Sense and Sensibility

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Sense and Sensibility Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Marianne told Elinor that she thought Edward had no taste, but Elinor objected, saying he had “an innate propriety and simplicity of taste,” and indubitable “sense and goodness.” Marianne apologized for possibly offending her sister and said that she would be happy to have Edward as a brother.
Elinor is attracted to Edward’s propriety and good sense, whereas Marianne could never marry someone without her specific notion of taste. Marianne assumes that Edward and Elinor are headed for marriage.
Themes
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Character, Sense, and Sensibility Theme Icon
Elinor was shocked that Marianne would speak so certainly of this marriage, but admitted that she esteemed Edward. Marianne called her cold for using such an unemotional word. Elinor told her sister that there were more things to consider than Edward’s affection for her, specifically his financial independence and whether he could marry someone who, like Elinor, did not possess a large fortune.
Elinor is prudent and cautious. She doesn’t want to speak of a marriage with Edward until it is certain. To Marianne, her restraint appears cold and unfeeling. Elinor reminds her sister that marriage is often a matter of financial issues as much as it is of love.
Themes
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Character, Sense, and Sensibility Theme Icon
Wealth, Class, and Greed Theme Icon
Marianne was certain that Elinor and Edward would be engaged, though Elinor herself was unsure. When Fanny learned of Edward’s possible affection for Elinor, she did not like it at all and warned him that he had to “marry well.”
Fanny strategically reminds Edward to “marry well” in front of the Dashwoods, hoping to prevent Edward’s marriage to Elinor. She wants him to marry someone wealthier.
Themes
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Society and Strategy Theme Icon
Wealth, Class, and Greed Theme Icon
A relative of Mrs. Dashwood, named Sir John Middleton, wrote to her with a proposal. He had a cottage on his property, Barton Park, where she and her daughters would be welcome to live. This property was a great distance from Norland, and Mrs. Dashwood immediately accepted the offer. Elinor did not particularly want to leave Norland but thought it made good sense, so did not object to her mother’s plan.
Elinor has sentimental attachments to Norland and does not want to leave Edward just as they are beginning to grow fond of each other, but she knows that it makes good sense for her family to move, so she rationally prioritizes what is best for her family over her own feelings and desires.
Themes
Character, Sense, and Sensibility Theme Icon
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