Saturday, January 4, 2014

Jane Austen Review Challenge: Sense and Sensibility

*Sigh*  This is days late.  My apologies.  Life has been quite hectic lately. ;)
Anyways.  Sense and Sensibility (hereafter known as S&S) was the first book on my list, and thus is the first to be reviewed.  Without further ado...
SS was the second Austen book I read, after Emma.  I was pretty favorably impressed by it, although it wasn't my favorite; it was too...dry, for my tastes.

On my second reading of it, I enjoyed it much more, and I realized, too, what an unusual story it was for Jane Austen.  I mean this in the best way possible, of course, but she doesn't usually write about Deep Dark Stuff and S&S is certainly not a book that you come away from thinking of cute fuzzy teddy bears and sparkly rainbows. :P

Anyways.  I read it a third time after that, just a quick read-through, and it became, oh, my third-favorite or so.  

So that's the background!  This was my fourth read of S&S, I really like it, the end.
...Haha, not. ;P

The first thing that was new for me was the introduction.  I don't usually read introductions, because I want to get to the story and all.  But I figured that I should probably do a complete reading of the book this time, so I started it from the very beginning.

It was...interesting.  Marianne was talked about a lot, and I realized something that somehow had completely slipped by me: namely, that she was really a character from a Melodramatic Novel put in the "real world," as it were.   She's still really fleshed out and sympathetic, however, which I think is a great testament to JA's writing, that someone with such romantic ideas could still be real.

With that in mind, I looked at some of her adventures in the book in a whole new light: mainly, her interactions with Colonel Brandon.  He's so, well, normal that he seems to be the last person she could ever marry, and yet, she does, because I think that she needs a normal person.  She needs someone who's respectable and practical and will moderate her romantic ideas.  Willoughby broke her heart, but even if he'd married her, their life wouldn't have been very happy, and I don't think Marianne's character would have improved at all.

Speaking of Colonel Brandon.  I think I "got" him this time!  Melody, in a post about Mr. Darcy, stated, "Something I’ve noticed about this hero is that you either “get it” or you don’t," and I think the same is true for Colonel Brandon.  His character just impressed me this time, by his patience and courtesy when dealing with Mrs. Jennings, &c., and his selfless love for Marianne.  I've always kind of written him off as a minor character and thought his marriage to Marianne too sudden at the end, but he was different somehow.  

The last thing that really made an impression on me this time was Elinor.  Most of you probably know that she's my favorite Austen heroine and I really admire her.  However, I found myself seeing more of her flaws, the main one being her excess of "sense".  This is probably a reaction to Marianne and her mother's excessive sensibility, but sometimes it seemed to me that Elinor was writing off all romantic ideas and not just the preposterous ones.  For example, when Marianne gets sick, Elinor just tells her to get some rest, convinced that it's pretty much in her imagination and not allowing that Marianne may actually be in danger.

So those were my thoughts on my fourth read-through!  Again, my apologies for the lateness of this post. :)
-Miss Jane Bennet


GreenMedallion said...

You've made some interesting points.

To tell the truth, I never even finished S&S. I've read all of Jane Austen's other novels completely except this one. Maybe because it's a little dry... Though Mansfield Park is a little dry too, in my opinion, but I managed to finish it. Maybe it's because I tried reading S&S when I was younger and didn't have the strength of will needed to finish it. ;) Or maybe it's because, of all of Jane Austen's stories, S&S is my least favorite.

Oh, I still like it. Just not as much as the others.

As for who I can relate to more - Marianne or Elinor - I'd have to say I'm both of them equally. I'm probably more Marianne on the inside and Elinor on the outside, if that makes any sense. ;p

I enjoyed reading this!

Ella said...

I just found your blog through Melody's blog Regency Delight.

I have read this book twice and I enjoyed it both times. To me it is pretty realistic and believable, unlike some modern Christian romance books.

I hope you have a great day!

Jack said...

I saw the movie a long while ago. I didn't think I would like it, but I enjoyed it and have been meaning to rewatch it. I'm even considering reading the book, but Emma is first because all my friends say I am a lot like her and I want to see if that is a good or bad thing. (I'm watching the adaption they are doing on the internet, with the video blogs, and right now she is nosy and kind of annoying, so I think it might be a bad thing to be like her.)
This was a great story though and I loved Colonel Brandon a lot.And the little sister

Miss Jane Bennet said...

Oh, I understand that. It took me three Austen books to really start to like her.
That makes sense! Then again, Elinor has Marianne's feelings (just with more self-control), so I suppose you could say that you're more like Elinor. :)
Thanks! :)

Definitely! JA is the best of the best. :)
Thanks! You too! :)

Yes, the movie is really good. And Margaret is cute--even if she actually has a bigger role in the movie than in the book.
Emma is a very good book; I highly recommend it! Emma is annoying and insufferable at first, but she improves as the story goes on, and she's rich, beautiful and happy to boot. ;D
Thanks for commenting! :)