A Summary of Main Themes in Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and sensibility are two concepts whose main theme lies in the title of the novel. Characters in the novel represent the concepts of these two concepts, including Elinor, who represents the motif of sense. Elinor also represents the traits that neoclassicism values, such as restraint, logic, and simplicity. These values are also represented in other characters. For example, Colonel Brandon represents restraint, while Elinor represents logic.


Sense and sensibility are opposite aspects of a human being, and neither is healthy in excess. Both Marianne and Elinor experience difficulties balancing their own and other characters' personalities. Eventually, both learn to balance their personalities and find a love that suits them both. The themes of sense and sensibility are central to the novel and can be found throughout its pages. A summary of the main themes of Elinor's main themes in sense and sensibility follows.


Sense and sensibility are central to the plot of Marianne. Elinor is practical and sensible, and Marianne is sensitive and concerned with what's best for other people. The two sisters gradually move toward a common middle ground, which is the ideal balance between the two qualities. Although sensibility and sense are not all-good or all-bad, Jane Austen's characters are often judged on the basis of how much their actions satisfy their own needs and how comfortable they are in their surroundings.

Colonel Brandon

In "Marianne," Colonel Brandon is an affluent suitor, but he's not a very passionate person. He's a kind and generous man, but his kindness and generosity often lead to flighty judgments. Willoughby, for example, becomes jealous of Colonel Brandon's marriage to Marianne. While this is a common reaction to the sudden death of a beloved person, petty jealousy also shows poor character.

Lucy Steele

Sense and Sensibility is a novel by Jane Austen, and the Dashwood sisters depict the plight of upper-class English women. In Austen's day, a woman needed a wealthy husband to remain financially comfortable. Working was not an option, and the fate of a woman's future was determined by her family and her husband's social status. One of Austen's most uncouth female characters, Lucy Steele, marries Edward Ferrars' brother to achieve her goals.

Colonel Brandon's wife

The main theme of the novel is the relationship between rationality and romanticism. Colonel Brandon, a young man who is a rich and eligible suitor, is portrayed as cold and reserved, but has a good heart. He is an unsung knight in shining armor who helps people. However, Marianne Dashwood does not like the Colonel, and she prefers to be with Willoughby, a young man who has a more sensible outlook on life. In spite of this, Colonel Brandon stays by her side and waits until she recovers from her illness before marrying Marianne Dashwood.


One of Willoughby's main themes in sense or sensibility is that of resentment. Willoughby resents marrying Marianne for money, but he admits to his wife Elinor that he only married her because she was a wealthy woman. Later, in the novel, he apologizes to Marianne and says that he loves her and regrets having hurt her.

Willoughby's sister

The book centres on the contrast between Elinor and Marianne, who represent their two sides of the personality. Elinor values her feelings over sensibility, and disregards them for a steady mind. Marianne, on the other hand, values her feelings, and she ultimately chooses to follow her heart. While the novel explores the complexities of the human psyche, readers should remember that the themes of sense and sensibility remain central to the story.

Willoughby's marriage to Elinor

The title of Willoughby's marriage to Elinand alludes to the rational nature of Elinor. Despite her suffering and the various trials she faces, Elinor never abandons her feelings or her sensibilities. For example, she conceals her heartache from Edward out of social propriety and for the sake of the family. Elinor is sensitive to other people's feelings, which makes it even more difficult for her to keep her heartbroken sister, Lucy, engaged to Edward.

Elinor's patience

In Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen holds Elinor up as an example of how to behave in a social context. The title refers to Elinor's ability to hold herself above the whims of others, and she endures many trials while never abandoning her emotions. In one notable instance, Elinor keeps her heartbreak to herself for reasons of social propriety and family ease. She is also very patient with others, a quality that is displayed in her secretive approach to Lucy's engagement to Edward.

Lucy Steele's selfishness

While Dashwood is the younger man in the novel, he secretly engaged Lucy Steele before he met her family. Even though he knew he would never marry her, he knew that a marriage to her would not be acceptable to his mother, who depends on Dashwood for her future. Nonetheless, Dashwood fell in love with the ditzy, silly Steele and married her anyway.

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