Sense and Sensibility

Sense vs. Sensibility: Which is the Victor?

Human nature undeniable has many facets is undeniable. Whether or not some character traits are superior to others, however, is debatable. One such deliberation is whether sense invariably triumphs over sensibility. Through her characters Catherine Morland in “Northanger Abbey” and Marianne Dashwood in “Sense and Sensibility,” Jane Austen boldly attempts, and succeeds, in answering this question. Each heroine faces the extraordinary challenge of leaving their childhood worlds of fantasy behind to develop as a rational adult and find “sensibility.” Austen also designs characters that are purer paradigms of reason and rationality, exposing innate flaws in either inclination through opposing characters. The resulting friction demonstrates that sense and sensibility do not necessarily surpass each other. Rather, their real value comes from their mutual role in maturation. Thus, neither trait is considerably useful unless influenced by its counterpart.

Although both Catherine Morland and Marianne Dashwood are Austen's models of sensibility, neither girl bears much similarity towards the other. Catherine is a naïve country girl with little guidance and no rational concept of human nature. Marianne, on the other hand, is not so...

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