The Uses and Effects of Opposites in Sense and Sensibility.docx

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Tom LittleThe Uses and Effects of Opposites in Sense and SensibilityThe title of the novel, Sense and Sensibility, is a demonstration of an opposite in itself, and throughout the novel, Austen presents the reader with many opposites. These can be used to show a contrast between Austen’s own views and the tastes of society around her, and can be used to show differences between characters or scenes, and with these intentions, Austen tries to manipulate the reader’s response to the text and bring their ideas to be more alike hers. Considering this, what ‘opposites’ can we identify in the novel, and what are their effects on the reader?The most obvious dichotomy is that of the title, Sense and Sensibility, as mentioned earlier. In a way, these are two fundamental categories of idea which most other pairs of opposites can be classified into. Austen setting up an immediate contrast between sense and sensibility draws attention the changing tastes of England in the time of publication. The novel was published in the early 19thcentury, shortly after the start of the Romantic era, and coming off the back end of the Neoclassical period. These two periods of time prioritised different things in their art and literature: Neoclassical writers favoured such things as rationality, insight, judgement, and moderation; Romantic writers preferred irrationality, emotions, and individualism. Throughout the novel we can see a lot of Elinor’s thoughts and feelings on matters through free indirect speech, and through this we can see that she is acharacter who favours sense over sensibility. We can therefore assume that this is also Austen’s preference, as she appears to speak her own mind through the character of Elinor, and by setting the

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