Palmer for just those qualities of feeling that he abhors. Willoughby, John and Fanny Dashwood, and Mrs. Ferrars, the villains of this novel, all lack the necessary human sentiments.

Only Elinor and Colonel Brandon remain unscathed, and both have ample portions of both sense and sensibility. Austen is mirroring the basic tension of her times in this work. Reason, the eighteenth-century symbol of all that is good, and the accompanying moral order of the times, which is exemplified in the standards of the community at large, are being challenged by the nineteenth-century romantic strain, where morality is interpreted by the individual.

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Sense and Sensibility

Laws surrounding inheritance are what put the Dashwood women in limbo at the beginning of the novel; and their lack of money, compounded with their inability to work, means that they cannot ease their situation, except through marrying well. Money also dictates the eligibility of Elinor and Marianne, as women with larger dowries are of course seen as better prospects for marriage. There are very definite gender limitations involved in the society Austen describes; women cannot own property, are expected to stay in the home, marry, and be polite and good company. Men can decide whether or not to pursue a career if they have enough money, and have more latitude within society in regards to their behavior and life choices. Gender dictates acceptable roles and behavior, and even in the world of the novel, there is little room to deviate.


LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Sense and Sensibility, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. Society and Strategy Get the entire Sense and Sensibility LitChart as a printable PDF. "My students can't.


Notes on Sense and Sensibility Themes

The main theme in this novel is the danger of excessive sensibility. Austen is concerned with the prevalence of the "sensitive" attitude in the romantic novel which, after the s, turned to emphasizing the emotional and sentimental nature of people rather than, as before, their rational endowments. The influences which worked this change were many. The philosophy of Lord Shaftesbury was popular at the time, stressing man's natural beneficence.

Money 1: Mr. Henry Dashwood is very concerned about his daughter's income, knowing that without the money from Norland, the girls will have a hard time marrying. Money 2: Fanny Dashwood works hard to convince her husband he owes his stepmother and stepsisters nothing.

The dichotomy between "sense" and "sensibility" is one of the lenses through which this novel is most commonly analyzed. The distinction is most clearly symbolized by the psychological contrast between the novel's two chief characters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. According to this understanding, Elinor, the older sister, represents qualities of "sense": reason, restraint, social responsibility, and a clear-headed concern for the welfare of others.

Sense and Sensibility

 - Иногда человек в моем положении вынужден лгать людям, которых любит. Сегодня как раз такой день.  - В глазах его читалась печаль.  - То, что сейчас скажу, я не собирался говорить никому. Она почувствовала, как по спине у нее пробежал холодок. Лицо коммандера выражало торжественную серьезность.

ГЛАВНАЯ РАЗНИЦА МЕЖДУ ЭЛЕМЕНТАМИ, ОТВЕТСТВЕННЫМИ ЗА ХИРОСИМУ И НАГАСАКИ Соши размышляла вслух: - Элементы, ответственные за Хиросиму и Нагасаки… Пёрл-Харбор. Отказ Хирохито… - Нам нужно число, - повторял Джабба, - а не политические теории. Мы говорим о математике, а не об истории. Соши замолчала. - Полезный груз? - предложил Бринкерхофф.

Девушка почти уже добралась до двери. Беккер поднялся на ноги, пытаясь выровнять дыхание. Попробовал добрести до двери. Меган скрылась во вращающейся секции, таща за собой сумку. Беккер почти вслепую приближался к двери. - Подожди! - крикнул .

У всех терминалов были совершенно одинаковые клавиатуры. Как-то вечером Хейл захватил свою клавиатуру домой и вставил в нее чип, регистрирующий все удары по клавишам. На следующее утро, придя пораньше, он подменил чужую клавиатуру на свою, модифицированную, а в конце дня вновь поменял их местами и просмотрел информацию, записанную чипом. И хотя в обычных обстоятельствах пришлось бы проверять миллионы вариантов, обнаружить личный код оказалось довольно просто: приступая к работе, криптограф первым делом вводил пароль, отпирающий терминал.

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