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Elinor And Marianne From Sense And Sensibility By Jane Austen; Josephine And Constantia From The Daughters Of The Late Colonel By Katherine Mansfield; A Compare And Contrast Essay

1006 words - 4 pages

In this essay, I will be comparing two sets of sisters, Elinor and Marianne from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and Josephina and Constantia from Katherine Mansfield's "The Daughters of the Late Colonel," all of whom have experienced the death of their respective fathers. Though they may all share some similar circumstances and personality traits, they each have unique reactions and responses to the things that happen to them.When the father of Elinor and Marianne dies, although they are grieved by it, have an apparent affection for him, and experience a great sense of loss, Elinor doesn't seem to dwell on his death. She is more concerned with their current situation and taking care of everybody and everything. Marianne, on the other hand, "gave [herself] up wholly to [her] sorrow, seeking increase of wretchedness in every reflection that could afford it…" (Austen, 4)When Josephine and Constantia's father dies, they both seem very lost. Rather than acting like the middle aged women that they are, they both "are quite immature, not to say childish. Right from the start we are presented with hilarious comments about giving the porter a top- hat ("father's head!") and their absurd conclusions about the need of dyeing their dressing gowns and having to wear, as Josephine pictures '...two pairs of black woolly slippers, creeping off to the bathroom like black cats.'" (Daughters) Mixed with this immature hilarity is the very serious lack of independent thinking they engage in. They both act saddened by their father's death, but even in their grief, they still act like someone is over their shoulder making sure they are "being sad enough." They tip-toe around their own house as if waiting to hear the disapproving thump of their late father's walking stick.Elinor is a cool-headed, rational girl who is very concerned about doing the right thing for everybody. "Her feelings were strong; but she knew how to govern them." (Austen, 3) She doesn't want to offend anybody unnecessarily and is often apologizing for the actions of her sister. Marianne, in contrast, does not know how, or even desire to govern her feelings. She believes that feelings were meant to be felt and felt as strongly as possible. Elinor and her sister, in spite of their differences, both value each other deeply and genuinely care about each other. However, according to their dispositions, Elinor is almost always the one who is in a position to help her sister. Marianne is often too engrossed in her own emotions to be of much good in supporting someone else through their problems. "Elinor urges Marianne to fulfill her responsibility to those who love her. Her own sense of duty sustains her, but Marianne's is insufficient to the task." (Reinstein)Both Josephine and Constantia are indecisive, timid, and immature. We see their indecisiveness in their inability to decided whether or not to keep Kate, the maid. We see their timidity when they both are unable to reasonably sort through...

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