Saturday, July 20, 2019

Sense and Sensibility :: Literary Analysis, Jane Austen

Benevolent, willing, and knowledgeable—are all characteristics of Elinor Dashwood. Authors often use characteristics of characters to portray them as imperative pieces of the plot. In Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Elinor is shown as an important character through her compassion towards others and her willingness to help her family through difficult situations. Readers first see Elinor’s importance to the novel through her compassion towards Colonel Brandon, John Willoughby, and Edward Ferrars. When Colonel Brandon came into her life she treated him with very little compassion but as time went on â€Å"Elinor’s compassion for him increased† (47). Her compassion radiates through her determination to always engage in a conversation with him: â€Å"and talk to Elinor, who often derived more satisfaction from conversing with him than from any other daily occurrence† (145). Throughout the novel the readers see that Elinor dislikes Willoughby but after he breaks Marianne’s dislike turns into abhor. However, when Willoughby comes to Cleveland to apologize and explain, â€Å"Elinor’s heart, which had undergone many changes in the course of this extraordinary conversation, was now softened again† (292). Elinor has to deal with her own pain and hurt from her rejection. When they return home from Cleve land Edward arrives and asks for forgiveness. Elinor bestows compassion upon Edward in the form of accepting his marriage proposal and then marrying him: â€Å"The first month after [Edward and Elinor’s] marriage† (336). Through her compassion towards these three characters readers see the importance of her presence in the novel. Next the readers see how Elinor willingly helps her sister get through adversities in her life. â€Å"Elinor was to be the comforter of others in her own distresses, no less than in theirs; and all the comfort that could be given by assurances of her own composure of mind† (228). So therefore, Elinor unselfishly puts aside her emotions to comfort Marianne after Willoughby rejects her and breaks her heart: â€Å"What!—while attending me in all my misery, has this been your heart?† (229). Marianne realizes that Elinor has known about Edward’s engagement to Lucy, but she chose to put it behind her in order to comfort her. This pain has been weighing Elinor’s heart for four months, which makes it even harder for Marianne to understand. â€Å"Four months!—cried Marianne again—so calm!—so cheerful!—how have you been supported?† (229). Elinor’s answer to this inquiry shows clearly why she chose to be selfless and conceal her pain: â€Å"and I owed it to my family and friends, not to create in them a solicitude about me† (229).

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