Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sense and Sensibility

Title: Sense and Sensibility
Author: Jane Austen
Genre: Classics, Jane Austen
Date Finished: 31 March 2008
My Rating: 5 Stars

What can I say about Sense and Sensibility? It is no secret that I love Jane Austen. Sense and Sensibility was the first Jane Austen novel I read way back when I was about 16 and I have read it numerous times since then.
If you have not read the book or at least seen one of the movie adaptations of the book, you might not want to read this post. It will be filled with spoilers if you are not familiar with the story.
I've been reading a lot of, what I consider, weird opinions about Marianne and Willoughby. Apparently there is a group of people out there who think Marianne and Willoughby should have ended up together, that they were perfect for each other etc etc. I scoff at such sentiments!
I decided to read the book this time around with these other opinions in mind to see if there was anyway I was missing something that these people were picking up on.
When I was younger, I loved Marianne. Her storyline was my favorite. I thought she was justified in everything she did, every way she acted and in everything she said. My heart broke right along side hers when Willoughby left. But at the same time, I was very happy to see her end up with Colonel Brandon because I always had a soft spot for the Colonel.
Well, like Marianne, I guess I have matured with time because when I read Sense and Sensibility now I find myself cringing at most of what Marianne says and does. I have also read a lot more about the time period and have a better understanding of what was socially acceptable at the time, which has aided in a better understanding of Marianne's actions, right and wrong. Marianne is young, immature and vastly rude to the people around her. Willoughby brought out the worst of these traits. Yes, Mrs. Jennings and the Middletons might be a bit annoying and trying but the are just trying to be friendly and mean no real harm. It really makes me cringe to read Marianne and Willoughby mock Colonel Brandon. Willoughby is spoiled, rude and as I said, brings out the worst in Marianne. If they had ended up together, I have no doubt that Marianne would have turned into a snob of the utmost kind.
I've heard it said that some people hope Colonel Brandon died after a few years and that Mrs. Willoughby died in childbirth making it possible for Marianne and Willoughby to marry and perhaps even raise the child he had with Eliza. Huh! What are these people thinking?I doubt Willoughby would ever acknowledge or take responsibility for his child with Eliza no matter who he married. And I won't even go into the whole idea of Marianne and Willoughby getting married because the whole idea is just ludicrous!
You know what has always bugged me the most about Sense and Sensibility? When Elinor forgives Willoughby during their conversation at Cleavland. "Elinor assured him that she did;-that she forgave, pitied, wished him well-was even interested in his happiness-and added some gentle counsel as the the behavior most likely to promote it."
Ha! I'd like to hear that counsel she gave him! How about something like, "Stop sleeping around with young girls and leading other ones to believe you love them, when really all you care about is money!"
I think my sentiments align more with those of Mrs. Dashwood's. "Nothing could away the knowledge of what the latter (Marianne) had suffered through his means, nor remove the quilt of his conduct towards Eliza. Nothing could replace him, therefore, in her former esteem..." I still think even she was a little to soft on the guy.
What can I say? I detest Willoughby!
And lest any of you wonder if Marianne really loved Colonel Brandon, I'll leave Jane Austen herself to clear up any questions on that matter. "Marianne could never love by halves; and her whole heart became, in time, as much devoted to her husband, as it had once been to Willoughby."


Chain Reader said...

This post made me realize how bad my memory is! I read S & S just a couple of years ago,have seen the movie twice, and I still can't remember much about it other than that I loved it! The great thing about my memory is that I can reread a book and not remember how it ends!

Nise' said...

Great reveiw. I just finished reading this book a couple of weeks ago and loved it and it will be one of those I read again!

booksidoneread said...

I read 'Emma' when I was, like, fourteen, and I didn't like it, but then we read S & S for a lit class last semester and I was shocked by how much I enjoyed it. It makes sense, I guess. I could read about upper-middle-class Victorian-era folk wandering around in flowy dresses and having tea and fainting fits for hours. Guess it's time to hit up 'Pride and Prejudice,' and a little 'Northanger Abbey.'