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.
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.
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.
This is something that no one else in her family does. Now it is true that keeping feelings in can be wrong.
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.
So let’s move onto the middle sister:
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.
Pretty much she’s walking around with no filter.
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.
So we have here Sense in Elinor and Sensibility (feelings) in Marianne.
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.