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#162925 - Tue Mar 11 2003 08:41 PM Sense and Sensibility characters
janefan Offline
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Who is your favorite character(s) in Sense and Sensibility? I like Marianne, because she's quiet, but not introverted. I love some of her witty replies to Willoughby. Also, who is your LEAST favorite character(s)? Mine are Willoughby, Mrs. Jennings, and Mrs. John Dashwood.

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#162926 - Wed Mar 12 2003 10:47 AM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters (spoiler)
skylarb Offline
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Elinor, because she is the strongest character. Sensible, enduring loss quietly, leading her family, etc.

I also like Brandon, because of his quiet strength, dependability, etc.

The very first time I read this book--and this was the only time I ever got a Jane Austen outcome wrong (usually they are predictable)--I thought for a short time that Elinor and Brandon would end up together.
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#162927 - Fri Mar 14 2003 07:37 AM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters (spoiler)
radioderv Offline
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Brandon is one of my favourites. Fanny and John Dashwood are my least favourites because of the way they gloated over getting the house when old Mr. Dashwood died. They behave in a tasteless way towards the female Dashwoods.
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#162928 - Fri Mar 14 2003 08:39 AM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters (spoiler)
ren33 Offline
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Lucy is , to my mind a complete and utter cow. She gloats over having been engaged to Edward and then again after her marriage to Robert, when she makes sure that Elinor finds out, but fails to let her know it is Robert and not Edward that she has married. Nasty!
I like Mrs Jennings, I find her very generous to the girls, and her gossip and matchmaking are amusing.
One of my favourite minor characters is Mr Palmer. he calls a spade a spade! He really reminds me of Mr Bennett when he is exasperated. Very funny.
Neither of the Dashwood girls appeals to me much. Not like Lizzy Bennett, or Emma. They seem to have less spirit really.
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#162929 - Fri Mar 14 2003 10:54 AM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters (spoiler)
skylarb Offline
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I, too, have always liked Mr. Palmer, though, like Mr. Bennet, I think the author intends us to see his flaws as well, his insensitivity. But becuase he makes me laugh, I tend to favor him. The droll, wry character, who makes us laugh at the expense of the sillier characters, is always enjoyable.
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#162930 - Fri Mar 14 2003 03:14 PM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
janefan Offline
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I also like Mr. Palmer; I think the actor who plays him in the film does a very good job of portraying him.

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#162931 - Fri Mar 14 2003 05:09 PM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
DieHard Offline
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I like none of them....well, perhaps Mr. Palmer for the reason ren stated. These women have their corsets wound so tight as to force their noses in the air and they spend most of their time recovering from the vapors. Thank God I was born in the 20th century. I'll admit that I find myself laboring through this book as it reads like a Victorian Lifetime movie. I'll also admit I'm not very refined.
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#162932 - Sat Mar 15 2003 08:37 PM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
DieHard Offline
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OK, OK, I'll admit to liking Elinor, Edward, and Colonel Brandon. Edward is just a poor, innocent fool; Brandon seems a man of honor, and Elinor conducts herself with "forebearance", "restraint", and "fortitude" - all qualities I highly admire. I finished it today (thank God ) and it wasn't a bad book if you like Jackie Collins ....just teasing
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#162933 - Sun Mar 16 2003 10:01 AM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
LindaC007 Offline
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I like Elinor, too. In the entire family of ladies, she seems to be the only one that is the slightest bit practical.

Mrs. John Dashwood embodies the things I absolutely can't abide in a person. She is so absolutely selfish and is a such a snob, too. I don't like Edward's mother, either, or Lucy.




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#162934 - Tue Mar 18 2003 01:56 PM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
TabbyTom Offline
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Well, my favourite character has to be Brandon, for the same reasons as everyone else's.

Like most of you, I also admire Elinor for her practicality. Her mother's complete lack of practicality has obviously obliged her (the eldest daughter) to cultivate sense, and maybe this in turn has allowed her younger sister to indulge her sensibility

Edward, I think, is a thoroughly decent type. He's been unfortunate enough to get entangled with Lucy when he's really only a boy, but he feels honour bound to stand by her in spite of his mother's sanctions and the attractions of Elinor. Then, when he's free to marry Elinor, he proposes to her although it seems quite likely that this will only confirm his mother in her ill will towards him.

I agree with Ren about Mrs Jennings. She may be a bit empty-headed and a hell of a chatterbox, but her heart's very obviously in the right place.

I agree with the opinions that have been expressed about the abominable egoist and snob Mrs John Dashwood and Mrs Ferrars.

The character I can't make up my mind about is Lucy Steele. It's hard to disagree with Ren's assessment of her as a "complete and utter cow", but what choice has she got? She's a younger daughter in a family who are considerably worse off than the Dashwoods (and the Dashwoods, by the standards of "respectable" society, are pretty hard up). She's too far up the social scale to be allowed to work and too far down to "make a good match" unless she sets her mind to it. So she sets about quite single-mindedly to capture the most eligible man she can, and has no qualms about ditching one man for another if she has to. She obviously knows that, if she can't snare someone like Edward or Robert, she'll probably end up as something like the wife of a penniless schoolmaster in Exeter or a "companion" to some creature like Mrs Ferrars. Her scheming isn't very edifying when we see it in action, but I can't help admiring her strength of purpose. She's been placed in a "marriage market" in which she has very little to offer, and she sets out her wares to the best advantage. And she and the ineffably silly Robert are pretty well suited to each other: she'll flatter his vanity and he'll make sure (if only to reflect credit on himself) that she's pretty well provided for. Yes, on the whole, I'm inclined to say I don't like Lucy but I have to admire her: she didn't make the rules of the game but she has to play by them, and she knows she's got to be hard if she wants to break even, let alone win.
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#162935 - Tue Mar 18 2003 02:49 PM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
skylarb Offline
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Lucy Steele may have to snag a man to survive in this world, but she doesn't have to rub it in to Elinor. Then again...maybe she does. She fears Edward slipping away from her; she knows Elinor to be sensible; so if she reveals to Elinor she is engaged to Edward, she knows Elinor will not "pursue" him, so to speak.

I'm not sure what her motive in the switch to Robert is. I think more likely it is a plot convention--a matter of convenience to give us the happy ending we desire, without requiring Edward to sacrifice his virtue. (The good ARE often rewarded in fiction, which is part of what makes it enjoyable.) Certainly, Edward would have gone through with the marriage, so she did not have to switch. But it is a matter of ego petting for her (he flatters her, whereas Edward's heart has already strayed, an insult to any engaged woman). And it is a matter of plot necessity for the author.

At any rate, I canít bring myself to pity her.
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#162936 - Sun Mar 23 2003 06:36 AM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
TabbyTom Offline
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Quote:

I like none of them....well, perhaps Mr. Palmer for the reason ren stated. These women have their corsets wound so tight as to force their noses in the air and they spend most of their time recovering from the vapors. Thank God I was born in the 20th century.





I rather hoped that this post might spark off a bit of discussion, since it's a criticism that I've often heard levelled at this sort of novel. Do the different social conventions of Jane Austen's day prevent us from sympathizing with her characters (especially her women) as fully as we might with the characters of a work of our own time? The Dashwood women have practically no freedom of action: does this make them less interesting than more modern heroines? Or does Jane Austen make us care about them all the more?



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#162937 - Sun Mar 23 2003 05:06 PM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
janefan Offline
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Though their social conditions were different, people are people, and Elinor and Marianne are just as appealing to me as any modern novelist's character could be. The same wants and emotions that drive us drove them...I also can sympathize with the characters because Jane saw how utterly ridiculous were some of the customs of her time... it's not as if she's just describing the world around her, but she comments on it in the most subtle and amusing ways.

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#162938 - Mon Mar 24 2003 01:32 PM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
LindaC007 Offline
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I think Sense And Sensibility is really sort of a gentle satire of the upper class and their romantic entanglements at the time that Jane Austen was writing.

I have finished the book, and I will say that
I may not have liked some of the characters and their actions, but I really had great fun reading about them all!

I think Elinor is still my favorite character, and, I liked Edward even better at the end of the story than I did at the beginning.

I know that more that I found out about Willoughby. the less I liked him. He was the kind of man that could turn a young girl's head--but he was all flash and smoke. He certainly was not very honorable in his dealings with women.

Edward's mother would not be certainly a mother-in-law I would have wanted for myself, but I think Lucy, with her false flattering and attentiveness, was the perfect daughter-in-law.


Did anyone else but me think that Elinor reminded them a lot of Jo from Little Women?

I think that Marianne did a lot of maturing and growing up by the end of the book. She, of all the characters, really seemed to change the most.





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#162939 - Mon Mar 24 2003 01:55 PM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
skylarb Offline
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Quote:

Quote:

These women have their corsets wound so tight as to force their noses in the air and they spend most of their time recovering from the vapors. Thank God I was born in the 20th century.




I rather hoped that this post might spark off a bit of discussion, since it's a criticism that I've often heard levelled at this sort of novel. Do the different social conventions of Jane Austen's day prevent us from sympathizing with her characters (especially her women) as fully as we might with the characters of a work of our own time? The Dashwood women have practically no freedom of action: does this make them less interesting than more modern heroines? Or does Jane Austen make us care about them all the more?





To be honest, the reason I didn't reply to that statement was that I just don't feel that way even remotely; it seemed so far off from the way I take Jane Austen that I just let it slide; I didnít think I could convince anyone who felt that way to think differently. Sometimes things just come down to personal perspective, and discussion does not really achieve much. But, since you brought it to my attention again, Iíll take the time now to say why it really struck me as being off the mark:

I get the impressions of very strong, independent minded heroines from Austen; not women with corsets forcing their noses into snobbish poses (this might be a generalization of some of the villains of her novels--but never the heroines). Austen paints her female characters with such depth that I think it is very easy to relate to them even in the 20th century; though societal conventions may change, the perennial themes of our lives often do not: love, heartache, insecurity, maturing into a more moderate optimism rather than an unrealistic youthful idealism, and so on. One reason I think Austen is still so popular today is that--even in the almost 200 years since she wrote--literature has yet to produce many (if indeed any) female heroines of greater depth and strength. Austen is sometimes underrated today, I think, because she tended to be socially conservative (unlike the more obviously feminist Brontes), but her works speak of feminine strength in a way more subtle and convincing than do those of our more modern (and ďfeministĒ) writers. Austen also does not, while showing the individuality of her heroines, overlook the fact that men and women really are not radically different in their value systems, and that they can complement one another, and that a woman can, in fact, look up to a man man without being ďweakĒ herself; indeed, while being much stronger and much more stable than most of the women we see in 20th century literature today.

So thereís my two cents on the matter. Notwithstanding (assuming the country of birth is a constant), I would much rather be born in the 20th century too! Iím defending the depth of the literature, not the idea that itís better to live in the past.
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#162940 - Mon Mar 24 2003 03:44 PM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
DieHard Offline
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I made my comments partly in jest thinking that it may invoke some reaction. As I admitted in a later posts, Austen's main characters, her heroines, are indeed admirable and their character, especially Elinores in this novel, stands out among their peers.
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#162941 - Tue Mar 25 2003 06:58 AM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
LindaC007 Offline
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Most of these ladies, to me, were not admirable. Lucy, Edward's mother, Mrs. John Dashwood, Lady Middleton, none of these would I ever wanted to have anything to do with (if they were real). This does not mean that I did not enjoy reading about them. I did enjoy Pride and Prejudice very much. Jane Asten's charm for me, is that she saw Society of her time for what it was. It was full of social climbing and snobbery. I am sure that is still true today. The trick here is that Jane Austen told her story in such a way that I can stand back and be amused by it all. Underneath this gentle exterior, I think Austen must have had a wickedly funny sense of humor. She used it to full advantage in Pride and Prejudice, too.
Austen, now, I would love to have meet. I think she would have been a fine dinner companion.



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#162942 - Tue Mar 25 2003 08:46 AM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
skylarb Offline
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Quote:

I made my comments partly in jest thinking that it may invoke some reaction. As I admitted in a later posts, Austen's main characters, her heroines, are indeed admirable and their character, especially Elinores in this novel, stands out among their peers.




Which part was in earnest? That may get some discussion going as well.
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#162943 - Tue Mar 25 2003 08:51 AM Re: Sense and Sensibility characters
skylarb Offline
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Quote:

Most of these ladies, to me, were not admirable. Lucy, Edward's mother, Mrs. John Dashwood, Lady Middleton, none of these would I ever wanted to have anything to do with (if they were real). This does not mean that I did not enjoy reading about them. I did enjoy Pride and Prejudice very much. Jane Asten's charm for me, is that she saw Society of her time for what it was. It was full of social climbing and snobbery. I am sure that is still true today. The trick here is that Jane Austen told her story in such a way that I can stand back and be amused by it all. Underneath this gentle exterior, I think Austen must have had a wickedly funny sense of humor. She used it to full advantage in Pride and Prejudice, too.
Austen, now, I would love to have meet. I think she would have been a fine dinner companion.





No, those women aren't admirable, but then they are not the heroines. They are, for lack of better terminology, the villains and/or the comic relief. Austen is a wonderful satirist; she can see the folly and pettitness in humankind and embody it in these creations of hers; but she can also see the virtues and strengths and put them in her heroines to balance thier weaknesses. So, while she is not a romantic in the sense of being idealistic, she is not a pessimist either. She achieves a good balance.
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