The Sense and Marianne by Jane Austen Essay

The Sense and Marianne by Jane Austen Essay

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Elinor Represents the Sense and Marianne the Sensibility of the
Novel’s Title. Discuss.

“She had an excellent heart – her disposition was affectionate and her
feelings were strong, but she knew how to govern them…”

Right from the opening of the novel, the author, Jane Austen, makes it
clear that Elinor, the eldest of the Dashwood sisters, represents the
“Sense” in the title of the novel. Elinor endures some very strong
emotions and, in virtually every situation, unlike most heroines in
novels of that era, she is able to conceal or control them. For this
reason she appears to be a perfect role model for her sister Marianne,
the “Sensibility” of the novel’s title. Austen presents Marianne as
fresh, uninhibited and uncomplicated. We are told,

“Marianne’s abilities were, in many respects quite equal to Elinor’s…
She was generous amiable, interesting…”

But, “She was everything but prudent”.

From this we see that Marianne is ruled entirely by her heart.
However, during the coarse of the novel we see different sides to the
sisters’ personalities making the statement in the essay title only
partly true, as some incidents, most obviously the ironic ending,
reveal to us that some role-reversal can take place.

Elinor, commonly known throughout the novel as Miss Dashwood, was
created by Austen to contrast with the heroines in most novels of the
time, who were over-emotional characters, fainting at the slightest
hint of trouble. Austen makes her heroine a strong, understanding, and
cool figure “… which qualified her, though only nineteen to be the
counsellor of her mother”. Elinor takes over after her father dies so
she has to be strong for the benefit of her mother and sisters. From
this we can clearly s...

... middle of paper ... is a complete turnaround in Marianne’s
character. She is forced to - “… discover the falsehood of her own
opinions and counter act by her conduct, her most favourite maxims.”

Although she does this, there are still glimpses of her old self-

“Marianne could never love by halves, and her whole heart became, in
time, much devoted to her husband as it had once been to Willoughby.”

In conclusion, from what I have examined, the statement of the title
is mostly true. Throughout the novel Elinor and Marianne stick to
their titles “Sense” and “Sensibility”. Elinor always follows what
her mind says whereas Marianne chooses to follow her heart. This is of
course, apart from the ending of the novel, in which Elinor has an
emotional breakdown and acts much like Marianne. However, Marianne
chooses to follow her mind and acts very sensible. This is very

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