Ryan Chartrand

It is not every day that a writer like Jane Austen appears with a book like “Sense and Sensibility.” In high school, everyone has to read “Pride and Prejudice,” but the other novels she wrote get left behind. “Sense and Sensibility” expresses the hardships of the times so eloquently it is almost poetic.

“Sense and Sensibility” is about the Dashwood family. The father dies and can leave only a small amount of money to his three daughters and wife, but he leaves the mansion to his son from his first marriage. Due to their lack of shelter, the four women are asked to stay in the house they grew up in as guests until they can find a permanent abode. When they eventually move, their new location brings not only a new home, but new people and adventures as well.

The most appealing aspect of this story is the character development. There is not much explanation of costume. The landscape descriptions are beautiful and vivid, but they don’t match the lure of the characters. Austen introduces new characters often in the book, but each one is familiar by the end of the chapter. With exquisite writing, she presents characters who are timeless.

The oldest daughter, Elinor, is composed, frugal and sensible. She keeps her emotions hidden until they need to be unveiled. Her first engagement becomes complicated due to money, but the reader barely glimpses her pain. Austen gives small asides where the true feelings of Elinor are exposed, but these are few and far between.

Marianne, the second daughter, is rash, overly expressive and lovable all at the same time. She swears she can only love a man who can fit her perfect characteristics. He must love everything and everyone she does or he is not worth her time. She wants adventure and passion in relationships, but finds it harder than she previously thought. She is almost the opposite of her sister.

Austen even makes each suitor and extra character intimately known to the reader. However, she barely ever talks about the youngest sister, Margaret. She is in a few scenes but hardly says anything. Her role seems meaningless in comparison to the rest of the characters in the novel.

Another thing she does well is make the reader hate certain characters. There are a few manipulative and despicable characters who are easy to hate. The wife of the Dashwood son with the estate is truly a horrible woman. Right from the beginning, it is easy to see how horrible she is and will continue to be throughout the book.

The greatest thing about this novel and Austen’s other writings in general is how well she transports the reader back to her time. As you read, the roads become vivid, the house becomes yours, the characters become friends, and the lives the characters lead become important. It is not always an easy task to truly bring a reader to a certain time, but she does it successfully.

Austen’s writing is slightly difficult to read, but as long as it is savored and taken slowly, it is well worth the time. She has been called one of the greatest novelists of English history. Why not find out yourself? It is a treat to read a book that has been acclaimed all around the world. You truly find yourself wrapped up in the world she creates.

Christina Casci is a journalism senior, Mustang Daily wire editor and book columnist.

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