Advent with Austen

Sense & Sensibility Readalong, Part II

Welcome to part II of the Advent with Austen Sense & Sensibility Readalong! If you’re new to Advent with Austen and want to read more/sign up to be part of the fun, read this post; if you want the schedule for Sense & Sensibility, read this post!

Part II covered 12 chapters; again, not terribly demanding.

I love the character development in this section!

Elinor: softens a lot. We see her winding Marianne up a bit, being sympathetic to poor old (old) Colonel Brandon, again being the voice of reason when Marianne wants a pony… and she’s got no patience for either of their mooning about (particularly when Willoughby decides that the cottage should be forever preserved in its current state, and Elinor takes a little snipe at the wisdom of that). And then all the pain and the heartache when Edward comes back from wherever he’s been, and then there are happy times, and sad times when he leaves, but Elinor will cope because that’s what she does, she’s a coper, and then the Shocking Revelation made by Lucy – oh the pain. She isn’t made of stone, we know that, but she has to try so hard to be stoic and gentle…

“Elinor was then at liberty to think and be wretched.”

Marianne: comes across as pretty selfish, if I’m honest.

“She was without any power, because she was without any desire of command over herself.”

I’m surprised by the lack of reflection (by anyone) on the shame that Marianne would be bringing upon the family by cavorting about with Willoughby everywhere in his curricle (ah Austen. Curricle.)… where is the censure applied to the younger Bennet girls in P&P? Although we are given a bit of an idea as to why everyone is busy falling in love with her and not Elinor:

“when, in the common cant of praise, she was called a beautiful girl, truth was less violently outraged than usually happens”

Isn’t that a pretty way to say “she inherited the looks”?

Willoughby: my goodness do I not like him. He’s shown to be quite petty in his reasons for disliking Colonel Brandon (Brandon won’t buy Willoughby’s brown mare? Is this the same horse that he gives to Marianne? What did the poor horse do wrong to get foisted off on everyone else?!), and then he takes off with no consideration for Marianne and a whole lot of misery and mystery. I foresee A Great Revelation.

Colonel Brandon: I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan (yet). Why moon over Marianne when sensible and unprejudiced Elinor is being so nice to you? He opens his heart to Elinor in a manner most unbecoming of a colonel.

Mrs Dashwood permits overly flirtatious behaviour from Marianne, and turns a blind eye; again, I’m thinking about the family honour here: first Mrs D gets all huppity and abandons their rightful fortune in Sussex, then, despite her alleged approbation of “setting one’s cap at someone”, she’s got not a word to say to Marianne to reel her in!

The Palmers… I’m beginning to think that Austen doesn’t like ANYONE in this book. Everyone she’s brought in is a joke, apart from Elinor and her foil Marianne. I thought when the Palmers came on the stage we were going to have a nice little interlude from idiocy, like the Gardiners in P&P? But no, two more ridiculous characters.

And as for The Steele Sisters. Anne’s a bit pointless (like Margaret?) and I am convinced that Lucy is a snide little so-and-so… I’m certain she knows all about Elinor and Edward and is just breaking Elinor’s heart because she can.

Two glories lines from Austen in this section (many glorious ones but these are the ones I noted down):

“Lady Middleton was more agreeable than her mother only in being more silent.”

“Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.”

It did take me a while to untangle this sentence though:

“Marianne’s preserver, as Margaret, with more elegance than precision, styled Willoughby, called at the cottage early the next morning, to make his personal enquiries. “

Do join in the chat below!


By the way, to clarify about the goodies giveaway yesterday… I meant for it to be the same Mr Linky! My technical skills are clearly not yet up to scratch. Anyway, if you have signed up on any of the Mr Linkys (here, here or yesterday), you will be entered for the giveaway of Austen-ish bits and pieces.


8 thoughts on “Sense & Sensibility Readalong, Part II”

  1. Several thpughts after your thoughts:

    – Mrs Dashwood should do more acting parenting. it would do everyone a world of good.

    – I also wonder about why Brandon goes for Marianne, but then remember there’s an explanation closer to the end. No spoiler, but she reminds him of Someone.

    – Poor horse! LOL!

    – The Palmers: Austen goes much more for the caricatures in her earlier books and they are a good example. That being said, I’m actually more ready to like Mrs Palmer’s half-full cup.

  2. I really liked Mr Palmer! SO funny. But also silly. Marianne is mostly selfish, but then also she’s all happy for Elinor (who is AWESOME) when Edward arrives, so I’m kind of warmed to her at the moment. ALSO, I do kind of feel like Colonel Brandon should like Elinor rather than Marianne, but I think that he’s kind of more romantic (like Marianne) but just more restrained than she is because he’s older. Or something. I don’t know, I just like him more than Willoughby!

    My review of this section is here 🙂

  3. Oh, I like Mr Palmer! He is so funny! And I like him even more after watching Hugh Laurie in the 1995 film version. I wish the part were bigger!

    It is true though that there are hardly any likeable characters. I think with Elinor and Marianne it is impossible to dislike either of them! Elinor can come across as a bit boring and too sensible, but she is so kind and thoughtful that you cannot help but love her. Marianne does seem selfish but she is young, passionate and fun! When it comes to the people she loves, she is friendly and thoughtful – she is just more honest and outspoken with the people she does not like. At least she is not two-faced!

  4. Now I felt the same thing – why not Elinor and Colonel Brandon? They seem a much better match. But CB is still mooning about (in fact) after his lost early love and Marianne fits her portrait – Hitchcock’s Vertigo anyone? Not exactly a healthy reason for falling in love. Plus the Palmers are just atrocious, and they do make you long for one of those Austen couples, rare and beautiful as they are, who are genuinely compassionate and helpful. When I wrote about this book, lots of commenters spoke about the way Jane’s humour is used to deal with horrible people – but there are no implications that the horrible people will change, or their ranks diminish. It’s a social survival guide for nice people that Austen is writing as much as a romance, and that gave me a bit of a jolt to think about.

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