Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: Review

Well, I fully intended to finish my reviews of all of Austen’s novels by the end of 2017, but obviously that didn’t happen. Between the holidays and extra hours at work I just didn’t have the time. I woke up on New Years Eve fully intending to power through the last three quarters of the novel in the fiveish free hours I had in the afternoon… only to end up falling asleep after within a page and half. After failing to reach my goal finishing kind fell to the back burner for a while, but this week I finally did it.

To start with the most important point, Edward Ferrars definitely beats out Edmund Bertrum as an Austen Hero. Edward may have made several poor choices, but at least he came to his senses and always stuck to his morals and convictions, which I can’t exactly say for Edmund. Actually Edward reminds me a lot of Fanny Price. His upright character and complete commitment to what he thinks is right even when faced with opposition of his entire family is very much like what Fanny went through in Mansfied Park. Except, of course, that Edward got himself into his own mess through a few very poor choices, where as Fanny never really did anything to deserve her own unfortunate circumstances.

Like Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility focuses around the love affairs of two very close sisters, one of course, Elinor, being the main of the two. The characters of Elinor and Marianne work very well together in the novel. Their vastly different characters excellently set each other off and allow Austen to highlight each girls best characteristics. I love Marianne because she is such an incredible drama queen, but at the same time she has a good heart and good intentions. In certain ways I see similarities between Marianne Dashwood and Lydia Bennet. They’re both girls of very strong feeling with lots of youthful energy to spare. I think the big difference is that Marianne was instilled with a very good education and strong sense of right and wrong, whereas Lydia was mostly left to go her own way.

The two, or rather three, love stories in this novel are of a rather different nature, at least in my mind, than any of Austen’s other romances. To begin with, no other romance is quite so fast, open, and outright passionate as that of Marianne and Willoughby. I wonder if Austen was trying to make a point with that actually, because none of her other romances end quite so disastrously either. Then there’s Elinor and Edward who’s romance is referred to throughout the novel, but there is so little interaction between the characters that the relationship almost feels like a ghost until everything is finally resolved at the end. And, of course, the whole relationship between Marianne and Colonel Brandon pretty much happens within the last five pages.

To be perfectly honest what I enjoyed most about the novel was probably Lucy Steele. Or rather every scene where Lucy tried to get the best of, infuriate, humiliate, degrade, etc. Elinor, because I always loath characters like her who have such an inflated sense of superiority.  So why would I love those scenes, right? I just love the way Elinor handles it all and totally keeps her cool every time, completely secure in the knowledge that all of Lucy’s posturing is just that. It’s incredibly refreshing to read a female character who remains completely sure of herself and stands her ground when confronted with that kind of hostility. Plus, I find real joy in the thought of what Lucy must have gone through when Mrs. Ferrars found out about the whole scandal. And if you’re wondering what the scandal was or why Lucy is so awful to Elinor then I’ve done what I meant to do and you should go read the book right now.

Another solid 5/5. To summarize this and all of my other Jane Austen reviews “Austen rocks and you should totally read her!”