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A Report on Sense and Sensibility

Summary: Sense and Sensibility is a story about the Dashwood family, who loses

everything when Mr. Dashwood falls suddenly ill and dies unexpectedly. Mr. Dashwood is

forced, by law, to leave his fortune and vast estate to his son, Mr. John Dashwood, from his

first marriage. These circumstances leave Mr. Dashwood's current wife, and three daughters

(Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret) without a home and with hardly enough money to live on.

Edward, Fanny Dashwood's older brother, falls in love with Elinor, but Fanny makes up an

excuse to send Edward to London, away from Elinor. The Dashwood family then moves to

the Barton Cottage. Elinor tries to hide her longing for Edward , while Marianne is swept off

her feet in a passionate love affair with Willoughby. Even in their society obsessed with

financial and social status, in the end everything works out for Edward and Elinor and for

Willoughby and Marianne.

Significance of Title: The title of the book was originally Elinor and Marianne but was later

revised to become Sense and Sensibility. I believe that the title is significant to the book

because it describes what the book is really about. Sense and Sensibility is about how Elinor,

practical and conventional, must learn to show her sensible side more often, and how

Marianne, emotional and sentimental, should use her sense more frequently. Elinor conceals

her feelings until she hardly knows how to or wants to reveal them. But on the other hand,

Marianne wants to play out her romantic fantasies. The book describes how Elinor and

Marianne eventually mix their sense and sensibility together, in their dealings with money

and love.

Main Character Description: Elinor, the eldest daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Dashwood,

possesses great understanding and coolness of judgement, which qualifies her to be her

mother's counselor. This enabled her to act on things for the best of all of her sisters and

mother. When the Mrs. Dashwood received the offer to move to Barton Cottage, she wanted

to know Elinor's opinion on the cottage. She had no right to object it because the rent was "so

uncommonly moderate" and was fully furnished. Elinor also has a good heart and strong

feelings, but knows how to cover them.

This was something her mother had to learn more about and something her sister, Marianne,

never wanted to be taught. Elinor was not openly showing her affection to Edward and

because of it almost lost him.

Main Character Change: Elinor started out using purely sense and because of her near

lose of Edward is somewhat forced to use sensibility. Elinor and Edward fall in love, but he

has previous engaged to Lucy. This engagement was made many, many years before Edward

meet Elinor. He now felt an obligation, after so many years of engagement, to complete his

promise to Lucy. So, Edward talks himself into believing that Elinor does not love him. He

was able to do this by saying that she was not openly showing her affection to him and so

could not truly love him. This allowed Edward to begin to go through with his promise to

Lucy, with less pain and thought about Elinor. When Edward announces his marital

availability, Elinor bursts out of the room crying. She thought that if she might have been her

fault for showing little affection towards him. Later on his younger brother, Robert, and

Lucy meet and fall in love.

This enables Edward to break his engagement to Lucy and let Robert and her to get married.

He then returns to see Elinor. At this meeting Elinor finds out that Edward was not married

to Lucy but rather that his brother Robert was married to her. This time, she lets her true

feelings come through, in fear that of losing him again.

Memorable Passage:

How are her [Elinor] feelings to be described? From the moment of learning that Lucy

was married to another, that Edward was free, to the moment of his justifying the hopes

which had so instantly followed, she was everything but tranquil. But when the second

moment had passed, when she found every doubt, every solicitude removed... saw him

instantly profiting by the release to address herself and declare an affection as tender . . .

she was overcome by her own felicity; and happily disposed as . . . with any change for

the better, it required several hours to give sedateness to her spirits or any degree of

tranquility to her heart.

This passage is worth remembering because it is the first true time that Elinor allows herself

the freedom to fully experience the feelings of getting her ways in her inner life. After

hearing that Edward was not married, all her worries and concerns were gone because she

knew that now she and Edward could be married. She was overwhelmed with this possibility

of have personal happiness. It took her several hours to even get a drop of serenity in her


Response To Literary Work: The discovery I made as a result of reading this book was

that sense or sensibility cannot stand alone. You must have an equal balance of both to be

happy, because if you have too much sense, as Elinor did, then you will not allow yourself to

show to much emotion. Even if you feel love strongly and know that the person is right.

Your not showing any emotions makes them believe that you don't feel the same way they

do, even if you do. Then, they decide that if you don't feel the same way then it is a waste of

their time to be with you.

So you may be losing the true love of your life because of too much sense. But also if you

feel to much sensibility, as Marianne did, then you won't think of anything but acting out

your romantic fantasies and may be choosing someone who is not right for you because they

fit the description of the man of your dreams and you want to marry them so you don't lose

them, but this sometimes happens before you even get to know the true him.

The true him could be a jerk that is just nice on the outside and not on the inside. So you

need to try to have a good balance of both.

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