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Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen | Book Review

This very first published novel of Jane Austen is a remarkable peace of work which more or less defines her style of writing that she later on perfected and is celebrated for. Her witty and satiric language describing all the commonplace situations and circumstances with her excellent insight and humour makes the incidents interesting and entertaining to the reader. The setup is the typical Jane Austen with main focus on courtship and engagement of young lovers of different natural dispositions, temperaments, occupations and social status.

Boook : Sense And Sensibility
Author : Jane Austen
Publisher : Ubs Publishers’ Distributors (p) Ltd.-new Delhi (1999)

The story starts with the family of Dashwoods comprising of three sisters Elinor, Marianne, Margaret and their mother put in a difficult financial situation by the death of their father and the family estate of their uncle being entailed on their half brother. Elinor has found an object of admiration in a man called Edward Ferrars, who happens to be the brother of her sister-in-law, Fanny. Fanny is very opposed to the connection and lets Elinor and her mother know that her family would never accept Elinor. However, much to the disappointment of everyone Edward never proposes anything to Elinor before they leave their brother’s house and move in a small cottage away from their home, in vicinity of a distant cousin and start living in a simpler way.

In their new abode, Marianne meets a man called John Willoughby, and they get attracted to each other at once and rapidly their romance is the talk of everyone in their acquaintance. But, Willoughby leaves abruptly without giving any reason and Marianne gives herself up to wallowing his departure and their separation. Their landlord, Sir John Middleton, is a social and kind man who treats them with an extraordinary attention and Elinor observes that one of his friends, Colonel Brandon has taken a liking to Marianne since their first meeting. Colonel Brandon is a sensible man, a bit older to be considered for matrimony and sorrowful because of the events of his past.

Meanwhile, the sisters are introduced to Ms. Lucy Steel and her sister. Lucy soon endeavours to tell Elinor that she has been engaged to Edward Ferrars for last four years. What a blow for Elinor! That too from someone who is artful and ignorant leaving no hope for Edward’s being happy with her ever. But Elinor keeps this secret to herself without showing any outward signs of her suffering.

Elinor and Marianne are invited by their kind friend Mrs. Jennings to spend some days with her in London and accompany her, Elinor with a sense of propriety and Marianne with a hope of meeting Willoughby again. But, Marianne is sadly disappointed by frequently writing to Willoughby without receiving any reply and finally is heartbroken by meeting him and learning that he is getting married to someone else. She gives up everything else and plunges into depths of misery and pain from which none of Elinor’s efforts are able to relieve her.

Lucy also comes to London and contrives to be introduced to Edward’s family and soon becomes their favourite. But as soon as the engagement is made public, Edward’s family throws her out and Edward is also made outcast by her mother for his unwillingness to discontinue his engagement where his honour is secured.

Thus, both the sisters leave London with no hope for their own future, the only difference being, Elinor’s “sense” keeping her sane and careful enough for taking care of herself and her sister and Marianne’s “sensibility” allowing her to cause as much discomfort and pain possible to herself as well as her family finally driving her to her deathbed. What happens next? How would they come out of such a complicated situation? Does Marianne escape her illness alive? What has been the reason of Willoughby’s conduct? Did he ever love Marianne? Who does Edward actually love, Lucy or Elinor?

The story is full of interrelated characters, all routine dispositions and temperaments portrayed with uncommon skill to give the reader an insight of their inner thoughts by their outward conduct. Jane Austen gives us two strong characters in the sisters Elinor and Marianne, personifying her theme by embodiment of sense and sensibility in each relatively, and finally proving that sense and propriety of conduct is essential to keep the sensibility of the disposition and temper in check.

Sense and Sensibility : Full AudioBook on YouTube

Final verdict:

A nice story told in a very witty, humourous, satiric and entertaining way…..Enjoy Reading……….

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