Jane Austen Sense and Sensibility
Numerous of people are familiar with the name of Jane Austen, who is famous for most of her romantic novels. Austen rarely uses figurative language, but she did address the theme, which is feminism in the novel called Sense and Sensibility. Sense and Sensibility, a romantic novel written by Jane Austen, reflected the roles of a lover and a spouse during the Regency Era.
Austen’s Sense and Sensibility is a romantic novel. The novel contains a secret engagement, broken engagements, heartbreaks, and finding new love. Marianne Dashwood wistfully got heartbroken by her lover, John Willoughby. During the beginning of their relationship, Marianne and John would parade their affection for one another out in the public’s eye. Marianne believed she would be soon engaged to John after their short time of dating, but he declared his departure. He left Marianne, while she stayed at home waiting for his letters, hoping he would come back home soon, since he didn’t give her a return date (Baker). After John left her, Marianne lost all aspects of love and refused to find a new lover. Marianne soon believed that Willoughby fell in love so quickly that it caused a dramatic heartbreak (Guggenheim). Meanwhile for Lucy Steele and Edward Ferrars, Lucy met Edward through her uncle, due to Edward being her uncle’s pupil in Plymouth. Edward and Lucy was in a secret engagement due to Edward’s mother, Mrs. Ferrars. She did not approving Lucy because she is not known for being an heiress nor having a fortune. Elinor Dashwood, Marianne’s oldest sister and Edward’s lover, believes the engagement between Edward and Lucy is part of a youthful infatuation. Lucy told Elinor that she and Edward are both gradually dismissing their love for one another because they are both annoyed of each other. Edward is too dedicated with the promise he gave to Lucy. He didn’t want to end the promise he made, while Lucy doesn’t want to destroy the engagement because Edward was born with a silver spoon. After Lucy heard that Mrs. Ferrars disowned and disinherited Edward, Lucy’s attention immediately focused on Edward’s younger brother, Robert Ferrars. Lucy and Robert then got married right before Lucy broke the engagement with Edward (Baker).
How it works
Since Sense and Sensibility is a romantic novel, it would always have a lover or lovers in the story. For a couple to have a healthy and nontoxic marriage, Austen believes they need to love one another in order to have a successful relationship. In the novel, Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars slowly fell for one another. They both grew a mature love rather than them publishing the love they had immediately. When Elinor talks about Edward, there’s love and warmth in her voice. She didn’t speak in the tone of effusions of affections and ardent vows. She believes the attention of all marriages is to have trust, commitment, honor, and loyalty (Guggenheim).
Novels that has a lover in them, comes with a spouse. The spouse in Sense and Sensibility is Edward Ferrars. He is the spouse of Elinor Dashwood. Edward is the older brother of Fanny and Robert Ferrars. They have such a meaningful love for one another that Edward knows that there is a rational love between him and his lover, Elinor (Guggenheim). Before they started their relationship, Edward was in a four year engagement with Lucy Steele. Lucy was only attracted to Edward because she knew he would be inherited by his mother. Mrs. Ferrars soon found out about their engagement, and she was mortified by the secrecy. Mrs. Ferrars was planning to set him up with a wealthy heiress name Miss Morton. Mrs. Ferrars gave Edward a difficult choice. If Edward chooses Lucy and marries her, Mrs. Ferrars will disown him as her own child and will disinherit him. If he agrees to marry Miss Morton and breaks the engagement with Lucy, Mrs. Ferrars will increase his inheritance. Throughout the novel, Edward started to have feelings for Elinor while he was in Norland. Edward decided to visit Lucy and bid to release the engagement, but she refuses. Then, Elinor received a sketchy letter from Lucy, stating that she offered to break the engagement with Edward but he refused. Elinor was devastated about the news. She then heard Edward and Lucy got married. Elinor tried to control her heart due to being so broken from Edward, but she couldn’t guide it. With a surprise visit from Edward, he arrived at Elinor’s cottage and explained the whole situation between him and Lucy. He told Elinor that Lucy didn’t marry him, but she did marry Robert, Edward’s younger brother. Apparently, Lucy broke the engagement after she and Robert got married. She married Robert because she heard that Edward is no longer the child of Mrs. Ferrars and that he was also disinherited. After Edward told Elinor the whole story, he went onto his knees and asked her to marry him (Baker).
When Sense and Sensibility was released, many people viewed the genre as a feminist novel. It was because Jane Austen was a feminist herself. Many people said her critical legacy described the feminists of the 1970s. “It was a perfect fit during the mid-19th century to the movement when women’s suffrage was achieved by the 1920’s, first wave feminist activist.” The men’s club call themselves “Janeites,” and they said Jane Austen is an “admirably domestic figure whose life and writings were often seen as without political intention” (Jane Austen Early Feminism).
When Jane was writing writing her Sense and Sensibility novel, it was written during the Regency period. The books Jane has previously written were well known for serenity and peacefulness. Writers were mainly focused on the people, not the events that happened in the stories. Jane spent most of her adult life during the period. Whenever she writes descriptions about her characters, she would try to write her characters all the same, no matter what century that they are in. Her novels all started in the beginning of 1811. During that time, George IV replaced his insane father, George III.