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Sense and Sensibility: Elinor & Marianne Essay

Two sisters choose separate paths of how to handle the emotion of their hearts’ deepest desires. One decided to follow their heart and the other was more “sensible”, ignoring their hearts’ pleas. Sense and Sensibility, a wonderful novel written by Jane Austen, presents a specific story of how some went through life struggling because of divided social classes. Money being an immense part of 18th century England, many of the characters had to choose between love and financial stability.

Social classes in 18th century England were a mandatory of everyday life. If someone was extremely wealthy they were considered “upper class”, if someone earned their money & had a normal income they were middle class and if someone was a servant and had a low income they were in the lower class. Since the Dashwoods’ lost their fortune they went from upper class to middle class. Elinor becomes stressed when trying to find a place to live because most f the prices are more than they can afford. But Marianne is worried about all the parties she is missing, the gowns she has to give away, and the gorgeous jewelry she can no longer own.

In this era, money matters. The women with larger dowries are more desirable than the women with smaller dowries or none at all. Elinor is heartbroken about this because Edward is required to marry someone with a large dowry or he will lose his inheritance. Marianne struggles with the issue because she loves John Willoughby, who needs to marry someone wealthy because he has already been disinherited.

The men in this drama have to decide between love and financial stability. Colonel Brandon was giving money to Edward Ferrars so he could marry Lucy Steele, but she changed her mind and married Robert Ferrars, making the money go to Edward so he could marry Elinor like he wanted to. Willoughby was disinherited because he had gambling problems and made a woman pregnant. So he chose money over love and married a wealthy snob instead of Marianne. This saddened Marianne so much that she ran to his mansion from five miles away in the pouring rain and stared at it while she cried.

Brandon went after her and brought her back, she had caught pneumonia but because of his kindness she started to realize what a great guy he was. They spent more┬átime together after she got better and eventually got married. From then on she was content about Willoughby’s choice and said basically “It’s his loss.”Elinor had always been sensible, but found out that everyone needs someone to depend on. Marianne had always been dramatic and romantically selective when it came to men, so she learned that no man fits the ideal description perfectly but some are closer to better attributes than others. In the end, both sisters found it was easier to be a little bit of both qualities: sensible and dramatic.

Works Cited

Sense and Sensibility. Dir. Ang Lee. Perf. Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, and Hugh Grant. DVD. Columbia Pictures Corporation, 1996.


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