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Jane Austen - Sense and Sensibility

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Introduction

English Literature Katerina Siriou Presentation on Jane Austen's "Sense an Sensibility" Theme: "Class, Society and Politics" Class, society, and politics in the home, on an interpersonal level among the characters, are themes of outmost importance in the novel "Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen. In this short essay, we shall discuss these themes in relation to the characters, as presented in the novel. Austen presents these social conditions throughout the story, as they were dominant in the society of her time. Laws surrounding inheritance, and property, social etiquette, and money matters in a time were gender limitations were very apparent, signified a person's position in the social scale. The Dashwood women, as they appear in "Sense and sensibility", suddenly find themselves in a humiliating situation, when the mother, Mrs. Dashwood, becomes a widow. They were immediately cast into a dire situation. They were deprived of their estate and income when Mr. ...read more.

Middle

By using this relocation theme, Jane Austen could imply their descent from a high social position to a lower one. It seems almost as if the Dashwoods were "expelled" from Norland's "paradise" to Barton Cottage's "hell" merely because of their female nature. In Austen's world, being a woman in a man's world is a harsh, cruel reality. Marriage for status is an issue of great importance in Sense and Sensibility". It was seen as a common way in order to gain status. What is more, it was not seen as a choice, but a necessity. Men would seek status through inheritance and/or a wealthy marriage. Edward Ferrars is a typical example of this type of a man in the story. Women would not only opt for handsome and educated men, but mainly for wealthy ones, like Lucy Steele. Wealthier women were also more likely to be legitimate for marriage depending on the dowries they could offer. ...read more.

Conclusion

Social etiquette, formal code of conduct, and discretion to the point of concealment of one's feelings, are also important features in the novel. Desire for social advancement is also evident. Mrs. John Dashwood, for example, was fast to install herself "mistress of Norland". In the struggle for financial and social power, women appear to act within their own sphere of action: the home. Women like Mrs. J. Dashwood and Mrs. Ferrars, use domestic and financial politics to ensure their control over situations, within and outside their home environment. Financial and domestic politics seem to be the only means women can use to have their own way in the world of the novel. Ironically enough, even though the story is set in a male-dominated society, the male characters possess little power over women like, for example, Mrs. J. Dashwood and Mrs. Smith and Ferrars. In terms of politics in the home environment, it almost seems as if under the surface of a male-dominated society, what is actually going on is beyond what eyes can see. Austen successfully conveys this idea. ...read more.

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