16.9.09

Sense and Sensibility


I have been told often and much of the merits of the Jane Austen books, of their delicate femininity and beauty. So at last, I decided that I wanted to see if the reports were true. I bought Sense and Sensibilty .

The story is about the Dashwood sisters, their romances and their follies. Elinor, the eldest, is a wise girl, more level-headed than any of the rest of her family. Marianne is a few years younger, with a intense and loving heart. They live in the perfect setting for timeless romance: an English cottage in the beautiful and quaint English countryside of rolling hills, downs and dew. Now that I have got that in your head, dear reader, here are the romances. Elinor, who is cautious to a fault, though not wholly without heart, has found herself falling hesitantly in love with Edward Ferrars, an equally quiet young man. Though no real, legal attatchement occurs, everybody, even Elinor, are sure of the impending marriage of the two. For Marianne’s part, she falls passionately in love with the handsome and heroic John Willoughby, and it seems that he truly loves her in return. The two girls’s story is full of twists and turns, unexpected incidents and rivalry.
I was simply not expecting a lesson in the wisdom of courtship from this book, but there was one, and that surprised me quite a lot. Although it is not overt, the "moral" (if you must picture me as Mary Bennet, you must) is that a wise mentor to help guide you through the most important decision of your life is most definitely not to be scoffed at. The Dashwood sisters had no wise person to counsel them as to their courtships, the only interested, qualified people in their lives were just as impressionable and gullible as themselves. This made me realize that because not everybody is going to have a wise person to counsel them, having one should truly be counted as a blessing.

This book was Jane Austen's first novel, and as such I found that it often had trouble moving forward. Especially in comparison to Pride and Prejudice (which Austen herself called "her own darling child"). It tends to feel as if it is dragging in some places. However, this does not take away from the overall slendidly colorful portrait of regency England.

5 comments:

Lisa said...

I love all of Jane Austen's work and agree that "S&S" is a little more draggy than "P&P", but it's still one of my favorites. If you haven't seen it yet, the film starring Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson is excellent. It captures the best of the book by cutting a couple of people who really did nothing to move the plot forward, and at the same time enriching the emotions expressed by all of the characters. Sorry, I know this is a book review, not a film review, but I found that the film helped me to appreciate the nuances of the book that got a little lost in some of the more tedious passages.

Lucie Manette said...

I definitely hope to see that movie soon..my mother said that it was really very nice. No matter what people say, I have found that sometimes movie adaptations are helpful in explaining those parts. ;D

Marian said...

Good review!! You did a great job of describing the plot without spoilers. =) Interesting what you said about the book being slow in places. I read the 6 famous Austen books pretty much one after the other; I don't really remember what the pace was like, but after reading them, I did think they were rather boring reads, with a probable exception being Emma, which I especially liked. The S&S movie is really good, and the new BBC movie is good too (but the very first scene is inappropriate, I've heard, so be ready with the remote. I've only seen this version on TV, and both times missed the first quarter or more of the first episode)

Lucie Manette said...

Thanks for the warning about the BBC movie, Marian.

Oh, and thanks for the assurance that it wasn't a spoiler...I'm always really nervous about that! ;)

Abigail J. H. said...

It took me three tries to get into "Sense and Sensibility," but when I did I enjoyed it very much. I especially liked the way Austen contrasted the characters of the sisters, with Marianne's flightiness and Elinor's sense. I love all her works and I find it very hard to pick favourites, but I think "Sense and Sensibility" is pretty high up there. But then, "Mansfield Park" is my second favourite of her novels, and that is not generally one that readers care for.

I've only seen the 1995 version (Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson), but I liked it very much. I actually saw it before I read the book, but it was quite accurate.