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Free Study Guide-Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen-Free Book Notes
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PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS

The plot of Sense and Sensibility traces the story of two young women who experience the ecstasy of love and the agony of separation before getting married to their partners. The plot is fairly straightforward, but the emotions of the characters portrayed are complex. The plot is concerned with the emotional life of the two heroines.

Elinor and Marianne are the charming daughters of Mrs. Dashwood. They possess intelligence and talent but have limited financial support; they live with their brother after the death of their father. Circumstances occur which allow Elinor to meet Edward Ferrars. Soon afterward, the girls and their mother leave for Barton. Here Marianne meets Willoughby.


The action develops further when the two heroines become acquainted with their love interests. They spend happy moments in the company of these men and hope to be married to them. However, a crisis is created in the novel when their lovers turn their affections to other women. The climax occurs when Willoughby insults Marianne and later informs her of his engagement to Miss Grey.

A similar situation takes place when the man-servant informs Elinor of the marriage of Lucy Steele to Mr. Ferrars. Marianne goes through a period of depression and falls seriously ill. Elinor feels miserable to think of her Edward united with a lesser woman.

The denouement (final outcome) begins when the heroines emerge from the anguish of their personal sufferings. Marianne renews her enthusiasm for life and starts realizing the worth of Colonel Brandon. Elinor is relieved when Edward reveals the truth to her and then proposes. The denouement is complete when Marianne gets married to Colonel Brandon and Elinor marries Edward Ferrars at Delaford.

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