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The Novel Sense and sensibility written by
Jane Austen revolves around two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.

They went in search of their true loves and had to face countless challenges in
their paths. Like Pride and Prejudice the title has a great significance. “Sense”
was personified by Elinor, the older of the two sisters, because of her
reasonable demeanour, a sense of responsibility and realism when it comes to
the betterment of not only the people around her but in society as well. Marianne,
the complete opposite of her sister represented “Sensibility”. Her spontaneous
and impulsive ideas and her rapturous loyalty the people she loved. She had a
flair for the dramatic and was never afraid of her emotions. While the
perfection and coolness of Elinor’s character might be off-putting to many
reader. But because as reader’s we are privy to the emotions she hides to the
world, I came to understand that the façade of coolness and composure came with
the “Sense” Elinor had come to regard as more important. The way the girls
pursue their true loves also added to the contrast of the two words. Elinor hid
her love for Edward Ferrars while Marianne was openly passionate about how she
felt for John Willoughby.

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One of
my favorite aspect was how Jane Austen was able to portray the literary
landscape of the time in which she wrote the novel, through the two sisters and
the title. This was seen through the polarity of the two words. The novel was
written during the eighteenth century which was on the cusp of two very significant
cultural movements that had an influence on the lives of everyone: Classicism
and Romanticism. Elinor was the perfect personification of the neo-classicism
of that century. She was rational, insightful and her judgments were balanced
and thoroughly thought out. She made sure to remind Marianne that they could
not maintain the upkeep the horse and that their mother could not help either.

Elinor knowing, she had the responsibility to tell her sister that is was
unbecoming of her to go to Allenham alone with Willoughby. Marianne
wept inconsolably when her family had to move away from “dear, dear Norland”
and was willing to give her lock of hair to Willoughby. Everything that Elinor was
not, Marianne was. She embraced romance and imagination whole heartedly.

She had an immense love for the beauty around her. She was the portrayal of every
quality associated with the “cult of sensibility”. The two girls reflected not
only the two words but also the changing literary landscape of the eighteenth
century.

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