After finishing Sense & Sensibility, I’m not sure that I’m really happy with the ending here. I never fell in love with a character, nor did I find myself really despising one either. I find myself (usually quite opinionated and passionate) quite hum-drum with the novel. Maybe all the talk of money and the focus of financial security really took some of the emotion out of the novel for me, but I find that I’m not really bent out of shape one way or the other about these characters.
- Elinor – She clearly deserved better than to be a second choice to Edward. I know Austen painted it so that his love for Lucy had “obviously” faded and that only his honor had bound him to her. I get that, but I can’t help but think that Elinor deserved someone much more like Colonel Brandon. She was steadfast and loyal to those she loved. That should have earned her more than to be a consolation prize to Edward behind the vulgar and tawdry Lucy Steele or the heiress, whatever her name was….
- Colonel Brandon – I am in love with Colonel Brandon myself, and I just can’t make myself happy with his marriage to the 19 year old Marianne, even if she did do some “hard living” in the years from 17 to 19. He and Elinor seem a much better fit than he and Marianne. Although, a the ripe old age of 35, maybe he needed to get a young woman to keep him kicking.
- Edward – Eehhh, I’m just not very interested in him. Maybe it took me too long to really get into the novel, or maybe my lack on interest stems from my personal distaste for people who are are wavering and flighty. Maybe he just strikes me a little too “feminine” in his penchant for changing his mind.
- Marianne – I’m not really buying her miraculous transformation. She had many of the same lessons that Emma learned, but Marianne’s redemption doesn’t feel as hard won. She really reminds me of Tom Burtram in Mansfield Park– the only thing they really did to redeem themselves was survive a deadly illness. I guess that can be added to getting married and dying as a way to forgive all of one’s sins.
- Willoughby – got what he wished for, but he’s really too shallow for it to matter very much. I am disturbed that Austen didn’t make a bigger deal about Col. Brandon’s granddaughter… Did Austen drop the ball here, or would it have been impossible for us to have any forgiveness for Willoughby with that sin front and center ? Austen does have Elinor remind us of it when she says that she thinks that’s where all of Willoughby’s problems started. I would like to know the entire story with that one. I wonder how Marianne will react to that little wrinkle in their domestic peace?
- Mrs. Jennings – love her by the end – hated her in the beginning. Her loyalty really won me over, though.
Some of the same these appeared in S&S…
- the haves/havenots
- the clergy
- rebelliousness of youth
- love within a family connection – not just random attachments
All in all, S&S left me a little cold, especially after Emma.