• 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 Role of Fear and Obsession on Gothic Literature. It seems within these ...

    to atone for his sins, though futile, are all obviously influenced by his portrait: 'One thing, however, he felt that it had done for him. It had made him conscious how unjust, how cruel, he had been to Sibyl Vane...the portrait...would be a guide to him through life', 'I have done too many dreadful things in life.

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

    She has to continuously battle against this social element in different forms, right from her childhood in the shape of Mr. Brocklehurst's ghastly spiritual understanding, to the time of her residence with the Rivers', when St.John Rivers attempts to force his zest formissionary work upon her.

  1. Oroonoko and characterisation

    This is highlighted through the main events of the text, which are all displayed in front of the masses, and crowds, who react to and comment on whatever Oroonoko says or does. These images and situations where the masses are particularly noted to create and develop the broader framework of

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

    and the fact that she is living in the room later on shows that she was made by "someone".

  1. Discuss the ways in which women are constructed in any two texts on the ...

    what happens if they do not adapt to this changing market and culture. Wharton herself made the transition from a member of aristocratic old New York to an independent woman. She 'made the expected marriage' that ended in divorce.6 It could be argued that Wharton escaped Lily's fate because she broke away from tradition and constructed her own identity.

  2. In what ways and to what end have contemporary women writers appropriated and reworked ...

    The two texts that i am going to discuss with reference to the gothic romance are My Lovers Lover and Fingersmith. The two have striking differences yet both show features of the gothic romance genre. My Lover's Lover by Maggie O'Farrell has many key features of a gothic romantic fiction, yet there are modern changes to some.

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

    Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel ...' (Bront�, 2010, ch.12) This manner of speaking immediately sets Jane apart from the other women in the novel, coupled with the fact that Jane does not 'pair' with any other female: the reader is

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

    state.[53] However, it also mirrors the role played by the Gestapo in Nazi Germany, whom recruited police informers to spy on their neighbours.[54] Therefore, the children, by becoming spies, actually become an extension of the state police apparatus, as they become agents of terror themselves.[55] Furthermore, the fact that most children ?adored the Party? (p.26)

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