Marriage Related To Economics And Society In Sense And Sensibility

2249 words - 9 pages

Sense and Sensibility, originally titled Elinor and Marianne, is Jane Austen’s first published work. Sense and Sensibility, as well as Austen’s most popular novel Pride and Prejudice, are considered to be romantic comedies which portrayed Austen’s cleverness. Sense and Sensibility starts off in a financial setting and continues with falling deeply in love, tragic heartbreak, and many other heart wrenching emotions. Austen's books are normally centered around women and what was socially acceptable for them in their societies. Even though Austen’s characters break away from the norms of society, her themes are still clearly stated and received by the reader. Recurring themes in Austen’s novels are the economic and social norms and how those two key themes impact and lead the course of the characters’ lives. These themes are showcased well through marriage and the reasons for marriage. Austen does a fantastic job of displaying the social and economic sides of marriage, from both perspectives of men and women.

Henry Dashwood, father to Elinor, Marianne, Margaret Dashwood, and husband to Mrs. Dashwood, dies with only one heir to leave his house to. Mr. Henry Dashwood’s son is the product of a previous marriage and his current family does not affiliate with Mr. John Dashwood. John Dashwood is married to a very greedy wife, Fanny Dashwood, who urges Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters to move out of her newly inherited manor shortly after they move in. Marriage was important for women because it secured a woman’s financial position. A woman did not receive much money, if any at all, unless her mother's parents were wealthy. Until she was married, her finances were controlled by her father. In order to live a fairly wealthy life, she needed to marry a man of an equal or better financial state.

Women could not inherit anything besides the money from her mother’s side, and that continued to be controlled by her father or her husband. In Sense and Sensibility, this event is important for the Dashwood women because they are forced to leave their home because they cannot legally inherit it. This throws the Dashwood women many different ways which sets up the rest of the plot for the older two daughters who must search for adequate, wealthy husbands. Within the first chapter, the reader is introduced to the Dashwood predicament. Because Mr. Henry Dashwood asked his son to take care of his wife and daughters, Mr. John Dashwood so graciously lets the Dashwood women reside in their newly inherited home until they can find a place of their own while also supporting them financially. Because Mrs. Dashwood cannot inherit the house and is being forced to move, this forces a separation of a potential union between Miss Elinor Dashwood and Mr. Edward Ferrars. Living in this era makes it extremely difficult for women to be able to support themselves. It is more important for women to marry for wealth and class rather than love because wealth provides for a family....

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