Sense And Sensibility Essay

724 words - 3 pages

With her unique writing style Jane Austen is able to fit many different themes, based on the time period and the culture, into one novel. The tale Sense and Sensibility is no different with its expected views on love and marriage to tell a tale with a happy ending, but with a nineteenth century charm. Though the story had many themes, Austen is able to introduce the most important ones within the first chapter. By using straightforward narration, she states bluntly that the novel will center around the diversity of family, the importance of home, and of course “sense” and “sensibility,” but by using basic description it is not until the end of the novel, that the reader realizes the first chapter sets up the major themes for the entire novel.
In Sense and Sensibility, Austen illustrates a wide range of family relationships that demonstrate a diversity of meaning. Throughout the novel she reveals how cruel and unfeeling a family can be, but contrasts it with examples of how familial love can help bring someone through a personal crisis. This aspect of the book is introduced within the first two paragraphs, where “by a former marriage” Henry Dashwood has a son, who is his legal heir (5). In this time period, divorce was not common; Austen dives right into the novel showcasing an unconventional family life. This first introduction of an alternative domestic situation sets up the novel for other various familial states. Despite the range of different possibilities, Austen demonstrates, through the ultimate connection of the Dashwood women, that family remains the central unit of this story – no matter how detrimental a character's family life is, it's still fundamental to that character's existence.
Laws surrounding inheritance are what put the Dashwood women in a state of panic at the beginning of the novel. The loss of a cherished home is one of the first major thematic elements in the story, and that sense of transition and movement persists throughout the novel. When Mrs. John Dashwood arrived “without sending any notice” she took over the women’s home, and essentially took over their way of life (7); this invasion of home forces the first move of the Dashwood women in the novel, which sets up the idea as home as a virtue and not a place. This...

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