Sense and Sensibility

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Sense and Sensibility Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
John’s wife Fanny became the mistress of Norland, and Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters became mere guests. Mrs. Dashwood actually liked remaining at Norland, where everything reminded her of her former happiness with her late husband, because she enjoyed getting carried away in her own sorrow.
Mrs. Dashwood actually finds a kind of pleasure in indulging in her feelings of grief. She tends to express feelings to their utmost degree, whether happiness or sadness.
Themes
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Fanny disapproved of John’s plan to give his sisters 3000 pounds. She asked him to reconsider and said that he was taking money away from their own child. She thought that John owed his half-sisters nothing because they weren’t really his sisters.
Already very wealthy, Fanny is too greedy to consider helping out her (somewhat) less fortunate sisters-in-law.
Themes
Wealth, Class, and Greed Theme Icon
John told his wife that he couldn’t disobey his fathers dying request, but Fanny said that he hadn’t stipulated that John had to give his sisters money. She persuaded him to reduce his gift from 3000 to 1500 pounds. She said that the three daughters had a sizable fortune already from their parents, and John agreed that it would perhaps be more sensible to give Mrs. Dashwood one hundred pounds a year.
Fanny cleverly begins to persuade John to gradually drop his plan of generosity. She operates strategically in order to maximize wealth for her and her immediate family.
Themes
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Wealth, Class, and Greed Theme Icon
Fanny worried that under such an arrangement Mrs. Dashwood would live for a long time and they would end up losing a great deal of money. She cautioned John against agreeing to such an annuity. John agreed that annuities were unwise and thought he might simply give his sisters an occasional gift of some money.
Under Fanny’s influence, John prioritizes his own wealth over his love for and duty to his family. Fanny’s manipulative power over John is now becoming clear, as he has quickly changed his mind from giving his sisters 3000 pounds to giving them occasional gifts.
Themes
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Fanny said she thought Henry probably didn’t even intend for him to give his sisters money, but only wanted him to look out for them in a general way. She convinced him that his sisters really didn’t need any money from him and already had enough for a comfortable life. John quickly changed his mind and decided to give his sisters nothing other than some occasional “neighbourly acts” of kindness.
Fanny is a clever, strategic manipulator, driven mostly by greed and desire for wealth. Through artful persuasion, she is able to exercise some power over her husband. John succumbs to his greed, and goes back on the promise he made out of love to his dying father.
Themes
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Women in Society Theme Icon
Society and Strategy Theme Icon
Wealth, Class, and Greed Theme Icon