Marianne: Esteem him? Like him? Use those insipid words again and I shall leave the room this instant.
No two sisters could be quite as unlike, and yet so close, as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Elinor, the older sister, governs herself with sense and wisdom, always practical and not allowing her emotions to run away with her. Marianne, on the other hand, feels deeply and passionately and lets others know it. Their approaches to life vary greatly: after the death of their father at the beginning of the story, Marianne spends much time weeping and playing mournful songs on the pianoforte, while Elinor rallies herself to help her family find a new home. Their approaches to romance differ very greatly too: Elinor keeps her heart and waits patiently and does not share her emotional struggles with others, while Marianne wears her heart on her sleeve; when she falls in love, she falls totally in. When someone steps in and destroys Elinor's hope of love and marriage, Elinor hides her emotions from others and keeps her promise to Lucy to remain silent (reminding me of the verse in Psalms that speaks of the righteous person who "swears to [her] own her and does not change"); Marianne, on the other hand, when her romance is suddenly shattered, weeps night and day and even risks her health by walking out in the rain to see the house that would have one day been her own.
The following dialogues, in separate scenes of the movie, illustrate the girls' very different outlooks on and responses to matters of love:
Mrs. Dashwood: You must miss him Elinor.
Elinor Dashwood: We are not engaged Mamma.
Mrs. Dashwood: But he loves you dearest, of that I am sure.
Elinor Dashwood: I am by no means assured of his regard and even were he to feel such a preference I think we should both be very foolish to assume that there would not be many obstacles to his marrying a woman of no rank who cannot afford to buy sugar.
Mrs. Dashwood: But Elinor, your heart must tell you...
Elinor Dashwood: In such a case it is perhaps better to use one's head.
Mrs. Dashwood: Why so grave? You disapprove her choice?
Marianne: By no means. Edward is very amiable.
Mrs. Dashwood: Amiable? But?
Marianne: There is something wanting. He's too sedate. His reading last night...
Mrs. Dashwood: Elinor has not your feelings. His reserve suits her.
Marianne: Can he love her? Can the soul be really be satisfied with such polite affections? To love is to burn - to be on fire, like Juliet or Guinevere or Eloise...
Mrs. Dashwood: They made rather pathetic ends, dear.
Marianne: Pathetic? To die for love? How can you say so? What could be more glorious?
Mrs. Dashwood: I think that would be taking your romantic sensibilities a little far.
I love Sense and Sensibility, partly because it is such a beautiful story, mainly because the Dashwood sisters remind me so much of my own family, and the circumstances related are so REAL. I do not know how Jane Austen managed to make her characters and story events so true to life, so applicable to us today, but somehow she did.
Jane Austen hit the nail on the head when she crafted the characters of Sense and Sensibility, especially the Dashwood sisters. A mix of sense and of sensibility, of reserve and of emotion; balancing each other; sticking together in difficult times and being there for one another; learning from each other and helping each other. In the words of that one song, "All kinds of weather, we stick together; the same in the rain and sun..." This is sisterhood.
|Our "Dashwood" Family: Elinor, Marianne, Mamma, Margaret :-)|