Sisterly Roles

Ah sisters.

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The joys and sorrow of having a sister:

You love them, you hate them, you love them again. Those who have sisters know the ups and downs. Those who don’t, take my word that the above song is pretty accurate.

Now I could go on about my sisters, but that’s not what this post is going to be on. Instead I am focusing on the sisterly bond between the Dashwood sisters.

With the Dashwoods we have three sisters: Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret; although Margaret doesn’t play as big a role as Elinor and Marianne.

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Elinor Dashwood

Elinor is the eldest and she is the sense in the title. Elinor is only nineteen years old, but she is wise beyond her years and incredibly mature. She is level-headed, cool in judgement, and always thinks through very clearly on any decision being made. She’s pretty much the sensible older sister that has been copied and used in books, movies, TV shows, etc.

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When Fanny comes in and is completely rude to the entire family, Mrs. Dashwood is eager to move out. But Elinor is able to stop her as she can keep a strong hold on her emotions as they need to stay there longer. Now she isn’t completely cold-hearted or an ice-queen. It’s just that she is a closed book.

“She had an excellent heart: her disposition was affectionate, and her feelings were strong but she knew how to govern them…”

She has sense and knows when to say something and when not to.

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This is something that no one else in her family does. Now it is true that keeping feelings in can be wrong.

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But on the other hand that isn’t always the best thing. Having your feelings out in the world can also cause a world of hurt.

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So let’s move onto the middle sister:

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Marianne Dashwood

Now Marianne isn’t just some stupid or light-hearted, fluff type of girl. She is beautiful, kind, generous, etc. The only thing is, her feelings were never held in moderation. That is, never keeping them in check. If she is happy, everyone knows. And if she is sad everyone knows.

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Pretty much she’s walking around with no filter.

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More like feelings than thoughts.

But such is sisters. I did a paper on sisterly roles in college for my family psychology class. When you have sisters, especially those close in age, they tend to gravitate to opposite traits in order to create their own identity, be unique, and carve a role for themselves in the family.

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So we have here Sense in Elinor and Sensibility (feelings) in Marianne.

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Therefore one that strives for sense as that gives her support and makes her feel completely stable in life. The younger sister sees that her older one is extremely sensible, which makes her want to be the opposite and governed solely by feelings. Also Elinor is the eldest so she also feels more of having to be dependable and responsible for the family.

Just another case of being a sister.

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For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Promises Were Made to Be Broken

More on Coco Chanel, go to Women in Black

For more on White Christmas, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more of my favorite songs, go to It’s Fantastico!

For more of my favorite quotes, go to I Have A Problem

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A Sense of Sense and Sensibility

So those of you who have been following me for a while are aware of a challenge I made a year ago. You see 2013 was the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice being published.

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I was going to do this whole series of posts on the book, books based off of it, films, etc. You know, the whole nine yards. (Go here to read more about it). Unfortunately…

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Life happened and got me off course. (Click here to read more about it) But I promised to continue to reread the book, watch the films, read the inspired fiction, etc until I had completed it all. It is a very long process and I have yet to finish it. However, as I was making these posts, I started thinking about how all the other books were being ignored. That made me sad, so I decided that I would read all her books, inspired fiction, film, etc.; at the same time and review them!

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Yay that’s a lot, but it’ll mean that all her books will get a voice. Especially the widely ignored ones like Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park. 

So the next book I’m going to start doing a lot of posts on is Sense and Sensibility.

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Sense & Sensibility was the first Jane Austen book to be published. Before Sense & Sensibility Jane Austen had written Pride & Prejudice and sold it to a publisher. Unfortunately, that company didn’t publish it at all, but just sat on her work.

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Jane Austen bought the book back and instead went to work on another one Sense & Sensibility. She sent this one to a different publisher and the work actually went through in 1811. So this book was the one that really set her up as a writer, and developed fans, making the publishing of Pride & Prejudice in 1813 feasible and accepted.

So all you Pride & Prejudice fangirl and fanboys better say a hearty thank you to Sense & Sensibility because without it, Austen might have become so discouraged that she never wrote anything else. And who could picture a world without her in it?

Here's to another 200 years!

Here’s to another 200 years!

What also makes this book special is that it is the only one to have two main characters, Marianne and Elinor. Persuasion is all about Anne, Northanger Abbey focused on Catherine, Emma is Emma’s story, Mansfield Park‘s attention is on Fanny, and Pride & Prejudice is all about Elizabeth. Yep, this is the only story that two characters are equally represented. You know what else that means? Double the Austen Heroes.

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So get ready for the sense:

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And the Sensibility

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Here are a list of other adaptions that I will also be reviewing.

Books:

Sense & Sensibility: A BabyLit Opposites Primer by Jennifer Adams

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) by Carrie Bebris

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen by Beth Pattillo

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen’s Novel to Film by Emma Thompson & Others

Reason and Romance (Austen Series #2) by Debra White Smith

Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Comic Book) by Nancy Butler & Others

Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland

So Into You (The Jane Austen Academy) by Cecilia Gray

Colonel Brandon’s Diary (Jane Austen Heros) by Amanda Grange

Willoughby’s Return: A Tale of Almost Irresistible Temptation by Jane Odiwe

The Second Chance: A ‘Pride & Prejudice’ – ‘Sense & Sensibility’ Variation by Joana Starnes

Sense and Sensibility (The Austen Project) by Joanne Trollope

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters

Film:

Sense and Sensibility (1971)

Sense and Sensibility (1981)

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Material Girls (2006)

Cow Belles (2006)

Sense and Sensibility (2008)

From Prada to Nada (2011)

Scents and Sensibility (2011)

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For more on Sense & Sensibility, go to Opening With…

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas: Merry Christmas from the Austen Novels

For more on my love of Jane Austen’s work, go to Fanning All Over the Place

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Simply Fantastic

On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas: Merry Christmas from the Austen Novels

On the 10th Day ’til Christmas my blogger gave to me

The Lovely Jane

A Jane Austen Birthday Wish!

For those of you who don’t know, today is Jane Austen’s birthday. If she was alive today, she would  be 237 years old. I know it’s not a Christmas-y movie, but what kind of Austenite would I be if I completely ignored the fact that it is her birthday on my blog?

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Jane Austen was an amazing woman who faced all kinds of adversary. Her father was a minister, and while well off to begin with, they ended up losing most of their money living in poverty. She fell in love with a high class man, and wanted to marry him; but his family intervened and sent him away. She was given another opportunity to marry a wealthy man that would have saved her and her family from destitution, but  she couldn’t marry him. She continued to wait for her true love; although he never walked back into her life. Her first book she ever wrote, Northanger Abbey (then called Lady Susan) was published post-mortem. Her second novel and the most famous, Pride and Prejudice, was turned down several times before being published. In fact, it was published after she wrote her third novel, Sense and Sensibility.

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Austen wrote not only great stories that have stood the test of time, but wrote about real issues and her more radical thoughts/philosophies, that wouldn’t be as easily accepted if spoken in person. In Northanger Abbey, we are all delighted as the main character is someone we can easily connect to. We all feel like Catherine at times in our lives, hoping that we will have an adventure and meet a dashing hero.

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This idea of a girl wanting the life of a novel, and ending up living one is later used and recycled in films such as Romancing the StoneAusten also pokes fun at all the social graces and little customs one must abide by, even though they are silly. It is a satire on societal rules and the gothic novel itself. However, it is a great book and one of Austen’s favorites.

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Pride and Prejudice  has so many things that are amazing to it. First of all parts of it are taken from her own life-a middle class poverty line woman falling for a high class man. Unfortunately she didn’t get the same ending. But Pride and Prejudice has such wit and wonderful lines; there is a reason why it is referenced in everything, has had a ton of movies and TV shows, spinoffs, vlogs, blogs, etc. I love it because the characters are so real. Elizabeth and Darcy are everywhere in the world. I’m a Darcy myself; every time I read it I always feel for him. But more on our shared traits later. I’m also an Elizabeth, they way she treats Darcy and others, when reading that its like looking into a mirror.

Go here to see who you are.

Go here to see who you are.

Emma, well I already stated that she and I have a lot alike. Sister’s amor hating you, a guy who won’t stop following you around. In my case 3), a friend who has a trifecta of boys rejecting her, deciding to become a spinster, and has meddled in friend’s love lives…need I go on? There are probably many of you out there who have had similar experiences. Not only that, but Jane Austen was able to share her own ideas of spinsterhood and how being a spinster who could care for one self (like Jane was able to in her writing) was nothing to look down on or pity. Austen said she was going to make a character that only she would love, but Emma has become beloved by all. Just like her modern counterpart, Cher from Clueless, there is something about that girl that is just lovable.

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Mansfield Park, while it isn’t my favorite is still a great read. We see a woman, although she is meek and timid through most of the novel, isn’t afraid to say no to a “a good thing”. *Spoiler Alert stop reading now if you haven’t read the book* When Henry Crawford asks her to marry him, even though he is rich and could save her family from destitution, she says no. She holds out for her number one, even when threatened to be kicked out of the Bertram house. Very Austonian there. She even continues to be kind and nice to all around her, even though they constantly use and abuse her. She is a true heroine, very Uncle Tom, never turning to hate or anger.

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I know I could never do that; Aunt Norris would have been punched in the eye already.

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But Fanny continues to be good, and when everyone else’s lives fall apart; she is there to help all pick up the pieces. The whole guy being blinded by the wrong girl, is also very real, I’ve had two friends like that.

Sense and Sensibility, deals with the line between expression. I liked how there is the question of whether too much of either is bad and how much does one need? We have Marianne full of sensibilities, wearing her heart on her sleeve; but we see this gets her into trouble as she expresses too much, before anything is promised to her.

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Elinor, expresses nothing, being purely intellectual and sensible; but this causes her to almost lose the man she loves.

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While both sisters are the best of friends; their extremes cause the other to never fully know their sister. Marianne can never see what Elinor is feeling and makes all these assumptions about a “frozen” heart. Elinor on the other hand, never imagines that Marianne has any sense as she assumes she is solely governed by feelings. I liked how the sisters were never privy to each others complete secrets as I feel this is realistic. I can see myself and my sister in these.

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Persuasion, is one of the saddest novels that Austen wrote, because even though it ends happily it was pure wish fulfillment. *Spoiler Alert stop reading now if you haven’t read the book* Anne is persuaded by her friend to not marry her love. He ends up leaving but returns, and after a series of misunderstandings the two are reunited. Austen always hoped that her love would return just like Captain Wentworth, but he never did.

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She also uses a strong irony in this as Anne was rich when she turned down poor Wentworth, but when he returns Anne is poor and Wentworth rich. I simply love this book because it seems so real, how the characters react and treat each other are the emotions they actually would. Austen also does a great line about women being portrayed as a “femme fatale” so often as men are the writers of these novels; therefore the view is biased. Great book to check out.

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Austen lived only 42 years, but changed the history of the novel with her great works. She has changed my life and I hope you give her a chance to influence yours. Happy Birthday Jane!

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Now to tie this into Christmas:

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The very first day that [James] Morland came to us last Christmas–the very first moment I beheld him–my heart was irrecoverably gone.”

-Northanger Abbey, pg 142

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I sincerely hope your Christmas in Hertfordshire may abound in the gaieties which the season generally brings…”

-Pride and Prejudice, pg 122

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I remember last Christmas…he danced from eight o’clock to four, without once sitting down.”

Sense and Sensibility, pg 30

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If they were at home to grace the ball, a ball you would have this very Christmas.”

-Mansfield Park, pg 262

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At Christmas every body invites their friends and thinks little of even the worst weather.”

-Emma, pg 97

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On one side was a table occupied by chattering girls, cutting up silk and gold paper; and on the other were tressels and trays, bending under the weight of brawn and cold pies, where riotous boys were holding high revel; the whole completed by a roaring Christmas fire…”

 Persuasion, pg 80

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So there you go! Merry Christmas!

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To start the 12 Posts of Christmas from the beginning, go to On the 12th Day ’til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas (2009)

For the previous post, go to On the 11th Day ’til Christmas: The Santa Clause (1994)

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For another Northanger Abbey post, go to Mr. Tilney’s Dating Tips

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to On the 12th Day ‘Til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas (2009)

For another Sense & Sensibility post, go to Let’s Hear It For the Boys

For more on Emma, go to By George He’s Perfect!

For more on Mansfield Park, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines

For another Persuasion post go to A Fredrick Wentworth Sighting