Compare and Contrast the Character of Elinor and Marianne
Elinor's conflict is that of the quest. Elinor has heroic qualities and is in quest of a goal: Edward's love. In the end, Elinor succeeds in her quest and attains her. There is a contrast between their physical appearances; and there is an even Elinor, on the contrary, feels attracted by Edward because of what she regards as his with an even greater intensity, the difference between Elinor and herself. She's heard Sir John teasing Elinor about her Mr. F., she knows Elinor knows She sees the teasing, the blushes, the relationship between the two of them, and .
One of the earliest incidents to bring out this contrast is Edward Ferrar's visit to Norland Park when the mother with her three daughters is yet living there.
Elinor and Marianne react to this young man in absolutely different ways. Elinor begins to admire and love him, while Marianne cannot understand why Elinor not only admires him, but has also fallen in love with him. Marianne finds Edward's manner of reading out a poem to be spiritless, tame, and devoid of sensibility. She also feels disappointed by Edward's having no taste in music and having no capacity even to admire Elinor's drawings or the beauties of nature in the right perspective.
Elinor, on the contrary, feels attracted by Edward because of what she regards as his sense and his goodness. She is attracted by Edward's views about literature, by his enjoyment of books, by his lively imagination, and by his accurate observation.
Thus the two sisters have altogether different criteria of judging the worth of a man. Elinor shows adverse reaction to Marianne's friendship with Willoughby. Marianne becomes quickly attached to Willoughby after her very first meeting with him. She then begins to move about freely in his company. Elinor feels somewhat worried by this friendship which comes to the notice of everyone who knows them.
She even suggests to Marianne to show some more self-command, and to avoid going about openly in Willoughby's company. But Marianne abhors all concealment where no real disgrace can result from a want of reserve.
And so she continues going about with Willoughby openly. She even agrees to accept from Willoughby the gift of a horse though it is not possible for her to maintain and feed a horse. Elinor urges Marianne not to accept the gift; and, even though Marianne does not ultimately accept the gift, she does say that she finds no harm in accepting a gift from Willoughby. Here is another example of a strong disagreement between the two sisters.
Elinor has the capacity to subdue her unhappiness and Marianne does not have. Elinor, though feeling very unhappy about Edward's despondency of mood at the time of his departure from Barton Cottage after a week's stay there, is able to subdue her unhappiness by her sheer firmness and her determination to do so. She does not adopt the procedure followed by Marianne on a similar occasion.
When Willoughby had suddenly departed from Barton Cottage after a very short visit, Marianne had felt very unhappy and had augmented her sorrow by seeking silence, solitude, and idleness. The contrast between the two sisters has pointedly been brought to our attention. Some risks are greater than others. They are both concerned about Marianne after Willoughby abruptly departs and Marianne is crushed.
I find this conversation to be a master class on the nature of ambiguity in romantic and sexual relationships in modern times. Dashwood is placing her bet here as she strains to believe the best about Willoughby. Elinor sees something more in the less that was before her, though she also wants to believe the better interpretation of Willoughby. A central question hinges on whether or not Marianne and Willoughby had become secretly engaged.
If so, it would have fit with the strength of what they had all been seeing before Willoughby abruptly left. This is not the only instance of actual or suspected secret engagement in this and in other works by Austen.
She understood that secret commitment may not be lasting and mutual. But you really do admit the justice of what I have said in his defence? It may be proper to conceal their engagement if they ARE engaged from Mrs. Smith--and if that is the case, it must be highly expedient for Willoughby to be but little in Devonshire at present.
But this is no excuse for their concealing it from us. Concealing it from us! My dear child, do you accuse Willoughby and Marianne of concealment? This is strange indeed, when your eyes have been reproaching them every day for incautiousness. I want no proof of their affection…but of their engagement I do. Have we not perfectly understood each other? Has not my consent been daily asked by his looks, his manner, his attentive and affectionate respect?
My Elinor, is it possible to doubt their engagement? How could such a thought occur to you? I confess, replied Elinor, that every circumstance except ONE is in favour of their engagement; but that ONE is the total silence of both on the subject, and with me it almost outweighs every other.
Sense and Sensibility - Wikipedia
Commitment is declarative, and engagement is one of the most powerful signals of commitment. Valid signals of commitment are powerful because they contain useful information that reduces uncertainty in the face of risk. Austen understood that evidence of attraction does not provide much information about commitment.
Nor, for many, does cohabitation, itself, provide much information about it. Mrs Dashwood seeks somewhere else to live. In the meantime, Fanny's brother, Edward Ferrars visits Norland and soon forms an attachment with Elinor.
Fanny disapproves of the match and offends Mrs Dashwood by implying that Elinor must be motivated by his expectations of coming into money.
Their new home is modest, but they are warmly received by Sir John and welcomed into local society, meeting his wife, Lady Middleton, his mother-in-law, the garrulous but well-meaning Mrs Jennings, and his friend, Colonel Brandon. Colonel Brandon is attracted to Marianne, and Mrs Jennings teases them about it. Marianne is not pleased, as she considers the thirty-five-year-old Colonel Brandon an old bachelor, incapable of falling in love or inspiring love in anyone. A 19th-century illustration by Hugh Thomson showing Willoughby cutting a lock of Marianne 's hair While out for a walk, Marianne gets caught in the rain, slips, and sprains her ankle.
The dashing John Willoughby sees the accident and assists her, picking her up and carrying her back to her home. After his rescue of her, Marianne quickly comes to admire his good looks and his similar tastes in poetry, music, art, and love.
His attentions, and Marianne's behaviour, lead Elinor and Mrs Dashwood to suspect that the couple are secretly engaged. Elinor cautions Marianne against her unguarded conduct, but Marianne refuses to check her emotions. Willoughby engages in several intimate activities with Marianne, including taking her to see the home he expects to inherit one day and obtaining a lock of her hair.
When an engagement, or at least the announcement of one, seems imminent, Mr Willoughby informs the Dashwoods that his aunt, upon whom he is financially dependent, is sending him to London on business, indefinitely.
Marianne is distraught and abandons herself to her sorrow. Edward Ferrars pays a short visit to Barton Cottage but seems unhappy. Elinor fears that he no longer has feelings for her, but she will not show her heartache. Jennings, come to stay at Barton Park. Lucy informs Elinor in confidence of her secret four-year engagement to Edward Ferrars that started when he was studying with her uncle, and she displays proof of their intimacy.
Elinor realises that Lucy's visit and revelations are the result of Lucy's jealousy and cunning calculation, and it helps her to understand Edward's recent sadness and behaviour towards her. She acquits Edward of blame and pities him for being held to a loveless engagement to Lucy by his sense of honour.
Jane Austen Understood Modern Romance
Elinor and Marianne accompany Mrs Jennings to London. On arriving, Marianne rashly writes several personal letters to Willoughby, which go unanswered.
When they meet by chance at a dance, Willoughby is standing with another woman. He greets Marianne reluctantly and coldly, to her extreme distress.
Compare and Contrast the Character of Elinor and Marianne
She shows him how shocked she is that he barely acknowledges her, and she leaves the party completely distraught. Soon Marianne receives a curt letter enclosing their former correspondence and love tokens, including a lock of her hair. Willoughby informs her of his engagement to a young lady, Miss Grey, who has a large fortune.
After Elinor has read the letter, Marianne admits to Elinor that she and Willoughby were never engaged. She behaved as if they were because she knew she loved him and thought that he loved her. He reveals to Elinor that Willoughby is a scoundrel.
His aunt disinherited him after she learned that he had seduced, impregnated, then abandoned Brandon's young ward, Miss Eliza Williams, and refused to marry her. Willoughby, in great personal debt, chose to marry Miss Grey for money rather than love.
Eliza is the illegitimate daughter of Brandon's first love, also called Eliza, a young woman who was his father's ward and an heiress. She was forced into an unhappy marriage to Brandon's elder brother, in order to shore up the family's debts, and that marriage ended in scandal and divorce while Brandon was abroad with the Army. After Colonel Brandon's father and brother died, he inherited the family estate and returned to find Eliza dying in a pauper's home, so Brandon took charge of raising her young daughter.
Brandon tells Elinor that Marianne strongly reminds him of the elder Eliza for her sincerity and sweet impulsiveness. Brandon removed the younger Eliza to the country, and reveals to Elinor all of these details in the hope that Marianne could get some consolation in discovering that Willoughby was revealed as a villain. Meanwhile, the Steele sisters have come to London as guests of Mrs Jennings. After a brief acquaintance, they are asked to stay at John and Fanny Dashwoods' London house.
Lucy sees the invitation as a personal compliment, rather than what it is, a slight to Elinor and Marianne who, being family, should have received such invitation first. As a result, the Misses Steele are turned out of the house, and Edward is ordered by his wealthy mother to break off the engagement on pain of disinheritance.
Edward refuses to comply and is immediately disinherited in favour of his brother, Robert, which gains him respect for his conduct and sympathy from Elinor and Marianne. Colonel Brandon shows his admiration by offering Edward the living a clergyman's income of Delaford parsonage so that he might one day be able to afford to marry Lucy after he takes orders.Sense and Sensibility 2007 Iridescent---Linkin Park----Edward and Elinor
Charlotte Palmer, at her husband's estate, called Cleveland. Marianne, still in misery over Willoughby's marriage, goes walking in the rain and becomes dangerously ill. She is diagnosed with putrid fever, and it is believed that her life is in danger. Elinor writes to Mrs. Dashwood to explain the gravity of the situation, and Colonel Brandon volunteers to go and bring Marianne's mother to Cleveland to be with her. In the night, Willoughby arrives and reveals to Elinor that his love for Marianne was genuine and that losing her has made him miserable.
He elicits Elinor's pity because his choice has made him unhappy, but she is disgusted by the callous way in which he talks of Miss Williams and his own wife.
He also reveals that his aunt said she would have forgiven him if he married Miss Williams but that he refused.
Marianne recovers from her illness, and Elinor tells her of Willoughby's visit. Marianne realises that she could never have been happy with Willoughby's immoral, erratic, and inconsiderate ways. She values Elinor's more moderated conduct with Edward and resolves to model herself after Elinor's courage and good sense. Edward arrives and reveals that, after his disinheritance, Lucy jilted him in favour of his now wealthy younger brother, Robert.
Edward and Elinor marry, and later Marianne marries Colonel Brandon, having gradually come to love him. The two couples live as neighbours, with both sisters and husbands in harmony with each other. Willoughby considers Marianne as his ideal but the narrator tells the reader not to suppose that he was never happy.
She represents the "sense" half of Austen's title Sense and Sensibility. She is 19 years old at the beginning of the book.