A fun report on Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility is a novel by Jane Austen. In its 315 pages lies the story of two British sisters who are as different as can be. One possesses too much sense, while the other is extremely romantic. Both fall in love—but are their suitors worthy of them?

Here is an exclusive interview with the Misses Dashwoods, after the conclusion of the Jane Austen’s narrative of their life. Reporter Jessica Glaser journeyed to Sussex, England, to find out their stories.

Reporter: Thank you very much, Elinor and Marianne, for allowing me to visit today. I am intrigued by your story. Will you do me the honor of answering questions concerning your tales of tragic love?

Elinor: Indeed, we are flattered by your interest. However, do not expect any fireworks; we are just ordinary people, with ordinary lives.

Marianne: Oh sister, how can you be so entirely sensible! Miss Reporter, we had fascinating romances, full of tragedy. But true love reigned victorious!

Reporter: Elinor, what did you do after your father died, and your brother took over your house?

Elinor: Well, it was quite a shock that my brother and his wife were so cruel as to nearly force us away from our home. I helped Mother decide what house we could afford to live in. Finally we settled on a small cottage. Still, we had to watch our pennies closely, for we did not have much money.

Reporter: Before you moved, you also met your sister-in-law’s brother, Edward Ferrars. Did you have any regard for him, other than friendship?

Elinor: I tried not to care for him, but found myself falling in love with him. I thought he shared that feeling. We were good friends, and he seemed to care. But after we moved, he never visited. We wondered at that, for he was formerly like a brother.

Reporter: Marianne, could tell us about the love affair between you and John Willoughby?

Marianne: Oh yes! That fateful day! Oh, that I had never suggested that my sister Margaret and I go on a walk! Well, we did, and it started to rain torrentially. The air was so invigorating, however, that I decided to run down the hill at full speed. Alas! I fell at the bottom, and sprained my ankle horribly. Then a gentleman rode gallantly to us, swept me up in his arms, and carried me home. That man was Willoughby, who was rich and well thought of by all. Our friendship deepened at a fast pace. Both of us were of the romantic nature (Shakespeare always brings people together!). So before a fortnight passed we were very much in love.

Reporter: Did others know of the attachment?

Marianne: Yes, indeed, many people thought we were engaged. Despite Elinor’s objections, we continued our courtship in a very public manner, which later I regretted deeply.

Reporter: One day Willoughby left suddenly, acting strangely when he said goodbye to Marianne. His excuse was business. Did you ever doubt him?

Marianne: Oh, no! Neither did my mother. But Elinor certainly did; I merely thought her critical and unkind. After Willoughby’s departure, I fell into despair, wishing him to return so.

Reporter: Both the Miss Dashwoods attended a party, to which an acquaintance, Miss Lucy Steele, was also invited. Elinor, would you tell us about the conversation between yourself and Lucy?

Elinor: Miss Lucy deemed herself a close friend of mine, although I had no particular interest in her. She was uneducated, and rather too fond of flattering others to gain alliances.

However, she approached me on the night of the party, telling me she was about to share a secret no one else knew. Her story was that a certain young man and she had fallen in love nearly five years ago. Knowing Lucy was far too young, and her suitor not rich enough yet, they decided upon a secret engagement. Letters passed between them for all those years, but rarely could they see one another. You can imagine my shock when she uttered the man’s name: Mr. Edward Ferrars, the very man who had stolen my affections! Fortunately Lucy did not notice my distress.

Reporter: Did you not think ill of Edward, after this conversation?

Elinor: Indeed, I did not know what to think. I was in love with Edward, but he had never made known his feelings toward me. That he could choose a girl so unrefined as Lucy astounded me. Because I had given my promise, I could not tell a single soul of the torment in my heart. While Marianne wailed aloud over Willoughby, I tried to appear normal.

Reporter: Then both Elinor and Marianne went to London for several months, staying with a distant relation. Marianne, were you expecting to see Willoughby?

Marianne: I was quite sure of the fact that Willoughby would come to call during our stay in London, for he had said that was his destination. Imagine my distress when day after day no return of letters or cards was made! Finally my sister convinced me to attend a ball, for I had fled from all social gatherings. How surprised and utterly happy I was when, looking across the room, was Willoughby! I raced towards him, shouting his name. He turned a sober face towards me, and bowed stiffly, as if I were a mere acquaintance. Then he walked away, leaving me nearly fainting.

Reporter: You eventually received a letter from Willoughby?

Marianne: Yes. He said he never meant to show affection of that sort, and returned my locks of hair he had cut himself. In addition, he said he was to be married in a few short weeks! As you can imagine, I was heartbroken.

Reporter: Marianne, you fell ill with the scarlet fever and nearly died. This was when Colonel Brandon crossed your path again, was it not?

Marianne: Yes, he proved to be a very dear friend during that horrible time. He related to Elinor the story he had learned of Willoughby’s inappropriate behavior with the girl of whom Colonel Brandon was guardian. Learning this helped destroy my love for Willoughby. After I recovered and returned home, the Colonel became a frequent visitor. Gradually I found myself falling in love with him (overcoming the fact that I did hear him complain of rheumatism in his shoulder once!).

Reporter: Elinor, all this time you were trying to forget about Edward?

Elinor: I tried my hardest to reconcile myself to the fact that he and Lucy were truly in love, and that Edward had never loved me. When we heard that their wedding had taken place, I had to grieve all over again. One day, Edward paid us a visit. Naturally we asked him about Lucy, and his response was most surprising. He informed us that she and his younger brother had fallen in love, and Lucy had broken their engagement so that she might marry Robert. Being suddenly overwhelmed by conflicting emotions, I could not imagine that it was true. Edward returned the next day to ask me to marry him—of course I answered in the affirmative! Because we were free to tell each other everything, he said that his boyish attraction for Lucy had been a case of immature judgment. But now he was full of joy that he was able to marry the one he truly loved.

Reporter: So both of you are now happily married?

Marianne: Indeed we are, to the finest men ever! We have remained a very close family, and shall live happily ever after, as they say in books!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Natalie
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 22:01:11

    Journalism — It may not be the language of poets, but the poets always turn to the journalists in the end. Very nicely done, Jess. I enjoyed it. 🙂


  2. Rebekah
    Oct 05, 2009 @ 19:44:21

    Good job Jessica!!! I just had to laugh over it! 🙂


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