…and the quest to see everything

Book: Sense and Sensibility

I finished this book on February 15th for a Jane Austen Book Club. We’re never going to have our first meeting. Sad. The first thing that comes to mind is the dialogue, impressionistic between the Dashwoods, focusing instead on portraying a pastoral tone through narrative. The novel seems more dialogue-centred during chapters when Elinor and Marianne encounter male characters. Some conversations are either omitted, or through hearsay, obscured so that even the Dashwoods don’t know their endings. dialogue is important both in form and content in this book because it cements or disintegrates the female characters’ engagements with their suitors.

Had Austen been born in this era, Elinor would have rolled her eyes at people, especially when it comes to the alleged relationship between her and one of Marianne’s suitors, Colonel Brandon. This platonic relationship is probably Elinor returning the favour to Marianne with the latter’s few conversations with the former’s suitor Edward Ferrars. Marianne and Edward both hate jargon, the former’s poetic personality refreshed by Edward’s simplicity.

The book also perfectly encapsulates female heartbreak. I’ve seen it personally and it’s nasty and can almost suck the soul out of someone. Yes, and even if the book is mostly from Elinor’s perspective, Marianne’s heartbreak is more tragic. Speaking of conversations, Elinor has a last conversation with Willoughby that doesn’t really make him sympathetic, no matter how hard Austen tries to sway us.

The only adaptation of the book that I’ve seen is from Emma Thompson’s screenplay. Willoughby’s introduction scene still makes me giddy, even if I know how he really is. Eventually having to cast herself as Elinor, Thompson is the wrong age for the part. But I can’t help but hear her voice when I’m reading Elinor’s dialogue. Pardon the limp wordplay, but Thompson’s adds sensibility and soul to make Elinor and Austen proud. Also, House is in this movie.

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8 responses

  1. rtm

    Oh you’re in a Jane Austen book club?? I’m jealous!! I wish I could join one, I’ve always wanted to ever since I read the book by that name and saw the movie.

    I really, really should read S&S book, I’ve only read Persuasion and parts of Pride & Prejudice. Hoping to tackle Mansfield Park but I think I should read this one as I love the Ang Lee’s movie so much. I agree Emma is too old for Elinor but I ended up liking her in the movie, but mainly I just looooove Col. Brandon [swoon]

    March 23, 2011 at 11:16 am

  2. Ooooh, can I join this book-club. SENSE & SENSIBILITY is just lush. It’s the only word that comes to mind readily, PRIDE & PREJUDICE is still my favourite but there’s a profundity to this novel that I love. And the adaptation is so perfect, even though Emma should be so wrong but she ends up being so good.

    (And to think Ang Lee directed it too…)

    March 23, 2011 at 11:20 am

  3. I keep picturing someone younger for Elinor whenever I’m trying to read the book, because, well, Elinor’s supposed to be 19. But her voice of reason keeps popping up.

    My Jane Austen Book Club is on hiatus right now, which makes me sad since I bought the anthology with Colin Firth on the cover. I’m also trying to finish Jane Eyre, I’m almost halfway. I kind of want to finish it now, because of you know.

    March 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm

  4. I wasn’t familiar with Laurie before House, so it always really weird to see him in his actual element, which is pretty much this type of films (period dramas) and weird English comedies.

    March 23, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    • Which is funny because I’ve seen both “Sense and Sensibility” and the Friends episode before “House,” yet his parts are sadly minor in the first two.

      March 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm

  5. I don’t like Charlotte Bronte very much, or JANE EYRE really. WUTHERING HEIGHTS (and Charlotte) I like, though.

    March 23, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    • I’m liking Jane Eyre stylistically more. Although since I’m not reading this for school, I’m finishing it like a turtle crawling through a marathon.

      March 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

  6. Invite me to your book club please. I’ll bring tiny sandwiches and tea.

    March 23, 2011 at 7:57 pm

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