By Jane Austen
© By Lisa Finch
When Jane Austen said, “I think I may boast myself to be with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress…” she did herself a grave injustice.
Sense and Sensibility, published almost 200 years ago, illustrates Austen’s keen perception and skillful writing ability. Although things like custom and style certainly have changed over the years, some truths are eternal. Human beings are complicated when it comes to two things: love and money. This is as true today as it was in 1811.
Sense and Sensibility tells the tale of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Elinor is older, wiser and displays a “coolness of judgement” while her sister Marianne is “generous, amiable, interesting…everything but prudent.” This being the setup, one would expect Elinor to be immune to heartbreak and Marianne to be ruined by it. At one point in the novel, the opposite seems true. The relationship between Elinor and her suitor (Edward Ferrars) seems less promising than the one between Marianne and her suitor (John Willoughby). But Austen keeps the reader wondering…and hoping.
Austen’s mastery of characterization, plot and narrative style draw the reader in so completely that we can almost forget the differences between the world she describes and our own. Sense and Sensibility is a classic novel for a reason: it stands the test of time.
Published in “The Forest Standard”.
January 9, 2003.