• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent is Chapter 1 of Sense and Sensibility a fitting introduction for the novel to come?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent is Chapter 1 of Sense and Sensibility a fitting introduction for the novel to come? In this novel, Austen is setting out rules of conduct for women in a time when England was moving from a period a long stability to sudden and total change. Unless people knew how to behave, she thought, chaos would ensue. England was entering the Industrial Revolution, having just seen the French Revolution and the American War of Independence. A new literary style was sweeping the nation, one to which Austen was much opposed: Romanticism. A dichotomy had arisen from the popularity of Romanticism within the literary groups of the time. It is possible to label these two groups as 'Sense' and 'Sensibility'. (The Gothic style also came about at this time, championed by those who had suddenly discovered freedom [both literary and, in some cases, physical] with the fall of oppressive governments surrounding England - Austen also wrote anti-Gothic novels, like Northanger Abbey.) Austen was definitely in support of 'Sense', which this novel shows so clearly. ...read more.

Middle

And this character is set up within the opening paragraph. Austen's behaviour as author in this chapter almost contradicts Elinor later on. The way the aristocratic Dashwood family interact with each other on human terms is mocked and pulled apart by Austen's scathing irony; these first paragraphs could almost be in defence of sensibility! Relationships are described in contractual terms: no longer is your son family, he is clientele; no longer do you love, you esteem. Family isn't about affection, its about affectation. Appearance and finance are all that matter on the Norland estate, respectability and wealth. People are spoken of in terms of utility and actions are taken for the sole purpose of acquiring wealth. Any affection shown with that is an added bonus, purely accidental and by no means essential to the relationship. There is one sentence at the end of the first paragraph in which are contained almost all of the social morays with which Austen holds qualm, and she makes her qualms clear with her irony and diction: "The constant attention of Mr. ...read more.

Conclusion

Austen is by far the most important character in the book, and her characterisation, therefore, is the most important. It is essential for the reader to know Austen before the reader knows Elinor or Marianne, or else the aim of this book to teach people how to behave would be lost. The fact that Austen seems to be pulling apart the social order whilst Elinor is in whole-hearted support for retaining the social order may seem perplexing, but I think a solution comes if one understands Austen as a person of moderation. She punishes Elinor also (though less harshly than Marianne) for being too restrained. In so many passages in the book there is an awful feeling of imprisonment on the part of Elinor as she is unable to do anything socially unacceptable. Therefore, there is contradiction between Austen and Elinor, but that is because Elinor is not Austen, she is not perfect or correct or a paragon of what Austen believes correct behaviour for a woman. Sense is supported, but room for emotion must be allowed or one is not human, says Austen, but cold and dead. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Jane Austen essays

  1. Polar opposites in 'Sense and Sensibility

    The two sisters handle their absences very differently. Marianne spends the days following Willoughby's departure wallowing in her own misery. She plays his favorite songs on the piano, interrupted only by her tears. Marianne also continues to act irrationally when she feels that it's her obligation not to sleep the night after Willoughby has departed.

  2. An analytical essay on the social context of "A sense & sensibility" by Jane ...

    This is a clear sign of the times, as back then, if you had stepdaughters, it was considered only acceptable to not show any affection to them. The Young Miss dashwoods were therefore reduced to "guests" in their own home, and pressurised to move out.

  1. In what ways does Elizabeth Gaskell (the Author), set the tone for the rest ...

    In a way, this gives the feeling of him being like an object. It can be argued that the message that Gaskell is trying to send out to the reader is if one marries for money, it's almost like treating the other person as an object; using them to get something in return.

  2. Comment on how Jane Austen sets the scene and introduces themes and characters in ...

    Mrs Taylor seems to lack authority for Emma; she is more of a mother figure to her. Mr Woodhouse seems to dislike change in his life and is not a companion for Emma. - "He was a nervous man, easily depressed; fond of every body that he was used to,

  1. Discuss the significance of the chapter titles of the novel in regard to theme ...

    The idea of this is backed up in the book, "It is my earliest recollection: telling he moon lady my secret wish."(65). The Moon Lady is symbolic of hope. In the next chapter, the title is relatively straight forward in its relation to the Content.

  2. What is the dramatic significance of Act 2 to the play as a whole? ...

    But the officials suggest that she is not speaking from her "natural memory" and it is not necessarily the truth. Hale says "that someone conjures you even now to say this." They do not believe her in any case. Elizabeth's realisation that Abigail is set on destroying her causes her to cry out "The girl is a murderer!

  1. Effectiveness of the Tory and Whig Arguments Prior to the American Revolution

    He adds that they will have no support from foreign countries, no military to support their revolutionary cause and no financial resources. These reasons are valid, given that the colonies run on British support. Nevertheless, in terms of validity, Common Sense again is more effective.

  2. Sense and Sensibility.

    In this extract the only time we see both Elinor's and Marianne's reaction to the same situation is during the party. In this part of the extract both Marianne and Elinor see Willoughby and they both realise that Willoughby is ignoring Marianne.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work