Welcome to the 1st Discussion!
Bare with me for this post since it’s my first time with these buddy reads! I’m confident, however, that I’ve built up a good list of questions that you can reflect on and answer in the comments down below. I will also be posting a post just full of my thoughts after I publish this one as well so maybe you can get a feel for my feelings as well! FEEL ALL OF THE FEELINGS!
Thank you so much for being here and for reading Sense & Sensibility!
Sense & Sensibility was written in 1795 when Jane was only 20 years old. It’s interesting to note that Jane first wrote this in epistolary form, or letters, exchanged between the sisters. The title was also originally, Elinor and Marianne. When Jane, her mother, sister, and a family friend moved in 1809, she started revising it and renamed it what we know it as today: Sense and Sensibility. Did I mention that it was to a country cottage that they moved to? Interesting…do you think it correlates a bit? 😉
- Let’s first talk about the significance of the title. What do you think is the difference between “sense” and “sensibility”? Which word represents each sister? Which word represents YOU more? Do you think one of these matter more than another? What about if you’re choosing a match for yourself?
- What does Marianne value in a man/suitor? What does Elinor? Are they opposites?
- In Ch 10 Colonel Brandon is praised by Elinor and criticized by Willoughby. Why?
- Jane Austen is known to deliver “verbal brutalities” throughout this novel (and others). What do you think this means? Can you find an example?
- “Civility” and “taste” are a fixed code of values, rather than an individual experience. What is this fixed code; in other words, what are some of the deciding factors for such a fixed code?
- Who is your favorite character just from this volume? Why? Who is your least favorite and why?
- Also in Ch 10, Ms. Austen mentions that “She liked him…”, speaking of Elinor’s regard for Colonel Brandon. Did you feel that this was a romantic “like” or just a friendly “like”?
- Did you catch the Romeo and Juliet reference? Do you think it has symbolic meaning?
- The courting game is certainly very different than nowadays. What things have you learned from S&S about romance and courtship?
- It’s pretty ironic that Willoughby is so defiant at Mrs. Dashwood when she mentions that a few changes to the cottage would make it more pleasant. Why is it ironic?
- Compare/contrast Elinor and Marianne’s reactions to being parted from their men.
- We are introduced to the Miss. Steeles in the last chapters of the Volume I. Describe your thoughts on them. What were Elinor and Marianne’s thoughts/opinions of them?
- Are there differences between the Steeles and the Dashwoods? What are some of the most glaring differences?
- “Your sister, I understand, does not approve of second attachments.” “No,” replied Elinor, “her opinions are all romantic.” What does it mean when the wisest and steadiest characters of the novel disagree about romantic sensibility? Elinor hopes her sister will grow out of it; Colonel Brandon thinks Marianne’s romanticism is natural and “amiable.” He believes a total change would be harmful. Who is right? What are the implications for our own romantic tendencies? (Guest question)
- What do you think would have happened if Colonel Brandon had been the one to “save” Marianne when she got hurt and not Willoughby? (Guest question: Nicole!)
You may answer as many questions as you like or just run with your thoughts! Either way, I’m looking forward to reading what you thought of Volume 1!