Sense and Sensibility
Elinor and Marianne are two daughters of Mr. Dashwood by his second wife. They have a younger sister, Margaret, and an older half-brother named John. When their father dies, the family estate passes to John and the Dashwood women are left in reduced circumstances. Fortunately, a distant relative offers to rent the women a cottage on his property. The novel follows the Dashwood sisters to their new home, where they experience both romance and heartbreak. (From feedbooks.com)
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Jane Austen (1775-1817) is one of the most widely read novelists in English Literature. Austen's novels are romantic and comedic while also dealing with issues of gender and class. (This annotation contains an image)
The exposition of the text is important for many reasons: it will help you understand the familial relationships throughout the text, it will help you understand the economic status of the characters, and finally it will help you understand the author's commentary about women and marriage in the nineteenth century. To review the elements of plot, please click on the link below. (This annotation contains a video)
Mr. John Dashwood "was not an ill-disposed young man," but had selfish tendencies. He would adhere to his father's final wishes and take care of his step-mother and sisters. However, who does the narrator intimate may influence his decision?
During this time in England, all land and property was always bequeathed to sons. Wives and daughters could not inherit estates. It may be difficult to comprehend, but once Mr. John Dashwood inherits the estate of his father, his wife becomes the "mistress" of the home and can dictate who resides there. Though her mother-in-law was the mistress of the home previously, she has no legal claim or right to the land or home. The idea of home and searching for a home is a reoccurring motif in the text. For a clear definition of motif, click on the video below. (This annotation contains a video)
When Mr. and Mrs. John Dashwood discuss how much of an inheritance his sisters and step-mother shall receive, Mrs. Dashwood says, "There is no knowing what THEY may expect." What is Mrs. Dashwood's tone as she speaks about Mr. Dashwood's family?
The author uses capital letters instead of italics to indicate an emphasis on certain words. Read the highlighted passage aloud with the appropriate emphasis and answer the question below.
As the author introduces characters, she is carefully creates a world with very few dynamic or round characters. Mrs. John Dashwood is an archetype or representation of an element of a persona; she is selfish and manipulates her husband because she does not like her in-laws. Her dislike is based on her perception of them as a lower social class and economic class. In reality, they are all middle class. For a more in-depth definition of archetype, click on the link below. (This annotation contains a link)
Based on the highlighted passage, what does Mrs. Dashwood believe her stepson will do?
The dialogue between Elinor and her mother about Edward reveals that Elinor believes Edward is nothing like his sister. Elinor states, "it implies everything amiable." Secondly, the dialogue illustrates her mother's tendency to allow indulge her emotions. Elinor contends that her mother "will like" Edward, to which her mother replies, "I feel no sentiment of approbation inferior to love." This illustrates the central difference between Elinor who symbolizes "sense" or logic and reason versus Marianne (and their mother) who symbolize "sensibility" or emotions.
While discussing Edward, Elinor expresses to Marianne that she hopes Marianne approves of him. Elinor then concludes that Marianne must like him to some degrees because if she didn't, "I am sure you could never be civil to him." What does this imply about Marianne's character?
Elinor and Marianne are the protagonists of the text. They are also foils. A foil is a pairing of characters that are purposely created to contrast one another in order to help emphasize particular personality traits of each character. In this case, Elinor's logic, reason, and sense are contrasted with Marianne's emotions, reactiveness, and sensibility.
What is the catalyst that convinces Mrs. Dashwood that she and her daughters must leave Norland at once?
The conflict between Mrs. John Dashwood and Elinor helps to develop the theme of marriage and social class and wealth. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, marriages were viewed as an economic and social contract; the idea of simply marrying for love was not acceptable. Women sought to better their positions and lives and men sought women who may augment their wealth and compliment their family's social status. As you read the text, consider what the author's perspective of marriage as a social contract. Click on the link below to read more about the social status of women in nineteenth century England. You may be surprised about how the laws limited the rights of women. (This annotation contains a link)
How has Mrs. Dashwood's perspective of her stepson changed over the past six months?
Though the text is set at a time of upheaval in England (during this time in history, England is warring with Napoleon of France), you would never know it based on the exposition. Like many of Austen's texts, she focuses on an insular element of people and community. They are primarily middle class and reside in the countryside. Though the author addresses social hierarchy and economic class, she does not address the widespread political issues. Why do you think she avoids writing about the greater political topics?
Based on the narrator's description of Sir John and Lady Middleton, they seem to be opposites in many ways with the exception of which of the following characteristics?
It is important to write down and keep track of the characters in the text. It is also important to note how they are connected or related. The protagonists are Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Their mother is Mrs. Dashwood. Their brother is John Dashwood and his wife is Fanny also referred to as Mrs. John Dashwood. Sir John Middleton and Lady Middleton are cousins of Mrs. Dashwood. Mrs. Jennings in Lady Middleton's mother. Finally Colonel Brandon is simply a friend of Sir John.
Mrs. Jennings' character is important because she symbolizes the societal push for all women to find husbands. The author presents this determination as if it is a job of a young woman (meaning late teens) to find a man before she becomes old, ugly, or too poor to afford a dowry.
When Marianne describes a woman of "seven and twenty" marrying, she believes that a woman who marries at that age would be marrying for convenience rather than love and deems it a "commercial exchange." What does this scene reveal about the theme of marriage?
Though Mrs. Dashwood does not actively seek a mate for her middle daughter Marianne, Marianne literally stumbles upon a young, handsome, and eligible bachelor. As the relationship between Marianne and Willoughby develops, consider how their relationship develops the emerging theme of dreams and schemes. What do the characters dream will happen versus practical plans that must be implemented for the women to survive in this society?
Based on Sir John's account, Willoughby is a "as good a kind of fellow as ever lived." What is the problem with this characterization?
Sir John implies that once Marianne saw Willoughby she "set her cap at the man" or decided to pursue him. Marianne takes offense to this, but Sir John doesn't understand her remark. This dialogue develops the themes of marriage and love in the text.
Based on the narrator's description of Willoughby's impression of Marianne, you can infer that judgements about a woman's character were typically based on which element?
Though Willoughby seems to be an ideal match for Marianne, Elinor cannot help but dislike him on some level. The narrator attributes Elinor's dislike to Willoughby's "want of caution." Do you like or dislike Willoughby's character? Would you trust him?
Which conflict is revealed in the dialogue between Willougby, Marianne, and Elinor?
During the Victorian Era, social norms dictated that men and women were not to be overtly affectionate. When the narrator states that Elinor wished that Marianne and Willoughby would be "less open" about their attachment, this reflects both her character and the social expectations of the time.
Based on Elinor's observations, compare and contrast Colonel Brandon and Willoughby. Use specific textual evidence to support your response.
Colonel Brandon admits very little about his past and Elinor respects his privacy. The narrator is quick to point out that "Marianne, in [Elinor's] place, would not have done so little." This is another example of how the sisters are foils to one another.
Willoughby offers Marianne the gift of a horse and she accepts without concern about the expense of housing and caring for the animal. What does this reveal about Marianne's character?
The narrator notes that Willoughby addresses Marianne by her "Christian name alone" and does not refer to her as Miss Dashwood. This indicates they are in a relationship. The relationship between Marianne and Willoughby helps to develop the theme of love. In many of Austen's texts, she explores love from a woman's perspective. She does not simply present love as something that happens at "first sight." Many critics consider this text a satire of the sentimental genre of literature. The sentimental genre was popular in the eighteenth century. It is characterized by the characters' emotional states and elicits an emotional response from the reader. It usually has a "happy ending" that reflects a positive view of humanity. To understand satire, please view the video below. (This annotation contains a video)
Mrs. Jennings presses Margaret to reveal whom Elinor admires, Marianne interjects and denies that such a man exists. Why does Marianne deny that Elinor has a man that she admires?
At this point in the text, you are still learning background information about some of the characters and some conflicts have been introduced. This is the rising action of the text. More characters will be introduced and there will be antagonists introduced throughout the text as well. The first antagonist to Elinor and Marianne that was introduced in the first few chapters is Mrs. John Dashwood. Most of the antagonists in the story are considered antagonists because their perspectives about marriage and class differ from Elinor and Marianne's.
Based on what you know about Colonel Brandon, what business do you think he must attend to and miss the trip with the rest of the group? Do you believe that Colonel Brandon is honest or do you think he purposely avoids the trip (as intimated by Willoughby)? Use textual evidence to support your response.
Mrs. Jennings' character is essential to provide details that the other characters may not reveal. She is bold, a gossip, and bucks the standard conventions for how women should behave or speak. Though she annoys Marianne and Elinor initially, they will admire her more as the plot develops.
Mrs. Jennings discovers that Marianne and Willoughby left the group earlier in the day in order to visit a home owned by a relative of Willoughby. Mrs. Jennings says to Marianne, "I hope you like your house, Miss Marianne." In what tone is this statement said?
The dialogue between Elinor and Marianne about whether or not Marianne behaved appropriately by going to see Mrs. Smith's home with Willoughby is a prime example of Elinor's "sense" and Marianne's "sensibility." This also helps to develop the theme of women in the text. Though there are many societal constraints and expectations placed on women to appear perfect, none of Austen's female characters behave or think appropriately all of the time.
Mrs. Jennings believes that Miss Williams is the source of Colonel Brandon's "melancholy" and necessity to return to town so suddenly. What does Mrs. Jennings believe is the relationship between Miss Williams and Colonel Brandon?
Throughout the text, the author develops the motif of communication and miscommunication. As you read, consider which theme or themes this motif helps develop?
Which term best describes Mrs. Dashwood's feelings about Willoughby?
Willoughby is a character that is easy to like. He is infatuated with Marianne, Mrs. Dashwood admires him, and he has a promising future. Although the future for Marianne and Willoughby seems to be fulfilled, we are only in the rising action of the text. You must ask yourself: what will go wrong? What is wrong with Willoughby?
After Willoughby leaves unexpectedly and unexplainably, the narrator states, "Elinor's uneasiness was at least equal to her mother's." Why is this out of character for Elinor?
Mrs. Dashwood can only surmise why Willoughby must leave them so suddenly. She believes that his aunt, Mrs. Smith, may not approve of Marianne. This scenario illustrates the themes of marriage and social class and wealth.
Elinor admits that she has no doubt that Marianne and Willoughby are attracted to one another, but she wants proof that they are engaged. What does this illustrate about Elinor's character?
Elinor is suspicious of Willoughby because of his sudden exit. This may seem like a typical reaction by today's conventions, but Mrs. Dashwood's reaction is more typical of nineteenth century standards. She bases her belief on what she infers from Marianne and Willoughby's behavior. This illustrates the motif of communication and miscommunication.
Which term best describes Marianne's character after Willoughby's departure?
Some critics believe that this text is a bridge between the Age of Enlightenment of the eighteenth century and the Romantic movement of the nineteenth century. Click on the link below to see a chart that compares the two ideas. (This annotation contains a link)
Marianne is both happy and upset by Edward's visit for all of the following reasons except
It is ironic that both sisters are experience a similar situation: they both feel dejected by their relationships with their crushes. It is important to note that Elinor internalizes her sadness and confusion while Marianne externalizes her emotions and does not conceal how she feels. Why do you think Elinor chooses not to share her reaction?
Though it is evident that Edward is happy to see the Dashwoods, he is also "not in spirits." What does that mean? What do you believe is the source of his melancholy? Use textual evidence to support your response.
The dialogue between Edward, Marianne, and Elinor illustrates how the ideas of wealth and marriage are connected and a concern for both men and women. Women are concerned about a dowry and then a secure financial future, and men are concerned with providing that future and, in some cases, finding a woman who can contribute some wealth to the relationship.
Which theme is illustrated by the dialogue between Marianne and Elinor about judging a person's character?
The narrator is not omniscient, so readers are only given information about the characters through a limited perspective. We know that Edward is unhappy and not like himself, but we are not told what is the source of his unhappiness. Based on the emerging themes and motifs, what do you think is the source of his despondency?
Edward is wearing a ring with a lock of hair held inside it. Based on the women's reactions and questions, what do you think the lock of hair symbolizes?
Edward teases Marianne as if she were her a younger sister. His jests illustrate how Marianne's sensibility dictates her actions.
According to the narrator, what is the source of the conflict between Mrs. Ferrars and her son Edward?
Although Elinor is characterized by her reliance on logic and reason, that does not alleviate her from feeling emotions. What does the highlighted passage illustrate about the theme of women?
When Sir John introduces Elinor to the Palmers, he asks Elinor how she likes them and proceeds to describe Charlotte as "very pretty." What does this imply about the relationship between outward appearance and character?
When Mrs. Jennings explains that her daughter "expects to be confined in February" she means that her daughter is pregnant and due in February.
Mrs. Palmer constantly refers to her husband as "droll." Based on the context of the term, "droll" most nearly means
Charlotte refers to her husband as "droll," but his comments are not amusing or meant to be funny; he is rude to his company. What do you think this reveals about Charlotte's character? Do you think she really thinks her husband is funny or is she too ignorant to understand his rudeness? Is she trying to make excuses for his poor manners? Below is a clip that compiles the humorously rude lines spoken by Mr. Palmer. (This annotation contains a video)
What do Elinor's questions about Willoughby and his whereabouts suggest?
Based on the highlighted passage, what evidence does Mrs. Palmer give that Willoughby is a man of virtue? What evidence does she give to demonstrate how well acquainted she is with Willoughby?
Based on your knowledge of the genre of the text, the author's style, and the historical context, what tone is the highlighted passage written in?
Read the highlighted passage carefully and use the "define" feature to define words like "foibles," "rapacious," and "credulous." What does narrator imply about Lady Middleton's cousins and their intentions? The narrator also notes that Lady Middleton does not distrust her cousins' intentions because of the attention and praise they adorn her children with. What does this imply about Lady Middleton?
From what you have read thus far about Lucy Steele and based on her dialogue with Elinor, do you trust Lucy? What do you think her intentions are while visiting her cousin?
The visiting Miss Steeles are overly concerned with finding suitable mates and concerned with the other eligible women finding mates. They are stereotypical characters in this way and one-dimensional. They help to develop the theme of women in the text because they symbolize a single facet of a woman's character; they also develop the theme of marriage in the text because they view marriage as a social contract and a means of supplanting their current status with a higher one.
Which theme is illustrated by the highlighted passage?
It is implied at the end of Chapter 21 that Lucy is aware of a possible connection between Elinor and Edward. Shortly thereafter, Lucy chooses to reveal to Elinor that she and Edward have been secretly involved for four years. This shocking surprise develops the motif of rivalry in the text. What other rivals can you recall?
When Lucy reveals that Edward is her fiancé, why doesn't Elinor reveal her feelings for Edward and their relationship?
If you don't entirely trust Lucy, than your instincts are correct. Although she is honest in her claims that she and Edward are secretly engaged, all of the other information she provides is subject to questions.
Elinor believes that Edward and Lucy are engaged, but which excerpt from the text suggests that Elinor does not believe that Edward loves Lucy?
Elinor decides not to tell her mother and sisters about her emotional distress because she believes that it will make her more upset and sad. To her family and those around her, Elinor's outward appearance suggests that she is simply too logical and reasonable to be upset. This is an example of which literary device?
Below is a rendition of women from the nineteenth century passing time in the drawing room. Most middle class women did not work; it was their job to be a good mother, wife, and hostess. (This annotation contains an image)
Lucy and Elinor's relationship illustrates the motif of rivalry. What characterizes the two women as rivals?
Lucy explains why she and Edward aren't married already: Edward's mother Mrs. Ferrars would disinherit him. This illustrates the themes of marriage and social class and wealth. Marriages were often used as means of augmenting a person's wealth and status. Do you think that this still occurs today? Or do you think people primarily marry for love and happiness?
Why does Lucy ask for Elinor's advice about her engagement to Edward? Does Elinor oblige her? Use textual evidence to support your response.
It is not atypical for a people in the nineteenth century to spend their summers in a house in the country and their winters in a more urban dwelling. People could more easily get around in the winter in a town than a more secluded house in the countryside.
Why does Marianne want to spend the winter in town as Mrs. Jennings' guest?
The bond between the sisters is one of the strongest in the text. Elinor does not wish to go to town for the winter but agrees to go because she wants her sister to be happy again. This helps to develop the theme of women. Though some of the women in the text are self-centered and competitive, Marianne and Elinor demonstrate how supportive and loving women can be towards one another.
What does the narrator imply is the source of Marianne's rudeness to their hostess Mrs. Jennings?
The author continually compares Colonel Brandon and Willoughby either directly through other characters' comments or indirectly as in this scene when Marianne expects Willoughby to walk through the door to find Colonel Brandon. This illustrates the motif of rivalry.
Compare and contrast Willoughby and Colonel Brandon. Use textual evidence to support your characterization of the men. Remember that characterization may be direct or indirect. Indirect characterization is when something about a character's persona may be inferred based on the character's actions, thoughts, or spoken word.
Elinor is very concerned about the relationship between her sister and Willoughby. She is concerned about her sister's feelings; she does not want Marianne's heart to be broken. She is also concerned about Marianne's reputation. It is not customary for women to "date" a man in the modern sense of word. Men and women in the nineteenth century courted with the intention to marry. If Willoughby has no intentions of marrying Marianne, then her reputation may be tarnished.
Marianne is hopeful that Willoughby is still in the countryside hunting. She is anxious, nervous, and excited at the promise of seeing him again. Her feelings illustrate which of the following themes?
Elinor believes that Colonel Brandon's sadness is a result of his growing yet unrequited love for Marianne. What else could be the reason for his despondency?
Willoughby was invited by Sir John to the party that evening, but he did not attend. Based on the declined invitation and the lack of response to Marianne's letters, what can you infer about Willoughby's feelings for Marianne?
Colonel Brandon's belief that Marianne and Willoughby are engaged is a prime example of the communication and miscommunication motif. Though neither Marianne or Willoughby have announced an engagement, rumors are spreading based on their behavior. How would you feel if everyone believed that you and your boyfriend or girlfriend were in love, and then you found out he or she cheated on you? Aside from the anger and hurt you would feel, would your feelings be augmented everyone believing you were in love? Would you also feel embarrassed?
Which term best describes the mood between Elinor, Marianne, and Willoughby when he sees and then approaches them at the dance?
Though Marianne is characterized as emotional and reactive, she listens to her sister when she advises her not to approach and question Willoughby about his behavior. This text is also considered to be a novel of manners. In this genre, the characters are differentiated by how far they deviate from the accepted conventions or standards for behavior. In order for Marianne to be characterized as a "good" woman, she cannot make a scene and must reserve her reaction for a private setting.
When Elinor begins to ask Marianne about her relationship with Willoughby, Marianne directs her, "ask nothing; you will soon know all." What does this imply about the contents of Marianne's letter?
Mrs. Jennings cannot believe how in love Marianne is and that she is not engaged or married because she is so beautiful. Mrs. Jennings reaction highlights the emphasis placed on a woman's appearance in the nineteenth century. Much of her value or worth was connected to her looks.
The novel was originally written in the epistolary form. This is a novel written in letters. This form allows the characters to each speak from the first person perspective, reveal details about their motives, and is usually considered sentimental because the plot is perpetuated by emotions rather than action. While Austen did not maintain this format, she did include letters within the text. Below is a clip of this scene from the film version starring Kate Winslet as Marianne. (This annotation contains a video)
What is ironic about Marianne's claim, "YOU cannot have an idea of what I suffer"?
Marianne's letters reveal her personal thoughts that are only meant for Willoughby. Though the style is more formal than contemporary letters, it would be as if you allowed someone to read private texts between you and your boyfriend or girlfriend. It makes you vulnerable.
The narrator characterizes the letters as "full of affection and confidence." Based on this description, which term best describes Marianne's feelings after receiving Willoughby's letter?
Marianne cannot believe that Willoughby could deny ever having feelings for her. Can you relate to Marianne's feelings?
What motif does the highlighted passage illustrate?
Willoughby's engagement to Miss Grey exemplifies the theme of marriage. It it evident that Willoughby is using marriage to increase or augment his wealth. Though Willoughby is not characterized as poor and his aunt is supposed to leave him a sizable estate, it is not a coincidence that he is marrying a wealthy woman.
Elinor asks that none of Marianne's acquaintances mention Willoughby in Marianne's presence. Which adage best describes Elinor's approach to helping Marianne heal?
The author is commenting on the societal expectation that a woman can heal a broken heart only by finding another love through Elinor's character's comments. She assures Mrs. Jennings that they will "put Willoughby out of" Marianne's head without the Colonel's loving advancements.
Colonel Brandon's interjected statement, "but Willoughby is capable - at least I think" implies that
The narrator explains that Marianne feels on some level she is to blame for trusting Willoughby and assuming his intentions to marry her because she "judged of [other peoples'] motives by the immediate effect of their actions on herself."
When Colonel Brandon arrives at Mrs. Jennings' home unexpectedly, why does Marianne say, "We are never safe from HIM"?
The story that Colonel Brandon relates to Elinor is important because it reveals the source of the conflict between Colonel Brandon and Willoughby. You are also able to understand the character of both men based on the events that transpired between them.
What does Colonel Brandon imply about the woman he loved after her brother divorced her?
The story of Colonel Brandon's niece is important because it serves a purpose in the plot: it gives cause to the conflict between Brandon and Willoughby and reveals elements of their characters. It is also important because it is a social commentary. Because Colonel Brandon's love was divorced from her husband, she lost all social and economic rank. Women were not afforded many rights in nineteenth century England and did not have many opportunities to support themselves. Illegal activities were usually their only resort.
What does the highlighted passage imply about the meeting between Colonel Brandon and Willoughby?
How do you think Elinor expected Marianne to react when she heard the news about Willoughby fathering an illegitimate child? How does this contrast to Marianne's reaction?
Marianne obeys her mother and agrees to stay in town even though she is sad and dejected. She believes that staying in town may also "bring good to her sister" and she hopes Elinor may be able to see Edward. What is Marianne not aware of?
Why was Elinor pleased to see Lady Middleton on this occasion?
The best term to describe Elinor and Lucy is "frienemies." They are not friends; they are rivals for the same man. They do not openly dislike one another, but there is always tension in the room when the women are together.
Based on the dialogue between Miss Steele and Mrs. Jennings, the following statement, "What a charming thing it is that Mrs. Dashwood can spare you both for so long a time together" is an example of which literary device?
Mr. John Dashwood is not an attentive brother. He has been in town for two days and has yet to check in with his sisters. Why do you think he does not maintain a good relationship with his sisters? What terms would you use to characterize him?
What is ironic about John Dashwood's remark, "I wish with all my heart [the amount of Colonel Brandon's fortune] were TWICE as much, for your sake"?
The dialogue between Elinor and her brother reveals that John is spending more money than he should in order to maintain the appearance of wealth. This is another commentary by the author about social class and wealth and helps to develop this theme.
John Dashwood believes that Mrs. Jennings is wealthy and will leave an inheritance to his sisters because Mrs. Jennings' "daughters are both exceedingly well married." What do you think his advice to Elinor will be?
Mr. Dashwood is excited to return to his wife and schedule a visit to see his sisters because of the acquaintances his sisters have made. This further develops the theme of social class and wealth.
How does the author contrast Edward's relationship with Elinor and Willoughby's relationship with Marianne? What can you infer about the relationship between Edward and Elinor based on the contrasts? Use textual evidence to support your response.
Austin uses imagery to create a scene where Elinor and Lucy are both presented to Mrs. Ferrars at the same time. Which motif does this exemplify?
The scene where Elinor and Marianne both offend Mrs. Ferrars and Fanny by not agreeing that Fanny's son is a "better" child than Lady Middleton's son is meant to be comical. It illustrates the emphasis that some people place on the silliest things.
After defending her sister's art, Marianne is characterized as audacious. Which term is an appropriate synonym for audacious?
The highlighted passage is evidence of which element of Elinor's character?
The dialogue between Elinor and Lucy after meeting Mrs. Ferrars is a perfect example of "frienemies." Lucy cannot help but be happy that Mrs. Ferrars disliked Elinor so much and as a result did not completely hate Lucy.
When Edward arrives at Mrs. Jennings' home, who is there?
Lucy is aware that Marianne is heartbroken over the situation with Willoughby, yet in order to hurt Marianne due to Lucy's feelings of jealousy, she says to Marianne, "you think young men never stand upon engagements, if they have no mind to keep them, little as well as great." This exemplifies Lucy's character and helps to characterize her as an antagonist in the text.
When Mrs. Jennings' daughter has her baby, Mrs. Jennings spends a great deal of time with her daughter and new grandchild. Because Elinor and Marianne are young and single, it is not appropriate for them to stay home alone. They are then sent to spend their days with Lady Middleton and the two Miss Steeles. What does the narrator imply about this arrangement?
The narrator offers additional evidence to illustrate the conflict between Mrs. John Dashwood and the Miss Dashwoods: they are all invited to the same party because the host believes they reside together. This demonstrates how Mrs. John Dashwood does not want to be associated with the Miss Dashwoods on any level.
Based on the narrator's description of Robert Ferrars when he purchased the toothpick case, and Lucy's description of him as a "coxcomb," which term best characterizes Edward's younger brother?
Robert Ferrars is described as a coxcomb, which is a term to describe the cap of a court jester and is also a term to describe a man who is overly concerned with his appearance. While in Gray's shop, Robert spends a great deal of time designing an elaborate toothpick case. He brags about his ability to arrange a small cottage to outfit a dance for eighteen couples. He is a foil to his brother Edward.
Mrs. John Dashwood invites Lucy and her sister to stay with her family in order to avoid inviting her sisters-in-law to stay with them. When Lucy receives the invitation, both Lucy and Elinor believe it must be because Mrs. John Dashwood genuinely likes Lucy. As readers, we know that this is false; Mrs. John Dashwood considers her the lesser of two evils. This is an example of which literary device?
The author is able to use Mrs. Jennings' character to provide commentary about pitfalls in contemporary society. Her commentary develops which of the following themes?
Upon learning of Lucy and Edward's secret engagement, Fanny Dashwood becomes "ill." In reality, she is hysterical because she does not believe Lucy should be engaged to her brother. Fanny is much like her mother: they both believe Edward should marry a woman who will augment his wealth and social status.
Initially Marianne believes that "Edward seemed a second Willoughby." Do you agree with her initial reaction? Compare and contrast Edward and Willoughby to outline your answer. Be sure to support your answer with textual evidence.
When Marianne realizes that Elinor has kept the secret of Edward's engagement for four months and has had to deal with it internally, she realizes that Elinor's logic and reasoning are only one facet of her character.
John Dashwood describes the announcement of the engagement between Lucy and Edward as a "very shocking discovery." This is an example of
When Edward's mother learns of the engagement, she is willing to disown and disinherit him rather than allow him to marry Lucy. This illustrates the theme of social status and wealth.
Mrs. Jennings offers for Edward to stay at her home because "it is not fit that he should be living about at his own charge now." Which motif does is illustrated by this statement?
Marianne believes that Edward still has affectionate feelings for Elinor, and based on her knowledge of Edward and his personality, she believes he is still engaged to Lucy because he feels obligated to fulfill his engagement.
Nancy Steele asks Elinor if Mrs. Jennings and Lady Middleton are angry. Why would they be upset with the Miss Steeles? What does this reveal about the societal conventions of the text?
As you read, consider the source of the account of the conversation between Edward and Lucy. Can you trust everything Miss Steele relays to Elinor?
Based on Elinor's response to Nancy's account, what can you infer about her feelings about the subject?
For what purpose does Lucy write to Elinor?
At this point in the plot, both Elinor and Marianne would like to return home because there is really nothing keeping them in town. In terms of the plot, has the climax occurred yet? If you think so, then how has the story been irreparably changed?
As Mrs. Jennings eavesdrops on Elinor and Colonel Brandon's conversation, she mistakenly believes she hears them agreeing to marry. This illustrates which motif?
What are Colonel Brandon's reasons for offering Edward a position?
Motifs help to develop themes in the text. Which themes are developed by the motif of communication and miscommunication?
There is an obvious misunderstanding between Mrs. Jennings and Elinor. As a result, the scene is supposed to be
What motivates Elinor to assist Edward in finding a position and as a result assist Edward in marrying Lucy?
Both Colonel Brandon and Elinor's actions demonstrate the theme of love. They both illustrate about how love can be unconditional and based on genuine concern for another's well-being.
The author uses Mrs. Jennings as a source of comic relief in the scenes between Elinor and Mrs. Jennings. Mrs. Jennings is similar to which Shakespearean character?
Though many characters presumed that Colonel Brandon loved Marianne initially, John Dashwood and Mrs. Jennings now believe that a loving relationship has developed between Elinor and Colonel Brandon. Do you agree? How would their pairing impact the overall plot of text?
Why is John Dashwood so surprised by Colonel Brandon's assistance to Edward? Based on Mrs. Ferrars' threats, what did Mr. Dashwood believe would happen to Edward?
When John Dashwood recounts to Elinor that Mrs. Ferrars believed that Edward marrying Elinor would be "the least evil of the two" he believes he is paying Elinor a
John Dashwood differs from his wife in one way: he believes that Edward is still a good man despite what John believes are mistakes made on Edward's part.
Many of Elinor's acquaintances believe that Delaford will be her new home because of the perceived relationship between her and Colonel Brandon. Which motifs does this illustrate?
The author contrasts urban and rural settings throughout the text. While in town, there is distress and even chaos, but while in the country, even Marianne finds peace and solace.
There are many loose ends that still need to be dealt with: Edward is not yet married, Colonel Brandon has not made his true feelings known about either of the sisters, Elinor and Marianne have yet to find love or return home. In terms of plot, which term best defines this section of the text?
Marianne's illness is serious because in the nineteenth century there were no antibiotics to administer to cure an infection. As a precaution, Mrs. Palmer and her baby leave their home and an apothecary is called. An apothecary is like an herbalist.
The narrator states that the "day did not close so auspiciously as it began." Which term best describes the ending of the day?
Colonel Brandon is a genuinely kind person. Because of his concern for Elinor and Marianne, he decides to ride to return with Mrs. Dashwood to care for Marianne. This is also evidence that Marianne is gravely ill.
When Marianne becomes ill, the text diverts from a text about marriage and society to a text about bonds and relationships.
What does Marianne's illness do in terms of the perspective of the other problems the girls have encountered?
Why would Willoughby show up at Marianne's door? Do you think he knows Marianne is gravely ill?
Which excerpt from the text demonstrates that Willoughby did not come here because he is drunk?
Willoughby explains everything he had planned on achieving in his life - including "marrying a woman of fortune" in order to better his situation - until he fell in love with Marianne.
Though Willoughby's intention is to reveal his enduring love for Marianne, he cannot help but try to explain himself in the situation with Colonel Brandon's niece. He claims that because "I was a libertine, SHE must be a saint." A libertine is a man who does not behave responsibly. (There is actually a film starring Johnny Depp titled "The Libertine" about this type of lifestyle.) Willoughby states that because he is considered irresponsible, it is assumed the girl is free from blame, but he implies she is not.
After Willoughby's aunt disinherits him, Willoughby claims that his affections for Marianne were not enough to sway his need for a wealthy wife. In this regard, his sense overrides his sensibility. Who is he seemingly similar to in this instance?
Though Willoughby reveals to Elinor that he never ceased loving Marianne and her letters simply rekindled his affections, Elinor is not overjoyed. She is somewhat offended because he is a married man and this conversation is inappropriate and would be hurtful to his wife.
Ultimately, what is Willoughby's choice?
Is there any part of you that feels badly for Willoughby? Do you believe that he truly loves Marianne?
Read the highlighted passage. What does the narrator imply about Willoughby's love for Marianne?
Do you think if Elinor were more like Marianne and driven by her emotions, that she would have allowed Willoughby to leave? Would she have allowed him to see Marianne?
Though Elinor does pity Willoughby, what prevents her from wishing Marianne and Willoughby to end up with one another?
Colonel Brandon declares his love for Marianne to Mrs. Dashwood and this makes his intentions to marry her official. Are you at all surprised by this?
What is odd about Mrs. Dashwood's comparison of Willoughby and Colonel Brandon? Use textual evidence to support your response.
Marianne's near death experience has changed the way she views those around her. She is nicer to and more appreciative of Colonel Brandon and Mrs. Jennings.
Why does Elinor avoid immediately telling Marianne about Willoughby's visit?
Marianne is a dynamic character. Through her suffering and her illness, she admits that she was the cause of her own downfall because she neglected to live her life properly after Willoughby broke her heart. If she were a static character, she would not have acknowledged any role in her own suffering.
Marianne vows that her emotions "shall be regulated" by "religion, by reason, by constant employment." Who does she most resemble?
The narrator contends that it is fortunate that Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne did not hear Willoughby's explanation directly from Willoughby because they may have been swayed by his case. Elinor is able to present to them his explanation in an unsentimental way.
Can you support Elinor's statement that Willoughby is a selfish character? Use textual evidence to support your argument.
Elinor's expectation to hear from Edward is not unusual. Because Elinor played a role in securing Edward a position, it would only be respectful to contact her by letter and give word that he was settled in his new job and residence.
What does the narrator imply with the statement, "She recognized the whole of Lucy in the message, and was very confident that Edward would never come near them"?
Elinor's feelings about the actual marriage between Lucy and Edward help to develop the theme of love. In both scenarios, Willoughby and Marianne's, and now Elinor and Edward's, a lover did not comprehend the depth of his or her feelings until he or she realized his or her love was lost forever.
Edward's visit to Barton cottage is unusual because Elinor believes he is newly married to Lucy. This visit is obviously important though unexpected. Edward's visit can be considered the _________ of the text.
I don't think anyone expected a plot twist like this! Why do you think Lucy married Robert and not Edward? (Hint: What do Lucy and Robert have in common?)
The clip below is from the 1995 film version of the text. It is the scene where Edward proposes to Elinor. (This annotation contains a video)
Does viewing this video make the text seem more alive to you? Is this scene how you pictured it while you were reading?
Although Elinor is confused by the pairing of Lucy and Robert, what do you know about both of their characters that would attract them to one another? Use textual evidence to support your response.
After all is said and done, Edward is relieved to have avoided a marriage to Lucy and now has the freedom to marry Elinor.
Elinor understands why Lucy continued an engagement with Edward even though she did not love him: Lucy wanted to climb the social ladder. This illustrates all of the following themes in the text except
Edward and Elinor illustrate that love is founded in trust and respect. The author demonstrates that love can be the basis for a happy marriage through the union of Edward and Elinor.
Mrs. Jennings' letter illustrates the motif of
When Edward attempts to reconcile with his mother and family, the result may mean a happy ending for all parties involved.
Why was Edward's initial visit to Barton cottage and proposal to Elinor considered the climax of the text? Use textual evidence to support your response.
In the end, Lucy earned a spot on Mrs. Ferrars' good side and reestablished her husband as the favorite. Though Lucy is an antagonist, she is not a one-dimensional character either. She is described as cunning and does gain what she seeks.
Below is a link to a music video dedicated to the love that developed over time between Colonel Brandon and Marianne. It exemplifies the theme of love. (This annotation contains a video)