Sense and Sensibility

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Sense and Sensibility Chapter 37 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
About two weeks later, Mrs. Jennings told Elinor she had some news. She had been with Mrs. Palmer, whose baby was ill. They called a doctor, who had just been at John and Fanny’s home. As he was leaving Mrs. Jennings asked him if he had any news. He said that he hoped Fanny Dashwood would be all right.
Mrs. Jennings is always eager to learn the latest information or gossip, and always ready to share it.
Themes
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Mrs. Jennings asked what he meant, and he explained that Edward’s engagement to Lucy had been found out. Upon hearing of the engagement, Fanny “fell into violent hysterics.” She scolded Lucy harshly and told her to leave their home immediately. Mrs. Jennings pitied Lucy and thought that it would be good for her to marry Edward, even though she wasn’t rich.
Secrets can’t be kept for long in this society. Fanny doesn’t care whether Edward and Lucy love each other. She only cares that Lucy lacks a substantial fortune. Mrs. Jennings, on the other hand, supports their union even in spite of Lucy’s financial status.
Themes
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Society and Strategy Theme Icon
Wealth, Class, and Greed Theme Icon
Elinor was anxious to hear what Mrs. Ferrars would do when she found out about Edward’s engagement. She told the news to Marianne and took care not to “represent herself as suffering much.” Marianne was shocked. To her, “Edward seemed a second Willoughby.” She apologized for talking of Elinor and Edward and thinking that they were happily together, and was upset that Elinor had kept a secret from her.
Marianne must now revise her idea of Edward, as she had with Willoughby. She is sorry that she talked to Elinor about Edward when he was already engaged, and is upset that her close sister had kept a secret from her.
Themes
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
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Marianne felt sorry for Elinor, but Elinor assured her that she was no longer sad over Edward and had come to peace with his marrying Lucy. Marianne was amazed at the ease with which Elinor seemed to have gotten over Edward, but Elinor told her sister that she had indeed suffered much pain over the whole issue.
Marianne cannot believe that Elinor has not shown more emotion or sadness, but Elinor assures her that she has felt pain. She is simply more able to control her emotions.
Themes
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Elinor made Marianne promise to be discreet and not give “the least appearance of bitterness” to Lucy or anyone else over the situation. The next morning, John came to visit, and described how Mrs. Ferrars suffered and was “in agony” when she heard of Edward’s engagement. She disinherited Edward and said she would never see him again. Edward, however, would not give up his engagement to Lucy.
Elinor strategically asks Marianne to be smart among their acquaintances and not betray their true feelings on the matter. Mrs. Ferrars values wealth so much that she kicks Edward out of her household for wanting to marry someone who would not improve the family fortune.
Themes
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Character, Sense, and Sensibility Theme Icon
Society and Strategy Theme Icon
Wealth, Class, and Greed Theme Icon
Mrs. Jennings was glad of this, as Lucy was her cousin, and said that she would make a good wife. John told her that he did not dislike Lucy, but that “the connection must be impossible.” John told everyone that Edward had left and no one knew where he was now. He pitied Edward for his lost fortune and “wretched condition.”
John pities Edward, but still sees his engagement to Lucy as impossible because of Lucy’s small fortune. He prioritizes financial matters over love in questions of marriage.
Themes
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Wealth, Class, and Greed Theme Icon
John said that all of Edward’s inheritance had now gone to his younger brother Robert. He again said that he pitied Edward’s situation, and then left. Marianne, Elinor, and Mrs. Jennings all disapproved of how Mrs. Ferrars had handled the situation.
Marianne, Elinor, and Mrs. Jennings all think that Mrs. Ferrars has wronged her son and put too much stock in wealth, failing to consider the feelings or wishes of Edward.
Themes
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Wealth, Class, and Greed Theme Icon