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“Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen

The lives of people in the past and, more specifically, their relationships were primarily guided by material considerations. This world is portrayed in the novel “Sense and Sensibility,” written by Jane Austen, which demonstrates the rigid social hierarchy of the time leading to human greed. It is especially applicable to marriage as the guarantee of a woman’s future wellbeing and, therefore, this aspect deserves particular attention. This system is primarily supported by the awareness of characters regarding their position and the desire to change it, which can be achieved only through social connections. Therefore, this literary work portrays the ruthlessness of people of the era in their pursuit of financial benefits and conveys the insignificance of one’s ambitions.

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The principal circumstance determining the willingness of the novel’s character to pursue wealth is the difference in their position regardless of the fact of belonging to the upper class. In the beginning, the author introduces the Dashwood family and John, the eldest child and the only son in the family who inherits his father’s fortune (Austen 7). This event evokes concerns of his wife, Fanny, who does not wish to follow the will of the man to take care of other relatives and claims that “he did not know what he was talking of” (Austen 13). Throughout the narrative, her attitudes, as well as the stances of others, do not change, and this fact allows concluding on the dominant importance of money in family affairs.

The same applies to marriage since the book’s characters consider the financial aspect of the matter as a decisive factor in this respect. For example, Mrs. Ferras emphasizes the need for her offspring to get married for money, not for love, and thereby disregards all feelings. When her son Edward decided to marry Elinor, she simply cast him off despite the fact that the young people love each other and have enough money for a living (Austen 176). From her perspective, one can never be fully happy without promoting their position in society through marriage, and Lucy seems a better alternative to her (Austen 175). She even makes Elinor believe that their union is inevitable, thereby causing her suffering (Austen 168). In this case, greed is also the driving force of all human relationships, as follows from the actions of this woman.

Finally, the manifestation of human ruthlessness in the pursuit of financial stability is seen even in the marriage of Elinor and Edward, which is essentially based on their feelings for each other. At the end of the novel, the wife convinces her husband to ask forgiveness for “having ever formed the engagement, which drew on you your mother’s anger” (Austen 286). Nevertheless, her motivation is not connected to maintaining healthy relationships with relatives but financial concerns. From the moment when they got married, their wellbeing solely depends on Mrs. Ferras’ attitude and, therefore, is deemed to be related to the money they receive from her.

In conclusion, the relationships of men and women in “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen are based on their greed and ruthlessness. Their intention not to share with anyone regardless of how much money they need for living and the tendency to accumulate it reflects this idea. It is also underpinned by the fact that neither the characters with a clear focus on financial stability nor the people emphasizing their feelings are exempt from this rule. Thus, the social position of individuals and, consequently, their wealth plays the most significant role in their relationships.

Work Cited

Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. John Wilson and Son, 1892.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, August 3). “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/sense-and-sensibility-by-jane-austen/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, August 3). “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen. https://studycorgi.com/sense-and-sensibility-by-jane-austen/

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StudyCorgi. (2022) '“Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen'. 3 August.

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