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Chapters 6-10

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Chapters 6-10

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Chapters 6-10

Chapters 6-10

Chapters 6-10

Clearly evident in these chapters are Austen's satiric voice and her keen understanding of human nature, particularly when she comments on the role of Lady Middleton's son as a conversation piece between the Dashwoods and the Middletons. She writes that:

Conversation... [was not lacking], for Sir John was very chatty, and Lady Middleton had taken the wise precaution of bringing with her their eldest child, a fine little boy about six years old; by which means there was one subject always to be recurred to by the ladies in case of extremity, for they had to enquire his name and age, admire his beauty, and ask him questions which his mother answered for him... On every formal visit a child ought to be of the party, by way of provision for discourse. In the present case it took up ten minutes to determine whether the boy were most like his father or mother, and in what particular he resembled either, for of course every body differed, and every body was astonished at the opinion of the others.

Here, Austen's use of the overarching, gnomic statements establishes a piercing irony. She writes that on every formal visit a child ought to be of the party, but knows, of course, that no one really cares which parent a child more closely resembles; Austen mocks all the ludicrous and rather irrelevant conversations devoted to this question.

Austen explains that Sir John tried to invite other guests to his home to greet the Dashwoods, but it was moonlight so everyone was already engaged. (Since moonlight made it easier to travel at night, social events were frequently scheduled on days around a full moon.) During this busy social period, Sir John was unable to invite any guests beyond his mother-in-law and his good friend Brandon; this is another subtle way of telling the reader that this family is not the most interesting or agreeable company.

Austen's opinion of her characters nearly always coincides with that of her heroine, Elinor Dashwood. Like the omniscient Austen, Elinor can appreciate the nobility of Colonel Brandon's gravity and reserve. Unlike Marianne, appearances do not dazzle the oldest sister: even though Willoughby at first seems like a considerate and kind gentleman, she immediately detects and becomes suspicious of his impulsivity and lack of prudence. In these chapters, as well as throughout the book, one can ascertain Austen's opinions of her characters by examining those of Elinor Dashwood.

As Elinor comes to appreciate Colonel Brandon as a man of good sense, Willoughby is increasingly characterized by excessive sensibility. Brandon, like herself, is well-read and wise, whereas Willoughby is overly romantic and headstrong like Marianne. Ironically, both of these men are attracted to Marianne, though Willoughby has much more in common with her. Marianne's own preference for Willoughby, and its disastrous consequences, reveal the danger of excessive sensibility and the importance of looking beyond appearances when judging human character.

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Colonel Brandon

by HapuFan, October 13, 2013

I fail to understand Colonel Brandon's attraction for Marianne - to all intents and purposes Elinor would seem, to me, a much more suitable partner. So Marianne's ultimate marriage to Brandon at the end of the novel leaves the only jarring note of what is, otherwise, a most enjoyable book. One last thing, I can't fathom why a younger daughter, Margaret, is introduced at all and would love to hear others' takes on my opinions.


17 out of 19 people found this helpful

willoughby,marianne and colonel

by petroosh, March 10, 2014

Elinor finds her love of life and she continues her life with edward while marianne is heart the novel the bond between elinor and edward,marianne and willoughby grow slowly and pssionately in their own ways while colonel's love for marianne is an unrequited love.we clearly acknowledged that marianne seeks love and passion more than elinor.but wat happens at the end is so spontaneous.itz somewhat hard to believe that a lover like marianne gets along with is evident that she marries him to prevent herself from her heartbr... Read more


22 out of 26 people found this helpful

Lucy and Edward's engagement summary problem

by marebear20, April 06, 2015

Concerning this engagement, for those of you who haven't read this masterpiece (tsk, tsk), Edward and Lucy became enamored with each other while Edward was staying at Lucy's uncle's home, Mr. Pratt. Because Edward wasn't aware of what girl's were really like comparatively, he thought Lucy was perfect enough to become engaged to her. Both he and Lucy were around 18-19. Later in the story, when Edward proposes to Elinor, he tells her that, yes he and Lucy had been engaged for FOUR years. NOT ONE. He is 23-24 when he tells her this. This fact i

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