Sense and Sensibility is a novel by Jane Austen in 1811 that tells the story of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne. Written in a time that greatly emphasizes propriety and social status, the sisters' struggle with living according to high society's rules creates a compelling narrative.
Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, the sisters of Sense and Sensibility, are forced to live with their impoverished uncle and his family after the death of their father, leaving the sisters vulnerable to the opinions and machinations of the upper class.
The novel follows the sisters' journeys of learning sense through Elinor, learning sensitivity through Marianne, and each sister's pursuit of a satisfactory romantic relationship.
Throughout the novel, Sense and Sensibility suggests that love, friendship, and understanding are ways to communicate beyond the restrictions of rank and money.
Elinor and Marianne's mother, Mrs. Dashwood, are well-off. Still, her late husband's estate is mostly entailed away to the younger son of their wealthy neighbor, forcing the Dashwood women to rely financially on their male relatives.
At the novel's beginning, Elinor and Marianne live in Norland Park with their mother and three half-siblings.
Edward Ferrars is introduced as Elinor's love interest, while Willoughby is introduced as Marianne's love interest.
Sense and Sensibility contrasts Elinor and Marianne's views on the roles love, and emotion should play in a marriage.
The novel follows the Dashwood women's movements from their cottage at Norland Park to Barton Cottage in Devonshire and, ultimately, to their family in London.
Throughout their journey, Elinor and Marianne must learn to balance their egos as they learn to sense sensibility and individuation.
Sense and Sensibility depicts the social customs, values, and expectations of early 19th century England.