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How and in What Ways does Jane Austen Show the Importance of Money in the Characters and Society of her Time Through her Novel, Sense and Sensibility?

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Introduction

How and in What Ways does Jane Austen Show the Importance of Money in the Characters and Society of her Time Through her Novel, Sense and Sensibility? Money appears to be a main issue of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility". It is interesting that throughout the plot of the novel money seems to be the central issue. Affecting all the characters, it is money which pushes the plot, influences the choice of husband and marriage, establishes a place in society, seems to be influential in happiness and affects honesty and morality in characters. . Money always appeared to be a problem for the Dashwoods. They were constantly complaining about their lack of it, "my mother will never have money enough to attempt it", a quote from Elinor complaining about not having the money to improve the cottage. Austen uses money as a glue to hold the plot together; it follows the story and supports any gaps in the storyline. There is always a presence of money lingering in the atmosphere of the story, as there are many aspects of the novel where money has a definite link. The subject of money pushes the plot forward; For example, Mr. Willoughby left Marianne for a wealthier woman so Marianne needed to pick herself off the ground and move on to another stage of her life because she had lost her first love to money. ...read more.

Middle

His personality and physical appearance were ignored and the money was the only thing the Dashwoods focused on. "Edward Ferrars was not recommended to their good opinion by any peculiar graces of person or address. He was not handsome, and his manners required intimacy to make them pleasing. He was too diffident to do justice to himself." Marriage was very important for women of Austen's time so that there was a man at the woman's side to keep her financially stable. There were mistakes made by certain people in the book where greed was mistaken for love. Mr. Willoughby was madly in love with Marianne Dashwood, but he married another because Marianne's family was suffering from financial difficulty whereas the woman he married was profoundly rich. He was forced into a marriage that he would have been happier without because he was tricked by the power of money over love, which he later regretted. This shows how money can do damage. It caused hurt and regret of both Willoughby and Marianne. Money can make people selfish and greedy. It causes deceit in some cases, which leads to unhappiness. It is frightening how money can sometimes have the power to control people. John Dashwood was considering "to take three thousand pounds from the fortune of their son" and offer it to his stepmother and half sisters, the Dashwood family. ...read more.

Conclusion

If all the characters in "Sense and Sensibility" had used Marianne's view point the atmosphere would be pleasanter for the characters would be contented without having to worry about their social status, having no need to deceive others, having an opportunity to marry the person whom one truly loved and caring for others with others caring of them too. Using Marianne's viewpoint we can conclude that money, despite it's importance in the novel does not bring happiness. When one focuses on money one's emotional surroundings will collapse leaving money as the only possession. Money can buy and repair one's concrete desires but it cannot repair or renew the emotional surroundings that were once present but were ignored so faded out for good. Mr. Willoughby could relate to this. The characters of "Sense and Sensibility" were looking for the answers to all of their problems in money. They did not realize that they were looking in all the wrong places until they followed their heads and hearts and gained what they were looking for in love. All that they were searching for was happiness and the fortunate ones discovered that money can only buy a higher social status and a grand piano, which can not compare to happiness and love. ...read more.

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