Day Four: Sense and Sensibility Chapters 19-22

March 10, 2008 at 4:18 pm | Posted in Sense and Sensibility | 4 Comments
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Chapter 19:

Edward’s quick arrival is matched by his quick departure. He’s still acting a bit moody. Elinor figures that he’s just having difficulty with his mother. (His mother does control the purse strings and boss him around.) There is a conversation about how helpless Edward is. How he doesn’t have a profession or a purpose. That he just wonders around from house to house socializing. “Lounging” and “Visiting” may not sound like much of a profession now, but I think it was relatively common about the elite in those days. It sounds like it would get tedious to me. And I’m not sure I’d think a man was a ‘good catch’ if he didn’t have some sort of purpose or goal other than socializing and making nice with the neighbors.

Elinor is very unhappy when he leaves. She does love him. But she isn’t one for putting herself on display like Marianne. She doesn’t want to appear affected. She likes to keep herself together, polished, reserved. She doesn’t embrace the heartache and let herself go wild with it.

The chapter concludes with the Middletons (Sir John, Lady Middleton, Mrs. Jennings) bringing two new house guests to visit them. Now we’re getting to what Austen does best. Mocking. Mr. and Mrs. Palmer are quite a pair. And quite mock-worthy. I believe I’ve got this right, but Mrs. Palmer is the sister of Lady Middleton and the daughter of Mrs. Jennings. Regardless, this marriage could grate on the nerves if you had to live with them.

Chapter 20

More of the Palmers. Mrs. Dashwood was fortunate enough to make her excuses and have them accepted. Marianne and Elinor are forced to endure their company. Elinor does learn that the Palmers ran into Colonel Brandon. Mrs. Palmer (first name, Charlotte) mentioned that she’d heard Marianne was getting married to Willoughby. Colonel Brandon just gave her a look. She took that look to mean it was ‘certain.’ I would feel sorry for this gossip. It certainly won’t be doing Marianne any favors if it proves false. But she was a bit reckless in her courtship. So maybe it’s slightly deserved? Who knows.

Gossip in general. With Mrs. Jennings doing most of the gossip in the neighborhood. And Mrs. Jennings “inferring” much of this gossip based on her intuition, interpreting things like looks and glances–the “body language” going on in a room of crowded people. I don’t know if any of it is trustworthy.

Chapter 21

The Palmers are gone. But the Dashwoods still can’t get any peace of mind. Now the Middletons have invited two more house guests. The Steeles. Two sisters. They’re not much more pleasant than the Palmers. The Dashwood sisters certainly wouldn’t voluntarily deepen the acquaintance. But they do what they must. Endure the conversations.

Chapter 22

What a tense chapter this is! Lucy Steele tells all. She’s engaged to Edward. Has been engaged to him for four years. IT is her hair that Edward wears in a ring. Elinor tries her best to handle the situation with grace. But to be chosen as a confidante of Lucy in the first place–a woman she barely knows and only mildly tolerates. But to have this woman be the betrothed of the man she loves. It’s a bit much. But Elinor is a lady. She knows how to hide her feelings on the surface at least.



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  1. I found Edward dull, the Palmers annoying and didn’t quite know what to think of the Steele sisters. I’m wondering if Mrs. Jennings’ gossip will eventually get her into any trouble.

  2. I believe that Lucy had ulterior motives in confiding in Elinor. She knows that Edward has feelings towards Elinor so she wants to put her straight and to let her know in that he is taken. I admire how Elinor can keep her feelings so well guarded, but I do believe in time she will break!! What a boring life to lead if all you had to look forward to was gossip….I feel sorry for the Dashwood sisters having to endure months of the Palmers and the Middleton’s!!

  3. My version of the book is broken up into parts 1, 2, and 3, which means that after chapter 22 the chapters start again from 1 again… does anyone else have this version? I’m kinda annoyed now that I noticed that…

  4. well done, brother

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