Laura Parkinson (stormfeather) wrote,
Laura Parkinson

Parasha: Sense and Sensibility

Figured I should get this done before diving into a certain epic novel of epic proportions.


It's a bit odd - Austen is usually really good at making characters that aren't *too* anything. Heroes and heroines are "good" but not saccharine and have their faults (Mansfield Park aside), the bad guys have definite faults, fatal ones even, but aren't evil or unwaveringly bad. Incidental characters may be "types," but are usually believable characters.

In this novel though, for some reason, much of that goes out the window. Right at the very start we have an introduction to Mr. and Mrs. Dashwood, the heroines' brother and sister-in-law, who are money-loving, selfish and in the wife's case actively unpleasant, to a fairly ridiculous extent. We're also fairly quickly introduced to the sensitive and romantic Marianne, and to some extent at least her mother, all of whom are more caricatures in some ways than characters. The main heroine Elinor at least is somewhat more balanced, but I find the character balance odd in this book, in general, especially here at the start.

Anyhow, yes, the chapter devoted to showing just how the deathbed promise to Dashwood's father dwindles from 3000 pounds to nothing at all (with added coveting of what they DO have on their own) is, well, pretty silly. But at least it illustrates the characters of the brother and sister-in-law pretty well!

Austen is always pretty good though at illustrating a character through dialogue. For instance here, in one dialogue between Marianne and her mother on the subject of Elinor and Edward, we learn that Elinor draws and is steadier, while Marianne is passionate and loves music and reading, which would seem to have no bearing on the matter at hand. We also at least soon see that while Marianne can be carried pretty far by her passions, she still retains love for her sister (despite the sister not sharing her extremes of emotion), and knows how to curb herself to some extent, to be polite and thoughtful of others' feelings.

It is a bit odd to think of people stooping to relative poverty (or at least a marked decline in prosperity) that have three servants to wait on them, but oh well, that's changing times for you.

Period note: "Sense" and "Sensibility" may mean something pretty similar in our day, or at least complimentary to each other, but at the time, "sensibility" meant more along the lines of emotion - in other words, the title refers to the sense, or logical mind of Elinor, compared to the more emotional, romantic Marianne.

The schedule for the remainder of the book can be found here. If anyone wants a spoiler section as well, speak up, and I can add one!
Tags: books, parasha, parasha_sense_sensibility
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic
    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.