Sense and Sensibility depicts two sisters, Marianne and Eleanor, growing up in a male-dominated society. Impoverished after the death of their father, the estate in which they live passes to their half-brother John. The story is about girls, especially Marianne, who grow up and become women, and Simone de Beauvoir’s statement is strongly reflected throughout the novel.
Published in the early 1800s, during the Romantic movement and the Napoleonic Wars, the ideas of “freedom, equality and fraternity” (French Embassy, 2005) were present during the 1789 French Revolution.
It is interesting to note the use of the term “brotherhood”. or brotherhood, male union and equality, not all people. Women had few legal rights and were still expected to submit to their private sphere; be a housewife
Despite the exaggeration, Anfield’s TV videos Women Know Your Limits and A Guide to Marital Rights (BBC, 1994) demonstrate some of the virtues a woman should have had. In the first episode, when talking about politics, a woman out of turn talks about politics and “puts herself in an awkward position.
” Immediately, her husband decides to take her home, back to her home and private realm, where she is within her borders. The second video states that “like all women, she needs a husband to make her complete,” and this is reflected in the feeling and sensitivity. Marianne lacks composure and restraint for much of the novel and requires Colonel Brandon’s “seriousness”, “reasonable face” and “gentlemanly” character to control and balance her. Elinor, on the other hand, with her “power of understanding and composure of judgment” (p.
4) already needs the emotional turmoil of her relationship with Edward Ferrars to grasp the power of her feelings and emotions. This gives the sisters a counterweight to make them realize that they cannot be just “intelligence” or “sensitivity.”
“Stoller’s research in California offers evidence that gender identity (I’m a girl, I’m a boy) is the basic identity of everyone” (Millett 1977: 30). This “gender identity”, as mentioned earlier, is the construct of patriarchy that some argue Austin is trying to condemn in Sense and Sensibility.
Marianne Dashwood, whose sorrows and joys “could not have been tempered” (p. 5), does not match this modest decency that Eleanor possesses. Austin can be seen trying to break tradition by having a flighty heroine who expresses her feelings openly, although this is undermined by a change in style in the third part of the novel. “Marianne’s marriage to rheumatic Colonel Brandon is overcompensating for her mistaken sensitivity” (Duckworth 1994: 27).