Sense & Sensibility Readalong III: Ch. 23-36
While in the previous part, I particularly appreciated the character development, in this part it was the change of scene that in my view contributed the key factor to events. We follow the Miss Dashwoods to London, where lots of diversions await – but unfortunately for Marianne, events in the capital are marked by the awful discovery that her knight in shining armour is much less shiny than anticipated. Vile Willoughby (thank you, Alex, for this lovely description, it fits perfectly!) has forgotten her just as quickly as he had previously lured her in.
As a consequence, she suffers intensely and has no remorse about letting all the world know how terrible she’s doing. As Sense and Sensibility unfolds, I find myself getting more and more impatient with Marianne. OK, you have it tough, but get your act together and stop whining, girl! Before anyone accuses me of being heartless, I do feel for her, but I think it would be so much easier to be compassionate for her if she made even the tiniest effort of self-control. As things stand, I feel much more sympathetic towards Elinor’s suppressed grief than towards Marianne’s over-the-top teenager-y woes. Laura at Devouring Texts also has an urge to slap her – thank you, at least I’m not alone 😉 .
One character I was completely wrong about initially is Mrs Jennings. I really thought she was just a blabbering, slightly idiotic woman, but now I completely coincide with Alex’s assessment that while she’s a gossip and often more well-meaning than well-doing, the fact of the matter is that she is well-meaning. And loyal to the Miss Dashwoods. And lovely in her own, special way of recommending a good sip of Constantia wine to cure Marianne’s lovesickness.
As for the remaining characters, Brother Dashwood is possibly one of the shallowest literary characters I’ve ever met. Lucy Steele is the period equivalent of today’s It-girl wannabe, and her misuse of the past tense is sending the language control freak inside me into hyperventilation. Developments with Willoughby are, in my humble opinion, not hugely surprising – he’s all that Jane Austen has been setting him up to be. Finally, Colonel Brandon is the PERFECT match for Elinor. Could we just get it over with and let them get together now, please?