Welcome to the third and final discussion of the Sense & Sensibility read-along! If this is the first you've heard of the read-along, you can learn more in this invitation post.
Today we're going to discuss Volume III. If you came prepared, go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments section or in your own post! (Feel free to use the image above, linking back to the Sense & Sensibility read-along tag.) If you still have to catch up, you're welcome to check in whenever you're ready. :)
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Sense & Sensibility: Volume III
Discussion Format: your favorite quotes, general impressions, and three questions to answer for each week's reading
- "The Colonel is a ninny, my dear; because he has two thousand a year himself, he thinks that nobody else can marry on less." [LOL]
- "Your indifference is no apology for your cruel neglect of her. Do not think yourself excused by any weakness, any natural defect of understanding on her side, in the wanton cruelty so evident on yours." [Go, Elinor!]
- "You ought not to speak in this way, either of Mrs. Willoughby or my sister. You have made your own choice. It was not forced on you. Your wife has a claim to your politeness, to your respect, at least. She must be attached to you, or she would not have married you. To treat her with unkindness, to speak of her slightingly is no atonement to Marianne." [Preach!]
- "The whole of his behaviour," replied Elinor, "from the beginning to the end of the affair, has been grounded on selfishness.... His own enjoyment, or his own ease, was in every particular, his ruling principle."
- "Marianne's affliction, because more acknowledged, more immediately before her, had too much engrossed her tenderness, and led her away to forget that in Elinor she might have a daughter suffering almost as much, certainly with less self-provocation, and greater fortitude."
- "She almost ran out of the room, and as soon as the door was closed, burst into tears of joy, which at first she thought would never cease." [Aww!]
- "His heart was now open to Elinor, all its weaknesses, all its errors confessed, and his first boyish attachment to Lucy treated with all the philosophic dignity of twenty-four."
- "Her family had of late been exceedingly fluctuating. For many years of her life she had had two sons; but the crime and annihilation of Edward a few weeks ago, had robbed her of one; the similar annihilation of Robert had left her for a fortnight without any; and now, by the resuscitation of Edward, she had one again." [LOL]
- "If Edward might be judged from the ready discharge of his duties in every particular, from an increasing attachment to his wife and his home, and from the regular cheerfulness of his spirits, he might be supposed no less contented with his lot, no less free from every wish of an exchange."
- "In Marianne he was consoled for every past affliction;—her regard and her society restored his mind to animation, and his spirits to cheerfulness; and that Marianne found her own happiness in forming his, was equally the persuasion and delight of each observing friend. Marianne could never love by halves; and her whole heart became, in time, as much devoted to her husband, as it had once been to Willoughby."
To start on a random note, I've found it very entertaining how often the word "monstrous" has been used in the book. Should we bring that back? "I'm monstrous happy you've joined me in this read-along!" LOL
Now, this volume was a very interesting one! Some things happened that I expected from my familiarity with the 1995 movie adaptation, like Marianne's sickness and who ended up with whom. But I was shocked when Willoughby came back on the scene. I thought his time in the story was over!
I have to agree with Elinor's opinion that selfishness seemed to rule all of Willoughby's choices, even (and perhaps especially) in him coming to confess his feelings for Marianne and share his side of the story with Elinor. Why? His desire for pity and empathy frustrated me, as well as his disregard for the damage he'd done to others beyond his own "sorry fate" brought on by it all. His story did little to stir my compassion, I confess. He ruined the life of a young lady (although I'm not saying she's completely guiltless based on what little we know), and yet he only seems to care about the loss of his own happiness...which he threw away because of greed. Just...ugh!
I'm not sure if this is awful to admit, but I think I prefer the way the movie left out some of these things that seem to "wrap up" the story a little too neatly in the book. We don't always get answers in this life. We don't always get to know what the other person was thinking or why someone did what they did or what they really felt for us. I wonder if it really did all that much for Marianne to know of Willoughby's confession, or if it wouldn't have made much of a difference in the end to her own peace of mind and future happiness.
Anyway, there's my two cents (or more) on the Willoughby stuff!
On a lighter note, I loved the humorous misunderstanding between Elinor and Mrs. Jennings. Just goes to show the danger in "filling in the blanks" when you overhear something. ;) It was too cute how long that dragged out, Mrs. Jennings thinking Elinor was going to marry Colonel Brandon and have Edward officiate, while Elinor was only charged with giving Edward the good news about Colonel Brandon's offer. Good times!
Speaking of Colonel Brandon... I can't quite decide whether the movie depiction or the book depiction of his relationship with Marianne is more romantic. Perhaps they're both "equally" so in different ways. I love the way the movie shows Colonel Brandon spending time with Marianne, reading to her and reaching out to her in the way he knows will touch her heart. I think the movie has a bit more focus on his love for her, but perhaps I'm too fixated on one scene, haha! Meanwhile, I adore the quote I included above about Marianne's love for Colonel Brandon. I think it's incredibly romantic that in finding joy in making him happy, she fell in love with him more and more. And I love that Austen is honest about feelings taking time to change and develop, but showing that ultimately Marianne was true to her nature and gave her whole heart to the man she married. I only wish that their marriage felt a little less forced by the desires of everyone around them. It's still sweet, though. :)
I'm also happy for Edward and Elinor, and I love that Marianne and Elinor get to live on the same property with no apparent jealousy on Elinor's part given their different stations. It's one big happy family and a delightful ending!
Feel free to answer one, two, or all three of these questions in the comments section or in your own blog post!
1. What did you think of Willoughby's confession? Did it change your mind about him in any way?
2. Which character ended up surprising you the most based on what we knew about them at the beginning and where they ended up by the last page?
3. Whose "happily ever after" did you most enjoy reading about? (That is, which character's story brought you the most satisfaction? It doesn't have to be about romance. :))
On the cover...
According to Wikipedia, "tempest in a teapot" is another phrase for "storm in a teacup." And I can't help but wonder if that's what's depicted on the cover of my edition of Sense & Sensibility... (Perhaps they mention it in the foreword I didn't read; not sure!) Merriam-Webster defines "tempest in a teapot" as "a great commotion over an unimportant matter." Perhaps it's a commentary on the "great commotion" made over wealth in the book? Or Marianne's extremely dramatic response to Willoughby's betrayal? I have no idea, but it's fun to think about! In any event, I do really love this pretty cover for the book. :)
Anyone have an interesting cover for this book they'd like to chat about?
On Jane Austen's books...
It's so crazy to think we've read all the main works of Jane Austen together through read-alongs here these past few years! I know I've asked this before, but in case you've reevaluated or want to share, do you have a favorite or a "ranking" for Austen's books? I think mine goes like this:
Pride & Prejudice
Sense & Sensibility
I'm really not quite sure where Northanger Abbey fits... It was the first of Austen's books I read, I believe, and I have such a fondness for it, especially because of the BBC adaptation that made me fall in love with Henry Tilney. ;) I'm not sure the book is necessarily better than Persuasion or even Sense & Sensibility; I just love the story!
On the movie...
Is anyone else super eager to watch an adaptation of Sense & Sensibility now? I really want to rewatch my copy of the Emma Thompson version. :) I've thought about hosting a watch-along, but I confess I'm not sure I'm quite up to figuring out the day/time and tweeting that much right now... However, if anyone wants to keep the conversation going about the book or any movie versions you watch, please do keep using the #SASreadalong hashtag on Twitter! Or you can tag me @SeasonsHumility. :)
On thanks and future read-alongs...
And finally, many, many thanks to all of you, whether you've participated in one read-along or all of them, or even if you simply checked out the posts. I'm so grateful for your friendship, the chance to chat about these books, and the motivation to finally read them! I hope you've enjoyed it all. ♥
I won't mention any dates yet or anything, but I do think I would be interested in hosting more classics read-alongs in the future! I ran a poll on Twitter a while back, and between those results and my own interest, I think Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery might be the featured book for the next read-along. What say you?