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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES
Mrs. Dashwood and her children are still living in Norland Estate because they are not able to find suitable accommodations elsewhere. Mrs. Dashwood hopes that her stepson will provide them with financial support. In the meantime, Fanny's brother pays the family a visit. His charming manners and grace win Elinor's heart. Mrs. Dashwood is happy for her daughter and hopes for a match between the two. But Marianne is not impressed by Edward Ferrars, as he does not fit the image of a dashing young man, which is her personal idea of a worthy suitor.
Jane Austen here introduces one of the main characters in the novel. Edward Ferrars is Fanny's brother, but unlike her, he is courteous, refined and good-natured. His 'quiet and unassuming' manner win the approval of both Mrs. Dashwood and Elinor, but Marianne has reservations about him. As far as Marianne is concerned, he does not excite romantic feelings. In any case, Fanny, Edward Ferrars' sister, is likely to sabotage a relationship between him and Elinor.
Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne resemble each other in their thinking. Both of them jump to the conclusion that Edward will marry Elinor, and they start imagining the future without Elinor.
Marianne expresses her opinion about Edward to her sister, but Elinor does not agree with her views. Elinor considers Edward to be a good human being, reserved by nature but refined in taste. When Marianne becomes aware of Elinor's feelings for Edward, she decides to try to love him as a brother. In the meantime, Fanny takes note of the growing friendship between Edward and Elinor and warns Mrs. Dashwood against it. Mrs. Dashwood is offended and resolves to find a new home at the earliest possible convenience. Shortly afterwards, she receives a letter from her cousin, Sir John Middleton, who offers her a house at Barton Estate in Devonshire. The offer sounds reasonable. The Dashwood ladies start planning to move away from Norland.
Chapter 4 demonstrates the difference in the attitudes of Elinor and Marianne. Elinor carefully analyzes the character of Edward and approves of his manner and tastes, while Marianne shows her prejudice against Edward because he does not conform to her view of an ideal man. Elinor is rational, while Marianne is romantic.
The affair between Edward and Elinor is cut short due to the interference of Fanny. This incident foreshadows future events, which will create obstacles to their happiness. Elinor displays maturity by agreeing to move from Norland to Devonshire. She likes Edward and would have loved to keep his company, but in order to maintain their prestige, she consents to her mother's decision to leave Norland. She is pragmatic and considers the option to move to Barton as the best possible course under the present circumstances.
Mrs. Dashwood informs John and Fanny about her decision to move to Barton, in Devonshire. John Dashwood expresses concern about their going to such a distant place. Nevertheless, preparations begin for the journey. After taking Elinor's advice, Mrs. Dashwood sells off their carriage and keeps only three servants. They send their furniture and servants ahead so that their house will be ready for immediate occupation. After bidding farewell to John and Fanny, they set off for their new home.
Elinor acts as the head of the family by giving helpful suggestions to her mother. She assesses their situation and advises her mother to dispose of the carriage and some of the servants, as it would not be financially viable for them to retain them. Elinor is the only member of the family who clearly understands their changed status, and she believes in living within their means.
In contrast to Elinor, Marianne is engrossed in her own thoughts. She does not participate actively in the preparations, but passionately declares her fondness for Norland before departing. She sheds tears and remarks poetically, "Dear, dear Norland! when shall I cease to regret you--when learn to feel a home elsewhere?"