Saturday, March 16, 2013

'For the Betterment of her Mind', Book Review: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Remember the 'For the Betterment of her Mind' reading challenge I decided to create for myself way back in December? Well, I've been steadily working through my list of classic reads to complete before September! You wouldn't have guessed that from this blog though, would you?? I finished my first pick, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, way back in January! Long story short, one thing led to another and I hadn't sat down to put together a post about the book until now. Better late than never, though, eh?

**From here down it's free of spoilers, so read at ease!**

Plot Summary:
Sense and Sensibility tells the story of two sisters, Marianne and Elanor Dashwood. Following the death of their father, and their brother's inheriting of their house, they move with their mother and younger sister to a comfortable cottage owned by their cousin Sir John. While they settle into their life, an accident involving Marianne brings Mr. Willoughby suddenly (and valiantly) into their lives. As Willoughby and Marianne quickly fall in love, Elanor becomes of aware of Colonel Brandon and his infatuation with her sister. Colonel Brandon, both because of Willoughby and his own age, suffers from a distance as he grows to love Marianne more and more. Gone away on urgent business, Colonel Brandon eventually returns to the scene with shocking news concerning Willoughby's character. As Elanor works steadily to care for and comfort the many players, as well as protect her sister, she must also deal with the uncertain love between her and a certain Mr. Ferrars. 

Major Themes:
Though technically a romance novel, one of the major focuses is the relationship between the two sisters. I suppose one theme would be the different types of love.

Favorite Quote:
True to from, Miss Austen peppered the book with many witty comments! I believe I liked this one the best, though: "As a house, Barton Cottage, though small, was comfortable and compact; but as a cottage it was defective, for the building was regular, the roof tiled, the window shutters were not painted green, nor were the walls covered with honeysuckles." -Chapter 6

A Peek at the Author:
Jane Austen lived from December 16 (we are 'birthday twins'!), 1775,  to July 18, 1817. She was the seventh child and only the second daughter in her family. At the age of 8, Jane along with her elder sister Cassandra were sent to Boarding school. The atmosphere in the Austen household was friendly and warm. Most of Jane's early writing centered around creating skits for her family, or funny stories to read aloud. When Jane first penned Sense and Sensibility under the original title of Elanor and Marianne, she would read her novel aloud to the family. Sense and Sensibility was first published in 1811, but gave no name as to the author. It wasn't until after Jane's death in July 1817 that her brother wrote a touching letter, telling the public who the author of their beloved works was. 

Overall Thoughts:
Sense and Sensibility didn't disappoint. The witty dialogue, complex characters, and rather sarcastic writing style made for a novel that couldn't be put down. Though different in so many ways, you come away loving Marianne and Elanor even for their faults. This was my first Austen, and I can't wait to pick up another!! If you're in the mood for charm, wit, simpler times and great plot, pick up Sense and Sensibility!

I was SUPER excited to see that you can read a full version of Sense and Sensibility online! 

**You know how I can't write anything without spoilers? Well, this is no from here down with caution!**

Quick discussion point for those of you who've read it: Was anyone else super surprised by Mr. Willoughby and Colonel Brandon's ward?? And what about Mr. Ferrars and Miss Lucy Steele? Got to admit, I didn't see it coming!!

via...This is totally so you don't have to look at my above spoiler! :P
Your Thoughts?: How many of you have read Sense and Sensibility? For pleasure or for school? Have any of you been joining me on this reading challenge? What's your favorite of Austen's works? For film, which version of Sense and Sensibility is your favorite?

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