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Sense Vs Sensibility Essay

2372 words - 9 pages

Often, two people who have endured similar life experiences and share an unmistakable parallel in lifestyles can be viewed as duplicates of one individual. In Sense and Sensibility, the two main characters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood can be seen as two extensions of the same character. The sisters are relatively close in age, grew up with the same social expectations of the same time period and household, and they evidently experienced similar childhood and family trauma and problems. Although it could be argued that they are the same character, these young women are very different from each other, in respects to their roles and practice of responsibility, their display of emotions, and openness to love. Jane Austen has cleverly titled this novel Sense and Sensibility to highlight the girls' different personalities, and how they contrast each other. As Harold Bloom explores in his criticism of Jane Austen’s works, “Sense and Sensibility really is about the relations between sense and sensibility, or as we might put it, between head and heart, thought and feeling, judgment and emotion” (Bloom, 23). Elinor, being the elder and more rational of the two is depicted as Sense, as she is the more rational of the two, and Marianne is labeled as Sensibility, being the more dramatic and romantic one. Despite their clear similarities in lifestyle and upbringing, the young ladies have developed very different ideas about self-regulation, carriage and dependability.
In terms of responsibility, Elinor is much more dedicated in her commitments and actions towards the peoples she loves than her sister is, and consistently shows this throughout the novel. Elinor specifically holds great responsibility within her family, as she continually demonstrates great love for them as she takes accountability for their actions when they seem incompetent to do so. She feels inclined to do this, as “she [has a] knowledge which her mother had yet to learn, and which one of her sisters had resolved never to be taught”(Austen, 6). When her father died, both her mother and Marianne went into a state of hysteria and spells of dramatic depression, and Elinor had to be the voice of reason in the household. Even though she too was affected by his passing, she took the responsibility of caring for her mourning family by entertaining guests and handling the legal fundamentals with her brother. By staying calm and collected, Elinor proves that her rationality guides her through a life of responsible actions and care for those that she loves. Elinor also steps up as the responsible family member by covering up for their mistakes, particularly her sister’s. Marianne is oblivious to the offenses and conflict that she is creating through her carelessness, as well as the fact that Elinor is covering them up. While the sisters are living in London, Marianne’s strange love-struck behavior does not go unnoticed by their company, and Elinor incessantly interjected excuses for her sister’s...

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