Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What do you think is the main theme or message in Sense and Sensibility?

Expert Answers info

M.P. Ossa, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer, ESL/TEFL Instructor

bookM.A. from Chapman University

calendarEducator since 2008

write5,680 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

We could also consider the following:

The main theme or message in Sense and Sensibility is basically stated in the title itself: The everyday struggle between common sense versus emotions: Sense VERSUS Sensibility.

"Sense", referring to "common sense", is embodied in the character of Elinor.Her poised and calm nature helped her not only survive her own emotional ordeals, but she also helped her sister survive hers. Her "sense" maintained the balance in the Dashwood household even at their most depressing moments (i.e. during their entailment ordeal). Hence, Elinor represents the need to maintain a clear mind and a strong heart at all times.

"Sensibility", refers to "excitability" and "emotion", and it is personified in the character of Marianne. As a foil of Elinor, Marianne let her senses overrule her common sense. As a result, she made several mistakes that led to her suffering and to her final breakdown. Marianne's ordeals are Austen's way of warning us about not letting triviality take...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 613 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial