ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Austen was an eighteenth-century English author, though she gained most of her popularity in the twentieth century. Austen’s works are considered classics today. Her novels are women-centric and always seem to highlight the societal issues of the era by depicting ordinary people in everyday settings. Austen’s novels are also known for their humorous narrative and irony.
Her last work was titled Sanditon and the Watsons, which remains unfinished to this day. Austen published six novels centred around romance and marriage, though she never married herself. Arguably her best work is Pride and Prejudice, which is dearly loved by many even today.
Sense and Sensibility is Jane Austen’s first published book under an anonymous name. The plot follows two sisters closely as they navigate their love life during a very short period of time.
The two sisters are as opposite in personality as they can be. Their approach and reactions to similar situations of attraction and grief are as different as chalk from cheese. The narrative revolves around how each sister expressly herself in any given situation and how this impacts the final outcome.
As the plot progresses and other characters emerge, the title of the book begins to make more sense.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
In Sense and Sensibility, Austen has masterfully captured the subtleties of human behavior, like very few others before or after her have been able to. The act of holding back extreme reactions, as seen with the older sister, is superbly portrayed through elaborate dialogs. Austen has also done justice to the younger sister’s character, showing her to be emotionally explosive but justifiable in her frankness. While not condemning the younger sister’s approach, Austen expertly underlines the superiority of the older sister in her outlook on life.
Furthermore, every character has a distinctive way of speaking, which begins to feel familiar after the first few chapters of the book. From the very outset, the male characters in the book are as interesting as the two female protagonists. Their personae drive the plot, ensuring that the story is never bogged down by excessive detail or characterization. They all play a part to the very end and no questions are left unanswered by the time one puts the book down.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER ABOUT SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
As with most Jane Austen novels, the storytelling is impeccable as it gets. However, there is one major twist toward the end that is bound to leave many a reader bamboozled. In part, this has to do with its justification, which doesn’t come across as very convincing or satisfactory.
The beginning also feels somewhat tedious, though the happy ending for all characters more than makes up for this sluggish start.
‘I did,’ said Elinor, with a composure of voice under which was concealed an emotion and distress beyond anything she had ever felt before. She was mortified, shocked, confounded.
Fortunately for her they had now reached the cottage, and the conversation could be continued no farther. After sitting with them a few minutes, the Miss Steeles returned to the Park, and Elinor was then at liberty to think and be wretched.
As a book, Sense and Sensibility is all about captivating characters that depict the real people we run into over the course of our lives. There is so much to learn if one has an eye for detail. That said, this wouldn’t be the most enjoyable read for readers with an aversion to dated, classic English.
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