Jane Austen January: A tale to relish

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“The family of Dashwood had been long settled in Sussex”

These are the opening lines of one of my favourite novels of all time. At first when I read I thought it a very unassuming starting and that elusiveness is what I like most about it now. It was indeed a very happy excuse for me to read Sense and Sensibility so slowly, allowing for other hum drum things to get in the way, while I thoroughly took in the tale one bit at a time, once again. But nevertheless it was fresh as ever. I never stop being amazed with the little astonishing dialogues and other tit bits that I missed last time.

I love stories where there’s less crowd and more action. This is exactly one such story. Though I’m easily provoked to declare every one of Austen’s novels as my favourite, I completely reserve my total love to Sense and Sensibility. Elinor and Marianne, are just the two sisters who can capture my interest- one all composure, the other all passion. I’ve always admired how much their characters do justice to the title, the words- Sense and Sensibility. I suppose that’s the beauty of a classic- you love it through and through from its title to the font of the print in various versions.

But this isn’t just about the superfluous beauty for the story is well entrenched into the ways and workings of the society which makes it a perfect mirror to project love and despair in all its intricacies. Elinor and her sister, poles apart in their personas eventually set their hearts upon men who are equally different from one another. But strangely their hearts are broken in an arguably similar manner- in that they both have other women who are in the way, for quite dissimilar reasons though. While Elinor secretly suffers her losses, Marianne, whose love for Mr.Willouby, was openly known to the world, is mortified to know that he was to marry another lady Miss Gray. A typical heartbreaking twist yet the reasons for the betrayal that unfold and the way in which they are introduced to the reader sets its mark as a work of Jane Austen. Elinor’s disappointment in Mr. Edward Ferrars’ secret engagement to Miss Lucy, her short time companion, is borne by her with so much of natural virtue.

Of course the sisters meet with happy endings in the end, as all of Austen’s lucky heroines. But the intermediary trials and lessons of Elinor and Marianne are certainly endearing. Marianne’s notions of love and wild passion are subdued by her shockingly disappointing relationship with Willouby and she learns to love sensibly in the end and finds happiness in her long time admirer and well wisher, Colonel Brandon. For Elinor it’s more of a test of her fortitude and constancy that she triumphs to be rewarded with a happy life with Edward Ferrars.

I love the book for three others reasons apart from the beauty of the tale. Firstly it is the ironies that are aplenty and very humourous to note, as always. The most important one bring that Edward who couldn’t read with feeling for the entire world, wished to take orders. I constantly kept imagining the annoying Mrs. Palmers saying, “Oh! How droll Mr. Ferrars sermons are!” Secondly, the characters with whom I instantly got used to than I usually do interested me. Thirdly, the beautiful parks and walks that Marianne so enjoys earnestly made me yearn, once again, to live in that fanciful era.

I must also admit that I have myself learnt a few vital lessons for Elinor represents the kind of person I certainly wish to be and Marianne’s character is nearly what I am.  If I have to recommend a great read now with delightful people, well plotted story with romance too, one that you would want to read over and over, it should be this.


6 thoughts on “Jane Austen January: A tale to relish

  1. Thanks for posting an insightful overview of S & S. It encompasses fully Jane Austen’s ingenuity. Just curious, how do you like the film adaptation of S & S, with Emma Thompson and the whole gang?

    • Actually being a die-hard fan of Austen I musn’t be saying this. But to be outright honest, I found the movie a tad more better in terms of clarity of emotions. Let me start at the end of the movie. The last part where Willouby is seen looking at Marianne’s wedding totally does justice to the kind of character he is. Contrasted with this the ending in the book, was a little bit away from the theme I felt.

      “Between Barton and Delaford, there was that constant communication which strong family affection would naturally dictate; – and among the merits and the happiness of Elinor and Marianne, let it not be ranked as the least considerable, that though sisters, and living almost within sight of each other, they could live without disagreement between themselves, or producing coolness between their husbands.”

      Now that was a bit out of the way for the sisters are given to be understood as inseparable though they vary in their idealogies greatly. Though it is typical of Autsen to give very unsassuming beginnings and endings I would have liked a little more sassier ending. But of course I am not be the best judge. So am I guilty of defection here? I sincerely hope not for I’ve always been attached to her writings from a very young age. But every re-reading throws up new things which I was totally blind to all along.

      Do let me know what you thought of the movie too. And I’m glad you thought my review was insightful 🙂

  2. I’m looking forward to reading Sense and Sensibility. Sadly though, I don’t have a copy of it so my next book will be Pride and Prejudice for which I’m equally excited. Thanks for hosting this Jane Austen Blogfest! I am having so much fun re-discovering Austen. I’m beginning to think that one reading isn’t enough to fully enjoy her books 😉

  3. Sigh. I feel so terrible about Jane Austen January. I was so excited about it, but my writing life completely took over. Even though I really enjoy Persuasion. I really want to read Sense and Sensibility next, even if January comes to an end before I get to it. 🙂

    • Aw I know. My progress has been a bit slow too, not as planned I should say, and for the same reason. I’m keeping my hopes on though, to be able to finish Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park 🙂 I’m almost done with Pride and Prejudice. Anyway Good luck with your writing 🙂

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