What is the significance of chapters 9 and 10 in Sense and Sensibility? How is it typical of Jane Austen's style of writing?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On chapter 9 you see the typical Jane story line where the character which embodies the essential conflict of the story: Marianne meets Willoughby and the wheels of the plot are set in motion.  This is typical of Jane's style of writing because these two characters would represent the "sensibility" in the story, hence, their encounter must be something as emotional, romantic, and intense as their stories will prove to be later on in the story.

Austen often places emphasis in a heroine of the story (Elinor) and she would be the exact opposite of the challenging character (Marianne). Hence, Elinor would be the sense and her sister would represent sensibility (rash behavior, romantic, idealistic).

Also, in these two chapters we see the interaction between the two main families which is an overall snobby, ridiculous, and imbecile group whose conversation is as ludicrous as their behaviors. Jane Austin satirizes the upper classes' need to engage in utter nonsense in both conversation and activity, and the way in which she utilizes the language denotes an undertone of dysfuntionality, hypocrisy, and ignorance among the other.

You know him then," said Mrs. Dashwood. "Know him! to be sure I do. Why, he is down here every year."

   "And what sort of a young man is he?" "As good a kind of fellow as ever lived, I assure you. A very decent shot, and there is not a bolder rider in England."

   "And is that all you can say for him?" cried Marianne, indignantly. "But what are his manners on more intimate acquaintance? What his pursuits, his talents and genius?"

   Sir John was rather puzzled.

This shows the superficiality of the classes, the difference in expectations, and the nonsense of most of social rules.

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Sense and Sensibility

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