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

Sense and sensibility in 'Howard's End' and 'Sense and Sensibility'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Word Count: 1,243 Today we may not all find such terms as 'manners', 'propriety', 'utility', 'decorum', 'sense', 'reason', 'nature', 'taste', 'elegance', 'sensibility', 'improvement', either attractive in themselves, or self-evident in their meaning; yet we cannot but be impressed when we consider what a continuous, concerted, and controlled effort must have been needed to establish them as effective key words of a society for so long. Taking one or more of the above 'key words' attempt to define them according to their C18th/early C19th meaning and then discuss these words and the qualities they represent in one or more novels of the period. According to eighteenth century and early nineteenth century society, the words 'sense' and 'sensibility' were thought to be important qualities when assessing a person's character. 'Sense' is associated with masculinity and refers to rationality and practical intelligence. 'Sensibility' on the other hand, is more affiliated with femininity and indicates an emotionally influenced mind. In Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, both personality traits are explored through the characterisation of the Dashwood sisters as well as Edward Ferrars and Colonel Brandon. These qualities are portrayed in a positive light as both heroines of the novel are sympathetic characters. One could argue that Elinor represents 'sense' whilst Marianne represents 'sensibility'. ...read more.

Middle

However, this practical intelligence is shown in a positive light through Elinor, the heroine. The story of the novel is told through her eyes and she embodies all of Austen's ideal qualities in a woman: she is patient, good looking and possesses a strong and realistic mind. Those who can appreciate her good nature admire her, but the more shallow characters such as Fanny Dashwood and Lady Middleton envy her. Elinor's character is best shown through her distress when she discovers that Edward is engaged to Lucy. She does not envy Lucy, but instead is sad that Edward has 'not even the chance of being tolerably happy in marriage' (Austen 145). Elinor is able to analyse situations thoroughly before casting judgement, showing that she favours 'sense' over 'sensibility'. When Elinor reveals Edward and Lucy's engagement to Marianne, Marianne is shocked, exclaiming, 'So calm! So cheerful! How have you been supported?' and Elinor explains that she managed 'By feeling that [she] was doing [her] duty'. Elinor's selflessness can be seen when she says, 'I did not only love him; - and while the comfort of others was dear to me, I was glad to spare them from knowing how much I felt. Now, I can think and speak of it with little emotion.' ...read more.

Conclusion

By the end of Sense and Sensibility the Dashwood sisters have found the right balance of 'sense' and 'sensibility' to be happy in marriage. Elinor marries Edward, a male representative of 'sensibility' and we can see this from how morally responsible he feels and how self sacrificing he is concerning Lucy. However, Edward's 'sensibility' conforms to the constraints of his society, showing that he has the right balance of 'sense' and 'sensibility'. Marianne marries the male representative of 'sense', Colonel Brandon. Many believe this union acts as a punishment for Marianne having behaved inappropriately earlier on with Willoughby. This is shown when Willoughby tells Marianne, 'There are some people who cannot bear a party of pleasure. Brandon is one of them.' (Austen 62) However, in my opinion, though Brandon may at first appear dull, he is arguably the most romantic character in Sense and Sensibility. He falls in love with Marianne at first sight, partially due to her resemblance to the love of his life, who married his brother and whose daughter was treated appallingly by Willoughby. Brandon shows his 'sensibility' and concern for Marianne when he says that Marianne and Eliza's 'fortunes cannot be the same' (Austen 201). Marianne and Elinor learn from their husbands and one another, the importance of balance between 'sense' and 'sensibility' in the society which they belong to and how to articulate sentiment whilst remaining dignified. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Literary Criticism 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 University Degree Literary Criticism essays

  1. The distrust between two sexes.

    other job are meaningless, the child will be drawn his way unwillingly and maybe he will not choose the best job for him. Childhood conflicts may affect the relationship to the opposite sex in later life For example we can say that a the little girl wo was badly hurt

  2. Critical appraisal 1: "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    The story is trying to say that you cannot properly over throw it as it is bigger and more powerful. Without society we would become similar to the narrator, uncivilized and doing what we want. She over came the society within her life causing her to become insane.

  1. Discuss how "Jane Eyre" and the works of Robert Browning subvert gender stereotypes.

    When the two meet for the first time, she effectively 'rescues' him, challenging the traditional male-driven monomyth. As their first encounter is seen to be subverting gender stereotypes, the reader sees that the relationship which follows will not conform entirely to traditional romantic conventions.

  2. How do "Frankenstein" and "Another Country" articulate the experience of the outsider?

    So, as Victor gradually becomes aware that the creature he forged is in fact a being capable of reason and worthy of sympathy, so too does the reader. This narrative style is effective in allowing the reader to fully grasp the respective experience of the outsider that Victor and his creature have.

  1. Discuss how the novel Jane Eyre explores and criticises social hierarchy and gender relations ...

    Yet, as paid employees, they were more or less treated as servants; thus, Jane remains penniless and powerless while at Thornfield. Jane's understanding of the double standard crystallizes when she becomes aware of her feelings for Rochester; she is his intellectual, but not his social, equal.Jane herself speaks out against class prejudice at certain moments in the book.

  2. Free essay

    Appearance vs reality in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Pride and Prejudice by ...

    was everything To make us wish that we were in his place." (Robinson, 11-12). saying that on the outside it appears that everyone wants what he has and wants to look like he looks. In reality however Richard Cory apparently was a miserable man.

  1. Specters of Totalitarianism: Representations of Power and Control in Twentieth Century Dystopian Fiction ...

    As a result, resistance is still present. Chapter 3 ?Winning Hearts and Minds?? Representations of Indoctrination and Propaganda as a tools of control in Dystopian Fiction Another way that dictatorships in dystopian fiction exercise control over its citizens , is through indoctrination and propaganda. Indoctrination is defined as a method used by dictatorships to inculcate values and

  2. From Hobbit to Hero- Frodo's Quest as an Examplary Monomyth

    she represent the Cosmic Mother that protects the hero. On his adventure Frodo meets up with different helpers and requires their help on numerous occasions, not only on his departure . Frodo has not even left the Shire, when he has to face danger for the first time being pursued by Black Riders.

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