On 30/7/2013 I published a rant harshly attacking "Sense and sensibility", especially its ending.
reread many passages in this book and slightly changed some of my
doesn't break the engagement with Lucy not because he loves her. It shows that
he's an honest person, doing his duty. Breaking an engagement in the 19th
century isn't a simple matter, which I finally understand after reading John
Fowles's "The French lieutenant's woman".
of the relationship between himself and Elinor is also understandable, on the 1
hand he's a diffident man, and simple, on the other hand Elinor always tries
not to cross any boundary, and doesn't express much emotion.
Pride might be another factor. A son who has always obediently followed his mother's wishes like a puppet may 1 day explode and rebel and thus, when threatened to be disinherited if he doesn't break the engagement with Lucy (and later marry Miss Morton), Edward feels the urge not to comply.
2/ The sudden
attachment of Lucy Steele to Robert Ferras can be explained that the cunning,
manipulative, selfish Lucy, seeing no future with the disinherited Edward,
tries to entrap Robert by stroking his vanity with flattery (the art she has
always mastered), which she later also does to Mrs Ferras. This is certainly
abrupt and unsatisfying, especially what happens afterwards- Mrs Ferras
disinherits Edward for deceiving her for 4 years and not breaking the
engagement with Lucy and not marrying Miss Morton as she wishes, and thus gives
all of her money to Robert, but doesn't do the same to Robert when he marries
that same girl, and later, she accepts Edward's reconciliation, approves of his
marriage to Elinor and receives him again. That is, I've said it, this
resolution is still abrupt and unsatisfying, but now it appears more
understandable, or at least it's not impossible and incomprehensible as I
thought the 1st time I read it.
attempt to explain and justify himself doesn't make him better. In fact, it
makes him more despicable. Not only selfish, greedy, dishonest and
materialistic but also weak, cowardly and always blaming others.
unsatisfying, ineffective bit in this ending, about which I haven't changed
my opinion, is the way Jane Austen puts Marianne and Colonel Brandon together.
It's like in the end Jane Austen doesn't know what to do and makes a rash
decision to finish this novel, to get it done and over with, whereas what she
has to do is merely adding a development that may convince the readers of the
growing attachment of these 2 characters.
A flawed novel but not disastrous. In a nutshell, my opinions on "Sense and sensibility" are better and consequently my feelings about Jane Austen have also been improved. She's definitely shrewd and observant. I doubt I'll ever become a Janeite (it's too unlikely, look at how 'manly' I am- loving Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Nabokov, Kafka, Orwell, Kundera, Salinger...) but perhaps in the future I won't hate her very much.
Update on 25/11:
1 thing bothers me- among the 3 main guys, the only interesting and charming guy is Willoughby, a douchebag, the other 2 guys, who marry the 2 heroines, are honest, reliable and considerate but quite boring. Edward's reserved, diffident, meek, dutiful, not at all passionate and virtuosic, Colonel Brandon's quiet, reserved and too old (for Marianne).
I have to read "Mansfield park" to confirm this, but according to the film, it has the same pattern- between a charming, passionate jerk and a trustworthy, kind but tedious dude, the heroine Fanny Price goes for the latter.
By such a remark I by no means say that one should choose a charismatic asshole instead but boring people are boring and I don't like them. "A bore is someone who derives you of solitude without providing you with company". It's better to be alone.