Post-Reading: Sense and Sensibility

There are some books that strike me so deeply that I dread their inevitable end, especially considering that nothing beats the novelty of a first read. Given this, I was actually ready for Sense and Sensibility to reach its conclusion, though not due to any kind of disappointment. I loved it. The story is continuously surprising and observant of human behavior and folly. New characters are steadily introduced, adding freshness and much needed details to the intertwined story lines. I was eager to reach the story’s end simply because the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, are miserable throughout, and I was anxious for them to find reprieve. Their misery is largely due to heartbreak, which does not come off as frivolous as you would imagine; partly because their emotions are so pure and heartfelt, and partly because they are women of the 18th century. There are few prospects beyond marriage, so a runaway suitor deals a particularly strong blow.
 
I assumed some version of happily ever after, though I assure you it’s a tame one, because I couldn’t imagine a young Jane Austen letting down the characters she so thoughtfully created. The Dashwood sisters are emotional and eloquent, two qualities that blend perfectly together. I looked up Austen and her work a number of times while reading Sense and Sensibility, and was left with the impression that the book is not a favorite among readers or critics. If that is the case, my expectations for the remainder of the Austen canon are sky high. Northanger Abbey is next.
 

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11 Comments

  1. I’ve only read P&P, but have been wanting to read the rest of Austen’s novels. I’ve seen the film version of S&S and remember enjoying it (although I did enjoy Emma a lot more). From what you’ve written it seems to me that I should definitely get to adding these works to my TBR sooner rather than later. I loved your post! Cheers!

  2. I really like Northanger Abbey (particularly the first 2/3rds of the novel, though I know it is also not necessarily a fan favorite). I think Emma is my favorite of hers.

  3. I’m reading this on my kindle and am almost done. I’m on the part where Marianne got sick. Getting so close I might finish tonight or tomorrow. I never thought about it, but you’re right. From the start, Marianne and Elinor are thwarted in good things. Every time something good happens, something comes along to mess it up. Happy childhood at Norland? Dead father, in-laws come to take away their home. Falling in love with your sister in-law’s brother, he’s engaged to someone else. Jane knew what she was doing.

  4. Yeah, S&S isn’t really one of my favorites – the girls wound up with the wrong guys! I prefer Pride and Prejudice (I know it’s ridiculously overplayed as Austen’s best, but it . . . kind of is her best), and Emma. Northanger Abbey is really good, too! I hope you like it.

  5. I would love to be reading Austen for the time. I’ve read all her books many times (Persuasion is my favourite), but there is something about the beauty of discovering her words for the first time that stays with you.

  6. Funny thing read about Jane Austen here on your blog. I’m reading Persuasion now, Jane Austen’s last novel. I already read almost everything she wrote. If you liked Sense and Sensibility, for sure you’ll love more from her.

  7. I’ve never read S&S, but I think it might have to be the next Austen one on my list, after this post and because I’m particularly enjoying the “Elinor & Marianne Take Barton” YouTube series at the moment. I’ve read P&P and Emma though, both of which I enjoyed a lot (as well as their respective YouTube series!). The only other one I’ve read is Northanger Abbey, which was actually for class (unlike the others) and it was the one I enjoyed the least – not sure if that’s because I had a presentation on it though! I’ll be interested to know what you make of it though!

  8. I’ve only read P&P which I thought was okay. I really wasn’t that thrilled by any of the characters… Maybe I’ll give Austen another shot though, especially after reading your thoughts on S&S. x

  9. Make sure you understand what Northanger Abbey is. The first time I read it (I’ve read all of her novels and love them), I didn’t get it. When I did some research, I found out it is intended to be a short of parody of Gothoc novels at the time. Reading it again armed with that information, the book is much more enjoyable.

  10. Reading your review has renewed by interest in Jane Austen. I’ve read and loved only two books by her before but I do wish to get more of her books during the year.

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