Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys melodramatic romances with love triangles. Though the back cover on my copy suggests that this story is a tragedy of lost love, it comes off as more of a romantic comedy because of the absurd characters, rampant satire, as well as irony. This book would suite anyone who enjoyed Pride and Prejudice, though I do prefer the latter.
Most of the family members are very amusing, but I do get annoyed with the two protagonists Marianne and Elinor. Both of them come off as snobby. They get portrayed as superior to the other characters in taste, morals, intelligence, talent, beauty, and manners. But, they get disgusted by everyone who breaks their unspoken rules of taste and conduct. Marianne is the worst at this, and it's satisfying to see her undergo a transformation at the end. Elinor, however, hasn't changed much even though I think she could improve her ability to communicate emotions. Her problem is that she looks down on people who display excessive emotions. But she never really addresses how her stoicism lead to her loved ones hurting her unintentionally and then said persons becoming really upset when they found out how they've hurt her.
The book doesn't get interesting until the climax because there's very little suspense or action, besides Elinors' lukewarm and Marianne's off-the-scene trysts. However, the fallout makes the book worth reading. There are incredible insights into how vanity can make someone an absolute wreck. in addition, the book shows how people can grow to love someone and change in the process of the relationship. I think it's a good counter-message to the idea of "chemistry" and "love at first sight". Also, it shows why men of integrity is much more admirable than taste and passion in a man.
In this book, sense as portrayed by Elinor is the ability to socially manuveur while avoiding disgracing yourself, offending others, and being manipulated. Whereas, sensibility as portrayed by Marianne is the ability to properly appreciate beauty and respond emotively. Sense seems to be superior to sensibility because Marianne had to change and Elinor didn't. However, I think Marianne at the end of the book had a better balance of sense and sensibility, and it shows in her ability to attract a richer suitor than her sister. Sensibility is still really important because it makes life pleasurable and worth living. And it also seems to have a transformational, or healing power over Marianne's husband.
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