Jane Austen. The Importance of Marriage Essay Example

The word sense is defined as an external stimulus, whereas sensibility is defined as a “peculiar susceptibility to a pleasurable or painful impression” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Sensibility shows the logic and emotional aspect of a situation while sense is only based off of external feelings such as sight, smell, touch, and hearing. Some people choose to live life regarding their sense while others live based on their sensibility. According to Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, it would be wise of someone to marry based on their sensibility.

During Jane Austen’s time of living, marriage was an incredibly important occurrence; particularly marrying into a wealthy family. Austen focuses on marriage as a key topic throughout the novel. Marrying only for love could be charming but it would not be nearly as beneficial when marrying for wealth. Marrying for love is based on one’s sense. When marrying for wealth, a person is ensuring that they never starve and never worry about where and how they will live. When a man’s father passes, he inherits all of the money as well as his wife’s when he marries. Now, the wealth of a man before marriage was a key component to how the woman would live. If she were smart about who she married, she would not focus on the man’s exterior. She would rather dive into his thoughts and his use of sensibility to ensure she lives a handsome life. By marrying a woman, the man would then inherit all of her money, adding it to the inheritance their child would someday receive. If the woman were to have married solely based on a man’s looks, they might not have nearly enough money to support themselves and a child. Money was not as important to those that married due to how his or her spouse looked. Using logic in a situation is what would make or break a person of Austen’s time period.

In the story are three sisters, a widowed mother, the sisters’ half-brother, John Dashwood, and his wife, Mrs. John Dashwood. John Dashwood is the eldest of the four siblings and came from their father’s previous marriage. When Henry Dashwood, John’s father, passed away John inherited all his father’s money. Because John was of his father’s first marriage, the girls did not receive anything from their father. Between the three girls, only one of them uses her sensibility. Elinor, the eldest of the sisters, cares greater about whether a man will be able to support her and their family rather than if he is handsome or not. When the middle sister, Marianne, meets Sir Willoughby, she is instantly enraptured with his looks. They have the same interests, thoughts, feelings, favorites of everything that all of that was too much from him. He gave too much into his opinions that Elinor could almost see the disaster of which to come between him and Marianne. Marianne simply overlooks any flaws Willoughby adorns while Elinor sees and cautions her sister of his carelessness. Eventually, Marianne listens to Elinor regarding Willoughby and her apprehension towards him. Elinor is the only one of the sisters that focuses more on her sensibility while Marianne and Margaret base their actions and choices on their sense. Money does not matter to them while money is important to Elinor as it will ensure a secure life for her.

Marriage was not just something that signified the unity between a couple during Jane Austen’s time. Marriage also signified the life a person was going to lead and within that, a person’s sense and sensibility played a major role in that marriage.


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