How does Sense and Sensibility reflect Austen's world?

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Sense and Sensibility accurately reflects Jane Austen's world or society, in that it depicts the need for women to marry for financial security.  Elinor and Mariane, the sisters in Sense and Sensibility, live in the country, the same as Austen's familyy did, and even though they are a learned family, they are part of the professional class, where women had very few options, except to marry up into the landed gentry class.

"In Sense and Sensibility, they socialize with and marry into the landed gentry, the next higher social class. Social assimilation and upward mobility of this sort is a major theme in many of Austen's works."

Austen's emphasis on the need for women to marry for financial security is a common theme in her work, an attitude that dominated the 19th century in which she lived.

Elinor and Marianne both are lucky enough to fall in love, and even though Marianne marries an older man, she is perceived to be in good hands, both financially and emotionally with Colonel Brandon.  He is very much in love with Marianne.  

Elinor, who falls in love with Edward.

"However, he must marry a woman of his mother's approval to come into his fortune. Austen writes, "He was not handsome, and his manners required intimacy to make them pleasing."  

Jane Austen, who fell in love with a young man herself and was not permitted to marry him because of their different social classes, fully understands what both Elinor and Mariane experience.  Elinor is given the ideal, she marries the man she truly loves, while Marianne, spurned by her true love, Mr. Willoughby who ends up marrying a rich socialite in order to please his aunt and secure his inheritance, marries a rich older man, Colonel Brandon.

Jane Austen 's world is present in every word of Sense and Sensibility.   

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