Social Confinement In Austen’s Sense And Sensibility

1291 words - 6 pages

When Charlotte Bronte said of Jane Austen’s novels ‘I should hardly like to live with their ladies and gentlemen, in their elegant but confined houses’ she was referring to the physical confinement of an interior versus an exterior setting. This confinement of the setting mirrors the social confinement of a woman versus a man in the societal structure at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. While Austen studies the societal position of women in most of her novels, her early work Sense and Sensibility, is perhaps the most interesting to take into consideration when reviewing the issue of confinement. In it Austen juxtaposes the freedom of the countryside exteriors with the confinement of the city’s interiors. These settings serve as a backdrop for the exploration of two female characters whose social status has been set back as a result of the primogeniture of the time.
Austen’s novels have always been lauded for their social commentary and critique. The most common issue they depict is the dependency of women in society upon men, specifically their reliance on marriage as a source of income. The characters of Marianne and Elinor in Sense and Sensibility are two such characters, who due to their estate and income being inherited by their stepbrother, are left to their own devices of securing a favorable marriage. The two sisters, so different in character, mirror the contrast of the depictions of interiors and nature in the novel. The free-spirited Marianne, with her love of the picturesque is a reflection of Austen’s descriptions of nature, while the sensible Elinor reflects the confined spaces of the interior descriptions.
Marianne’s sensibility and strong link to nature is best depicted in her farewell speech to Norland Park. She begins her speech by addressing the estate with ‘Dear, dear Norland!’ , as if it were a close friend rather than an inanimate structure. However further in her speech she talks to the trees, thus humanizing the estate when she says:
‘And you, ye well-known trees! - but you will continue the same. No leaf will decay because we are removed, nor any branch become motionless although we can observe you no longer! No; you will continue the same; unconscious of the pleasure or the regret you occasion, and insensible of any change in those who walk under your shade!’.
Marianne’s address, while an excellent example of her sensibility is also a reflection upon confinement. While homeowners may change and the interiors will be altered, nature will continue as it always has, because nature cannot be confined least of all by social confinements such as primogeniture that lead to the change in ownership.
The critic Rosemarie Bodenheimer describes the manner in which Marianne addresses the trees as being ‘a performance’ . Bodenheimer argues that Austen links Marianne’s sensibility and ‘performance’ to her unrealistic view of her place in society, saying that ‘they encourage her to cultivate a partial and...

Find Another Essay On Social Confinement in Austen’s Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility Essay

818 words - 3 pages an almost-invisible change of colour, highlighting her "sense". At this moment in the novel?s development, we cannot enter Elinor's mind; her "silent amazement" is actually silent.By the end of the novel, Marianne realizes that her excessive openness, hasty conclusions about people, and dismissal of social convention have generated unnecessary misery for herself and others.Austen is not only concerned in showing the foolishness of "sensibility

Sense and Sensibility Essay

724 words - 3 pages , 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

Sense and Sensibility

1330 words - 5 pages Lauren Tully Lauren Tully Elaine Savory Jane Austen Sense and Sensibility 2/16/10 In a time much different than now, the idea of marriage for the sake of money was a common denominator in shaping the lives of children. This time was that of Jane Austen, and the predicament of love over money is one found throughout her first published novel: Sense and Sensibility. Sense and Sensibility portrays the physical and emotional

Sense and Sensibility - 690 words

690 words - 3 pages movie review of sense and sensibility -Ang Lee, who directed, and Emma Thompson, who adapted the screenplay, have done an excellent job of bringing Jane Austen's Victorian novel, Sense and Sensibility, to the movie screen. The movie's collection of actors are a joy to watch as they bring out the emotions of an otherwise polite and reserved era in time. The production work is top notch with bright, cascading photography that sets a romantic 'I

Sense and Sensibility - 981 words

981 words - 4 pages Chapter forty-four in Sense and Sensibility is an emotional confession of Mr. Willoughby to Elinor when he comes to check on a sick Marianne. While this scene is intended to pardon Willoughby, many pieces of this chapter show how undeserving he still is of Elinor and Marianne’s forgiveness. To begin, when Willoughby arrives at the Dashwood residence, he is agitated and short with Elinor. Elinor allows him in, but asks him to calm down with

"In "Sense & Sensibility, Elinor represents sense and Marianne represents sensibility". Do you agree?

1117 words - 4 pages The title "Sense and Sensibility" sets up a juxtaposition between two ways of thinking, behaving and knowing that are embodied in the novel's two protagonists, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. In these characters Austen ostensibly contrasts practicality with sensitivity, restraint with impulsiveness and strait-laced sense with exorbitant sensibility. Each opposing trait to be found in the Dashwood sisters, Elinor personifying sense and Marianne

The Social/Economic Upper-Class in England in Mrs. Dalloway, Sense and Sensibility, and The Picture of Dorian Gray

1382 words - 6 pages The social/economic upper-class in England in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray are depicted through the characters’ lifestyles, wealth, and behaviors. Woolf, Austen, and Wilde give insightful portrayals of the characters by emphasizing their social roles in the England society. Their portrayals of the characters suggest that they are critical of the upper

Marriage Related to Economics and Society in Sense and Sensibility

2249 words - 9 pages home with enough room to live while other women sought out security in their friends and relationships. Both class and economics were or could be passed down from generation to generation if the woman came from a wealthy family. The society and economy was a major influence on decisions and had a major impact on peoples lives; especially women. One recurring theme in Austen’s Sense and Sensibility is how the social and economic sides of marriage

Wealth and Happiness in Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen

1737 words - 7 pages In the novel Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen, the Dashwood family is left with much less money after their father dies. When their cousin takes them in, they move to a new home and start their new life. In this time period money and social rank were the most important things. For most marriage has nothing to do with love, it is about gaining property, money or rank. This is why Elinor and Marianne’s, two of the Dashwood sisters

Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility

1761 words - 8 pages Love comes in many shapes and forms, whether it’s an inanimate object or a person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Jane Austen’s novel, “Sense and Sensibility”, revolves around two sisters who try to find true love, while requiring a balance of reason and emotion. Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are viewed as two completely different people. Elinor is known to represent “sense” while Marianne represents “sensibility.” In the novel

Achieving a Balanced Life in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility

1995 words - 8 pages Sense and Sensibility do they find true happiness in their lives. The dichotomy between "sense" and "sensibility" is one of the lenses through which Austen's Sense and Sensibility is most commonly analyzed. This distinction is most clearly symbolized by the psychological contrast between the novel's two main characters. Elinor, the older of the two, represents qualities of "sense," such as reason, restraint, social responsibility, and a clear

Similar Essays

Patriarchy In Jane Austen's Sense And Sensibility

1705 words - 7 pages fleetingly, the pleasure of a sunny afternoon in Devonshire in silk gowns and velvet coats. Works Cited Austen, Jam. Sense and Sensibility. London: Penguin Books, 1995 [1811]. Diana, M. Casey. “Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility as Gateway to Austen’s Novel.” _Jane Austen in Hollywood_, ed. Linda Troost and Sayre Greenfield. Lexington: U of Ky. P, 2001. Giddings, Robert, Keith Selby, and

Judgments Of Conduct In Sense And Sensibility

1016 words - 4 pages Sense and Sensibility is an elegant story that portrays the advantages of the first over the second, as manifested between two sisters of opposing temperaments, one of whom loves wisely and the other passionately. Set in London and its surrounding countryside, the story relates how Elinor, the eldest of Mrs. Dashwood's daughters, and Marianne, the second eldest, share in the agony of tragic love. In the opening of the book, Mrs. Dashwood and her

Sense And Sensibility Essay

1054 words - 4 pages opposing forces, including sense and sensibility and empowerment and disempowerment. Another discourse within this book is the importance to a woman of having a man to depend on – whether through familial relations or marriage – which shows Austen’s feministic ideals. Both of these are reliant on the cultural context of the era, which, for the richer, ‘high’ society that Austen lived in, revolved around wealth, marriage, connections and a great

Sense And Sensibility Essay

818 words - 3 pages an almost-invisible change of colour, highlighting her "sense". At this moment in the novel's development, we cannot enter Elinor's mind; her "silent amazement" is actually silent.By the end of the novel, Marianne realizes that her excessive openness, hasty conclusions about people, and dismissal of social convention have generated unnecessary misery for herself and others.Austen is not only concerned in showing the foolishness of "sensibility
妖怪ロマンス~百鬼夜行の物語~ FightSong Inc. PROSSIMAMENTE | Predicting Secure Detention Placement for African-American Juvenile offenders: Addressing the Disproportionate Minority Confinement Problem | Halloween RapidGator