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Romantic and neoclassical philosophies in jane austens sense and sensibility

Elinor is portrayed as the character with sense, rational judgment and the qualities that are associated with it such as self- government, duty compassion and propriety.


In the novel, Elinor can be seen to possess a sense and understanding of social propriety. Social propriety was the proper way to behave at that time. She adheres to the social conventions and customs of society to save herself and others from embarrassment, discomfort and injury: Another Neo- Classic quality is sound personal judgement.

Marianne, in her Romantic demeanour, was not capable of sound judgement but approached matters in the novel with a biased viewpoint. Elinor is also distinguished for her ability to self govern her feelings.

Questions and Topics for Discussion

The neo classics disprove of one indulging in feelings and believe one should instead conceal them, suffering silently. Marianne, the romantic, focuses solely on her own feelings and disregards the feelings of others. However, Elinor follows Neo Classic ethics by remaining a pillar of support for those who depend on her.

  • Edward has just left the family, after staying with them for a short while;
  • In the beginning and even towards the middle she is perfectly composed in front of friends and family, but here at the end, she is overcome by her emotions;
  • This is a reminder to pay attention to detail, to the little things, and not only what is right in front of you;
  • To get a completely brand-new, plagiarism-free essay, please use our essay writing service;
  • Although Jane Austen did not advocate blind following of convention, she did insist that good manners were of utmost importance as a manifestation of self-control and respect for others;
  • We read her books today on the cusp of a new century, with an unfathomable world creeping up on us, too—one globally interconnected, technologically complex, economically uncertain.

She does not withdraw away and contemplate her life but instead carries on with the duties she undertook since the beginning of the novel. She continually self sacrifices her desire to the needs and benefit of those around her, showing a magnanimous concern to others while silencing her own feelings; dealing with issues with an unbiased outlook: This shows Maturity in her love for Edward; maturity being a Neo-Classic attribute: The Romantics, following their heart desires, felt no desire to do this if it went against their principles.

As a result of they experience outbursts in passion when they are not able to contain their feelings. Elinor experiences this in the conclusion of the narrative, when she finds out she is able to marry Edward.

She is unable to control herself as it was seen to be the first time in the novel Elinor truly expressed her feelings. This Strength of feeling is a Neo Classic Attribute.

The Romantics was, in essence, a revolt against the reason infatuated Neo- Classics. The Romantics enjoyed the simple and emotional aspects of life; they wanted to be free, not enslaved by the social constructs of the Neo- Classic society where they are burdened by etiquette and the demand for intellectual pursuits. They abhorred the idea of being members of a society, rather saw human beings as individuals and focused on individual thoughts and emotions.

They considered urban, social existence to be artificial and corrupting to their liberated heart. Romanticism searches for truth, and believes that stolid religious concepts and social rules diverted them from the truth.

Like the Romantics Austin delineates, Marianne describes the sensibility spoken of in the title. Like a true Romantic, she longs to be one with nature and often walks in the woods: They do not like the idea of an unofficial social duty requiring them to behave a certain way; instead they prefer to express themselves however they so please. This is typical of Marianne. She believes propriety to be directed by feeling alone.

Throughout the novel the words she speaks and her actions reflect her Romantic self-cantered attitude: This is concurrent with the Romantic sense of freedom and trust in imaginative potential. The romantic ideals were influenced by this trust in imagination and her decisions on love and marriage were based on unrealistic, idealistic and erroneous notions.

Example research essay topic: Jane Austen Neoclassicism Versus Romanticism - 1,504 words

I require so much! Marianne however, in her natural ignorance, believes she is justified in ignoring the requirements of social conduct. She aims straight for the truth and in doing so neglects to speak with tact and can be direct. In doing so she ignores the conventions of social discourse; an attribute archetypal of Romantics: Many instances in the novel can lead a reader into believing the text lends itself to be biased against Romanticism.

She is reformed by this illness and calls into question all her ideals and the attitudes displayed throughout the text. She comprehends the hypocrisy and error in her previous conduct.

  • She adheres to the social conventions and customs of society to save herself and others from embarrassment, discomfort and injury;
  • Their reunion forces a recognition of the false values that drove them apart.

One of the main revelations she realizes is the burden her actions have placed on her family, particularly Elinor: She maintains her feeling, eagerness and vitality however instead of concentrating on selfish ambitions of matters of the heart, she channels them into her newfound social duties as wife, mother and patroness of Delaford.

Sense and Sensibility was used by Jane Austin to delineate her social culture of which her life consisted of. She uses both her protagonists, Marianne and Elinor, to effectively describe the balance that must be present in order to benefit from the virtuous attributes of both philosophies. By glorifying Elinor as the heroine of the novel, a character who is majority Neo- Classic, the reader can see which philosophy Jane Austin considers more suitable.

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