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Archive for June, 2008

Having completed Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility yesterday I thought I would comment on it.  Overall it was a fine read, t’was a superb English novel of manners. Though I have to admit that the first time I tried to read the book I was lost, I think I was reading it way too fast. I read up to the point where the Dashwood girls make it to London and then I closed it, only to open it months later and devour it at a slower pace. For the first time reading it was not a little like jumping into a pool of English anachronisms and drowning very, very slowly.  But the second time I picked it up was a much different affair.  I pulled all my faculties together and delved into it with aplomb.  For the first half of the book I was pulling for Willoughby.  If only to see Marianne happy. So i guess it was only natural that he should be such a worthless cad in the end, after such a perfect introduction to his character. As for Elinor it is a thing of beauty that she does find love with Hugh… I mean Edward Ferrars. 

The book ends on a quite a happy note and I think I might start on another Jane Austen novel soon enough.

I found the Dashwood girls’ plight to be mildly annoying.  Come on Jane, couldn’t we have given them more of a dowry?  They are forced by their circumstances to take a trip to London, visit with the Middleton’s every other night, and fall prey to their passions with men already taken.  Oh and the wreck Marianne becomes for a quarter of the novel, I could have done without the senseless female suffering.  But that is just her Sensibility carrying her off to realms of unknown despair.  Don’t get me wrong, the novel is finely crafted and well worth reading. It is just that some aspects of it are a little too stock for me.  Elinor is the quiet brave older sister who bears all her suffering in silence, while Marianne, if she died, would have made the whole thing a tragedy instead of the tragi-comedy that plays out on paper.

I do accept Marianne’s marriage to Col. Brandon as a necessary thing and one that could produce the marital bliss that so many characters in this book crave.  Brandon and his skeletons in the closet gives us a haunting picture of a man fractured twice and still healing with time.  Elinor’s wedding the future parson couldn’t be more perfect.  I can picture her at Delaford having a rollicking good time living in the strict social strata from which she sprang.

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