Day One: Sense and Sensibility: Chapters 1-7

March 3, 2008 at 4:46 pm | Posted in Sense and Sensibility | 7 Comments
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It looked a bit scary, didn’t it? Knowing that the first discussion covered seven chapters! Seven whole chapters. But Jane Austen’s chapter length is very friendly isn’t it? I thought so. They won’t always be this short, but it’s nice while it lasted!

I’m going to start out being honest. I haven’t read this book before. This is all new to me. And so I’m just going to talk about what I read, when I read it. No pretty analysis here.

In the first chapter, we meet the Dashwood family. In particular our focus is drawn to three sisters and their mother. After the death of their father, they are now reliant on the kindess of their halfbrother (from the sisters’ perspective or the stepson if you’re looking from the mother’s perspective.) For the moment, all of the Dashwood family are residing together on their estate. An estate that has been left to John Dashwood (halfbrother to Elinor and Marianne and Margaret) and his son who is now a child.

In the second chapter, we get a close and intimate look at John Dashwood and his young wife. Not a pretty picture, is it? Could she be a bigger pain? She’s definitely a character that you want to smack and slap around. And John Dashwood is annoying. He needs a backbone!!!

In the third chapter, we meet Mrs. John Dashwood’s brother, Edward Ferrars. Edward and Elinor seem to hit it off quite well. And the pair are united in the imaginations of many who see them talking and walking together. The mother and sister feel confident of Edward’s affection for Elinor at least. Toward’s the end of the chapter, we see Marianne’s description of a perfect man. She even goes so far as to say, “I could not be happy with a man whose taste did not in every point coincide with my own. He must enter all my feelings; the same books, the same music must charm us both.” (14)

In the fourth chapter, Marianne and Elinor have an intimate chat. Elinor confides that while she is attached to Edward, he hasn’t expressed such sentiments to her. There is no formal or informal engagement between the two. She doubts there ever will be. Sometimes she sees signs of love, signs of attachment. But other times she doesn’t. And it is those times that scare her. She doesn’t want others to see that she cares. And she’s trying to discourage gossip. Mrs. John Dashwood is back in this chapter. And she is really bitchy. (I’m sorry but I don’t know quite how to say it otherwise.) The mother and the three sisters decide it would be best to go elsewhere so they don’t have to put up with her.

In the fifth chapter, the mother announces her decision to move to her stepson and daughter-in-law. Mrs. John Dashwood is just sorry that some fine property is going with them.

In the sixth chapter, they arrive at their new home, a cottage. They meet John Middleton, from whom they’re renting the cottage, and they meet his household, his wife, his children, and their guests.

In the seventh chapter, we are all introduced to Colonel Brandon.



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  1. Yes, I was worried when I read seven chapters! I was happy to find that I could speed through them in no time. Nice summary by the way. Mrs. John Dashwood is definitely a pain. I found it interesting that the book began with a discussion of finances, wills, estates, etc. I don’t think I’ve begun a book this way ever. I suppose it was Austen’s modest way of discussing social class, which most likely will be a theme throughout the rest of the novel.

    I’ll admit that I’ve never read any Austen and I was also worried that the book would start off boring. I was wrong. Seven chapters in and I’m still interested and not dozing off. Well, I’m off to read another five chapters!

  2. I’m enjoying this book so far. It overwhelms me because I’m not a huge Austen reader, and the classic English literature always scares me a bit… I usually have to take twice as long to read it just to make sure I get what’s going on. But I’m glad you’re doing this and it’s fun to read your thoughts and summary of each chapter as I’m reading it myself.

  3. I’m so glad that I joined because I wouldn’t have red this on my own. Thanks for your breakdown of the first 7 chapters, it helped immensely and it doesn’t hurt that I’ve watched the movie a million times. Can’t wait to continue on to Chapter 8…..

  4. Good lord, I can spell but this laptop hates me. Editing first sentence, red should be read!!

  5. This is my first online book discussion and I am really glad I found you. I have read Pride and Prejudice many times but never any other Austen books. I have watched the movie for this book many times and couldn’t help but make comparisons the entire time I was reading.

  6. This is a wonderful idea! I have been listening to Sense and Sensibility, so your chapter by chaper descriptions are quite helpful.

  7. […] Sense and Sensibility Schedule March 3, 2008 at 4:27 pm | In Sense and Sensibility | Tags: Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility Monday March 3rd: Chapters 1-7 […]

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