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Free Study Guide-Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen-Free Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES

CHAPTER 17

Summary

Edward's presence cheers the atmosphere of Barton cottage. Mrs. Dashwood is happy to see him and inquires about his family. Edward is overwhelmed by her hospitality and kindness. Although he does not display high spirits, he feels comfortable in their company. The girls draw him into an animated conversation, and he participates with enthusiasm. He teases Marianne, but when she calls him reserved, he is offended.

Notes

The Dashwoods present themselves as a happy and harmonious family. They are delighted to entertain special guests like Edward. Edward's arrival at Barton Cottage subdues the gloom caused by Willoughby's departure. Mrs. Dashwood and the girls do their best to make Edward feel at home. They talk to him like good friends and jest with him.


The conversation between Edward and the girls exposes the attitude of each participant. Marianne reveals her idealism when she mocks wealth and grandeur. She is frank and blunt in expressing her views. Elinor's remarks emphasize her pragmatism and common sense. She is cautious but firm in expressing her thoughts. Margaret represents the bubbly teenager with stars in her eyes and fancy wishes in her heart. Edward is frank in his views but is sensitive to others' remarks about him.

CHAPTER 18

Summary

Elinor is disturbed to see Edward looking forlorn. She begins to doubt his affection for her. During lunch, Marianne notices a lock of hair in Edward's ring and comments on it. Edward puts forward an unconvincing reply. John Middleton pays them a visit and gets acquainted with Edward. He also realizes that Edward is the same man Margaret had mentioned as her elder sister's love. He invites all of them to tea followed by dinner at the Park. At the party John Middleton refers to Willoughby, much to Marianne's delight. Edward is able to guess the extent of the relationship between Marianne and Willoughby.

Notes

Elinor is observant. She notices the change in Edward's behavior. His forced reserve and aloof manner arouse her suspicions. She is no longer sure of Edward's feelings for herself. She is disturbed but hides her emotions cleverly and behaves normally with Edward.

Edward's disturbed mind affects his speech and manner. He is cautious in his behavior towards the family, and he sounds bitter during their conversations. He is critical about himself and confesses his inability to appreciate the beauty of the countryside or to express it in words. His statements shock Marianne, but Elinor looks amused.

Marianne is blunt and indiscreet. She inquires about the lock of hair on Edward's ring, much to his and Elinor's embarrassment. The situation is saved by Edward's diplomacy and Elinor's cool manner.

CHAPTER 19

Summary

Edward spends a pleasant week with the Dashwood family. During one of their conversations, Mrs. Dashwood suggests that Edward to pursue a profession of his choice to keep himself occupied. Edward expresses his helplessness in the matter. When he takes their leave, he looks depressed. Elinor feels disturbed but is discreet enough not to reveal her emotions to others. She keeps herself busy doing household work. One day the Middletons bring two new guests to the cottage. They are Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, the daughter and son-in-law of Mrs. Jennings. Mr. Palmer keeps himself aloof from others. As they leave, Sir John extends an invitation to the Dashwoods to spend the next day at the Park.

Notes

Jane Austen keeps introducing new guests at Barton. Willoughby, Edward and the Palmers arrive one after the other. Also, each party makes an appearance only after the previous one has left the scene. This device enables the author to direct the reader's attention in a controlled fashion.

Edward displays sadness while expressing his thoughts to the Dashwoods and appears dejected before leaving the cottage. He does not appear his normal self; he is inhibited in his behavior.

Elinor, unlike Marianne, keeps her sorrow well concealed from the others. Edward's departure from Barton does affect her emotionally, but she does not brood over it, like her sister would. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, she keeps her mind occupied by performing household duties.

In contrast to Edward's cautious reserve is Mrs. Palmer's uninhibited manner. She is delighted to meet the Dashwood girls and appreciates the decor of the cottage. She is overexcited, shows enthusiasm and looks cheerful. Mr. Palmer is exactly her opposite in temperament. He is sober and reserved, keeping his thoughts to himself. They make an interesting couple and amuse the readers with their idiosyncrasies.

Sir John takes pleasure in entertaining guests and introducing them to the Dashwoods. He is proud of his cultured tenants and is overjoyed at having invited them to the Park. Elinor understands his nature and accepts his hospitality with good- humor, but Marianne is evidently irked by his frequent invitations.

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