The Sense and Marianne by Jane Austen Essay

1087 Words 5 Pages
Elinor Represents the Sense and Marianne the Sensibility of the
Novel’s Title. Discuss.

“She had an excellent heart – her disposition was affectionate and her feelings were strong, but she knew how to govern them…”

Right from the opening of the novel, the author, Jane Austen, makes it clear that Elinor, the eldest of the Dashwood sisters, represents the
“Sense” in the title of the novel. Elinor endures some very strong emotions and, in virtually every situation, unlike most heroines in novels of that era, she is able to conceal or control them. For this reason she appears to be a perfect role model for her sister Marianne, the “Sensibility” of the novel’s title. Austen presents Marianne as fresh, uninhibited and
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Firstly she is immediately trusted by a virtual stranger-

“I have no doubt in the world of your faithfully keeping this secret…”

Elinor also shows that she can govern even the strongest emotion – she can not and will not allow anyone to see her devastation-

“… but Elinor did not feel very compassionate.” And she “…concealed an emotion and distress beyond anything she had felt before. She was mortified, shocked, confounded.”

This demonstrates how incredibly she is able to conceal emotion.

Elinor is the only sensible member of her family, regarding Marianne’s meeting with Willoughby. The others become carried away and they begin talking of marriage. Elinor is forced to warn her sisters on many occasions not to act appropriately, or they would ruin her reputation “Elinor ventured to doubt the propriety of receiving a gift from a man so little… known to her” And “Elinor’s happiness was not so great…”

None of this however, proves that Elinor does not experience emotion, but show she is able to conceal or disguise her feelings, keeping them inside. This is most evident when Lucy boasts about her relationship with Edward. Almost undoubtedly, Elinor is hurt and jealous but hides this- “… She said with a calmness of manner which tolerably well concealed her surprise and solicitude…”

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