Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility book cover
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How can a student write an essay about Sense and Sensibility?

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Garrett Walker eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The best way to begin the writing process for any essay is to ask questions about the topic. In this case, your topic is Sense and Sensibility, a wonderful book about the contrast and connection between reason and emotion. What questions came to your mind as you read the book? Here are some that came to mine.

  • Should Marianne have been more guarded around Willoughby?
  • Should Marianne have married Colonel Brandon?
  • How do Elinor and Marianne view relationships and marriage differently?
  • Are sense--a person's rational thoughts--and sensibility--a person's passions and emotions--necessarily opposed to one another?
  • Is Austen's view of marriage correct or flawed?

Make sure to choose a question that interests you, not someone else. This will help keep you motivated as you write. Once you determine this question, reread the novel (or at least some key chapters related to your question) and underline or highlight quotations related to your question.

After you do this, write a thesis: a single-sentence statement of your argument and your reasons for arguing this. Make sure that your thesis--while an opinion--is based on evidence from the book. Create an outline according to your teacher's format requirements, and then write the essay according to your outline.

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