Sense and Sensibility is a novel by Jane Austen, a bright and original writer, who lived at the turn of the XVIII and XIX centuries. The largest representative of the late English Enlightenment, Austen, is well-known as a subtle master of realistic and classic fiction. Although this novel emphasizes the dramatism of a woman’s face, it can be considered a moralizing and sentimental literary work that narrates the events, which can be viewed as conduct guidelines.
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Body: Critical Elements
The style of narration is one of the key elements of Sense and Sensibility that contains neither dynamics nor heartbreaking passions, reconciling the reader with a romantic novel. England of XVIII is presented without sudden plot twists and flowery monologues of the characters, which impresses the readers, touching their souls. It allows penetrating into the lives of the British nobility: in a rural outback with a settled way of life, long walks with harsh but charming English landscapes.
It seems to be impossible to believe that tragedy is unfolding against this background that breathes calm and well-being. For example, Elinor states that “I am excessively fond of a cottage; there is always so much comfort, so much elegance about them” (362). Even the strict Victorian customs of the ladies and the gentlemen bound in the armor of decency seem not so much the main characters, but the necessary components of this picture. In other words, the way with which the author creates her novel serves the main component of her book.
The development of a female theme in the novel by Austen shows the reader women of different social positions, including unmarried girls, married women, and widows. They are also different in age – from very young girls to respectable ladies. In general, the author shows two types of the Victorian era, such as romantic and rationalistic. Throughout the novel Sense and Sensibility, these two types go through a certain evolution, as evidenced by the images of Marianne and Elinor. As a result of the development of the character of Elinor, Austen creates a new type of woman, which is written from the standpoint of a rational mindset and the ability to introspect.
In the image of Elinor, there is no clear portrait description as Austen tried to focus on the inner qualities of the girls, showing the difference in their attitudes. Using the tale of a hero story, Austen deepens the characteristics of the heroines through their literary predilections.
Marianne is fond of the poetry of James Thomson and William Cowper as well as ballads and novels by Walter Scott. This helps to understand the environment in which Marianne’s romantic worldview developed. The sentimental and romantic beginning determines the whole type of the character of Marianne. The girl rationally perceives the world and people: “Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition” (363). At the same time, Elinor is able to step over illusions and rationally comprehend what is happening around them.
To conclude, Sense and Sensibility by Austen presents the history and traditions of old England with its peaceful and unhurried life. The very style of narration is an important element of the book that allows the readers to better understand the background of the characters. The female image development is another element that explains the role of women, their differences, and the establishment of a new realistic woman.
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Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibilities. Plain Label Books, 2008.