Sense and Sensibility
In a time much different than now, the idea of marriage for the sake of money was a common denominator in shaping the lives of children. This time was that of Jane Austen, and the predicament of love over money is one found throughout her first published novel: Sense and Sensibility. Sense and Sensibility portrays the physical and emotional life and loves of two very different sisters: Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. The contrast between the sister's characters results in their attraction to vastly different men, sparking family and collective dramas that are played out around their contrasting romances. The younger sister, Marianne Dashwood, emerges as one of the novel's major characters through her treatment and categorization of people, embodying of emotion, relationship with her mother and sisters, openness, and general enthusiasm about life. Marianne is in the immature business of classifying people- especially men- as romantic or unromantic almost immediately upon meeting them. The opening discussion of money and marriage quickly establishes the essential role that ordinary economic concerns will play in Austen's novel. Unlike many authors of over-romantic novels popular in her day, Austen refuses to romanticize; and she recognizes that material views often restrict the connection between love and marriage. In order to completely understand the role of money in this novel, one must fully understand the nature of the two main characters, as Elinor portrays the Sense, and Marianne, Sensibility, in the way they carry themselves. These characteristics developed by Austen show the true evolution of want and desire as a product of marriage, not the accumulation of money alone.
In a man, Marianne seeks a lover of life and an arts connoisseur, whose tastes in everything correspond with hers. He should be willing to indulge his feelings, read the same books as her and be enamored by the same music (11). Money never played a large part in her equation for romance, love or marriage; rather she sought after the very one who would make her happy. Marianne seeks a man with all of the virtues of Elinor's love interest: Edward Ferrars, and his person and manner must "ornament his goodness with every possible charm" (16). Marianne's mother relates that Marianne's mature outlook is beyond her years by reminding Marianne "Remember, my love, that you are not seventeen. It is yet too early in life to despair of such a happiness (16)." However even at such a young age it was not unheard of to marry an older man to please him, as if he was wealthy enough, it would be in the best interest for the woman and her families economic standing. A common arrangement to move up in class was to send off your best looking daughter to possibly catch the eye of a wealthy man, no matter his age or personality, as marriage was a...