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What is the major conflict in Sense and Sensibility?I know that there are many...

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gochicagobears08 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted May 6, 2012 at 10:52 PM via web

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What is the major conflict in Sense and Sensibility?

I know that there are many different conflicts, but what is the major one? Is it the fact that Marianne is in love with Mr. Willoughby and is falling head over heels without thinking? Because Mr. Willoughby ends us being a jerk and Marianne marries the man that was there all along. 

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 7, 2012 at 12:58 AM (Answer #1)

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The conflict with the most scope and influence inSense and Sensibilityis wealth vs. poverty, because of its effects on so many relationships in the novel.  This conflict finds its way into the Dashwood family, forcing them to find cheaper lodging after their father's death. 

The wealth vs. poverty conflict also affects Edward's choice in whom he can marry, risking the wrath of his family were he to marry too 'low.'  Willoughby and Marianne's relationship is also subject to the poverty vs. wealth conflict, as his decision to abandon Marianne comes from his need to procure a large dowry (after having been cut off from his inheritance).  The main story line of the novel revolves around the idea of the penniless Dashwood sisters attempting to balance love and a sensible marriage without the advantage of a dowry. 

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