Day Seven, Sense and Sensibility Chapters 31-34

March 17, 2008 at 4:25 pm | Posted in Sense and Sensibility | 3 Comments
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Chapters 31-34

Chapter 31

Marianne is still miserable. (Which is perfectly reasonable and logical.) They do hear from Mrs. Dashwood (their mother). She hasn’t learned of Willoughby’s engagement to another girl. She doesn’t know her daughter is heart broken and in the depths of despair so to speak. So it’s words bring pain because the mother is so assured of Willoughby’s good nature and good intentions.

Mrs. Jennings is now despised by Marianne. I don’t know that there was ever much love between them though. But now Marianne perhaps recognizes her more clearly as a gossip. Elinor seems to at least gives Mrs. Jennings some benefit of the doubt. Elinor thinks that Mrs. Jennings does show some remorse and some compassion. I’m not sure what to think. I would be skeptical and probably side with Marianne. “she cannot feel. Her kindness is not sympathy; her good nature is not tenderness. All that she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now because I supply it.” (172)

Marianne still wants to go home. But they decide to wait and hear from their mother before deciding what to do. (They end up staying.)

The highlight of this chapter is that Elinor has a very honest and very enlightening conversation with Colonel Brandon. It seems that his dealings with Willoughby are much more than upsetting than that of the Dashwoods. It seems Willoughby dallied with Colonel Brandon’s ward, Eliza. Marianne may be heartbroken, but at least she wasn’t left with a child to tend and no reputation. (I wonder how many little Willoughbys are out there???) Brandon did challenge Willoughby to a duel, but both were unharmed. Because of that, it never became gossip.

Chapter 32

Elinor shares these juicy bits with her sister. Hoping that hearing of Willoughby’s true nature will make her sister grateful that he is out of her life and grateful that her situation wasn’t worse. It certainly could have been worse than it is. And knowing that Willoughby is such a scoundrel, such a dog, may make Marianne think differently. At least it would if Marianne was anything like Elinor. Which she isn’t. So it doesn’t. It just leaves her sadder.

They hear from their mother. She wants them to stay. Mr. and Mrs. John Dashwood (half-brother and sister-in-law) are coming to London to visit. The Dashwoods aren’t the only ones coming to town. Lucy Steele and her sister are back. Lucy is still as venomous as ever. I really just want to slap her silly.

In this chapter, they also learn that Willoughby has married.

Chapter 33

The Dashwood sisters meet the Dashwood brother in town and have a little chat.

Chapter 34

The Dashwoods call on the Jennings. Mrs. John Dashwood (remember how bitchy she is) hits it off splendidly with Lady Middleton. They’re like new best friends. “There was a kind of coldhearted selfishness on both sides which mutually attracted them; and they sympathized with each other in an insipid propriety of demeanor and a general want of understanding.” (197) But Mrs. Jennings does NOT like Mrs. John Dashwood at all. Which I think just proves that maybe Elinor was right–that Mrs. Jennings isn’t a bad person.

Mrs. Ferrars–the greatly feared and greatly speculated on–mother of Edward makes her first appearance. She is a bit much.

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  1. I enjoyed the conversation between Elinor and Brandon. It opened up a lot regarding Willoughby and his behavior. I’m happier for Marianne now that I know what a creep Willoughby is. It’s amazing how well Austen’s themes cross over to present day? Isn’t it? Thoughts anyone?

  2. I agree. I think Austen is timeless. She’s great at capturing relationships of all sorts–friends, lovers, family. She’s also great at capturing types of people. She has a way, in my opinion, of capturing the best and worst of everyone human nature being what it is.

    After reading that about Willoughby it’s hard to think he’s not a slimeball. (Interpret that how you will.) But he’s a jerk in my opinion.) He has no integrity. If he’d just apologized and been honest he wouldn’t be so despicable. Admit he was wrong and foolish. Admit that he was just out for a little fun on the side. Or even tell her that his feelings have changed but that at one time he felt something for her. Admit that he’s marrying the other woman for her money.

    Marianne entered into this relationship, this courtship honestly. She didn’t know what she was getting into. It was an honest and sincere mistake on her part. She trusted him to be who he appeared to be.

    But Willoughby, I’m thinking now that this is routine for him. That he’s got a girl in every town. That he just moves from one to another to another always looking out for himself.

  3. you guys said it all and then some!


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