In the center of the narrative are two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Endless vicissitudes of their love (“sensitive”) experiences and languor and will form the plot of the novel.
But let us start from the beginning and try to understand the intricate plot lines and related ties of the characters.
Outside the narrative, a certain gentleman departs to the world, Mr. Henry Dashwood, a descendant of an ancient family, the owner of the beautiful Norland Park manor in Sussex. Mr. Dashwood had a son from his first marriage, John, and his second wife (Mrs. Dashwood became one of the heroines of the novel) gave him three daughters: Elinor and Marianne, already familiar to us, and also the youngest Margaret, who will not play a big role in the narrative. But, however,
However, the last will expressed on deathbed, not being fixed on paper, at all times was a thing quite doubtful and to the performance is not at all obligatory, calculated only for the nobility of those to whom it was intended. Mr. John Dashwood did not suffer from excessive nobility, and if he had “good impulses”, so he had a wife, Mrs. John Dashwood (Fanny), so that the impulses could be put out in time. Fanny quickly managed to convince her husband that it would be undoubtedly better if he did not give any support at all to his sisters and stepmother. And as a result, Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters were forced to leave the house in which they had lived happily for so many years-a rich relative, a certain Sir John Middleton who lived in Devonshire, offered her shelter.
This cottage was a charming little house in his estate in Burton Park, and soon the ladies departed to their new penates, taking with them all the tableware
So, our heroines arrive in Barton Cottage, and they do not have time to properly live up their new home, as a fatal meeting takes place, incredibly romantic: on a walk in the forest, Marianna, stumbling over some snag, turns her leg – and then, from where neither a young gentleman arises, he jumps off the horse and takes Marianna into the house. Passion flashes between him and Marianne from the first meeting. But I must say that before that, Marianne was able to turn her head (“reluctantly mad”) to another quite worthy gentleman. His name is Colonel Brandon. A person in the past who has a secret (which, it will be explained later: also fatal love), owing to this constantly residing in melancholy, silent and sad. And besides – incredibly old: he is already thirty-five, and Marianna with anger and contempt says to her sister,
In general, Marianne in the duet with Elinor is the personification of a rebellious, unrestrained feeling, and her sister is of intelligence, the ability to “rule oneself.” So, Marianne and Willoughby spend the whole day together, without parting, for days, partly, perhaps, breaking secular decorum – but this is still a province, and the conventions here, in the bosom of nature, are observed a little less strictly. However, everyone in the district believes that they are the bride and groom, and their marriage is decided by the deed. Marianne herself does not doubt this. However, one day (or rather, the morning) Willoughby unexpectedly appears in their house with a farewell visit: he leaves. His coldness and estrangement, and most importantly, the total uncertainty about his return – all this is staggering to the inhabitants of the Barton Cottage. Marianne is simply going mad from grief, unable to hide her despair and a broken heart.
In Barton Park, at some point, two more young ladies appear, Steele’s sisters, one of whom, Lucy, shyly (or rather, shamelessly) her eyes down, with feigned modesty, knowing, no doubt, about the feeling linking Elinor and Edward Ferrars, it is she, Elinor, who believes her “terrible secret”: it turns out that a few years ago, he and Edward secretly became engaged, and, of course, Edward’s mother, the formidable Mrs. Ferrara, was an obstacle to their marriage. Elinor stoically listens to the revelations that an unexpected rival brings upon her, but between the two girls there is at once a mutual dislike, poorly concealed by equally mutual courtesies.
And another character appears in the novel: Mrs. Jennings, Lady Middleton’s mother, “a lady of very pleasant living temper, a good-natured cheerful woman, already in years, very talkative and vulgar in order.” A sort of “Bartonian gossip”, the meaning of life (and the only occupation) is the desire to marry all. And since she has already quite successfully married both her daughters, now she is busy with the device of happiness of the neighboring ladies. Perhaps because of this, seeing the broken heart of Marianne, she invites her and her sister to stay in her London house. So the Dashwood sisters get to the capital. Their regular guest is Colonel Brandon, who watches with bitterness the suffering of the so not indifferent Marianne. However, it soon becomes clear that Willoughby is also in London. Marianne sends him – secretly from her sister – several letters, nothing received in return. Then the case brings them to a ball, and Willoughby is cold again, courteous and far away: after saying a few meaningless words, he moves away from Marianne to his young companion.
Marianne again unable to hide her confusion and despair. The next day from Willoughby comes a letter, utily courteous and therefore even more offensive. He returns to Marianne her letters and even a curl given to him. Colonel Brandon reveals Elinor’s “true face” to Willoughby: it turns out that he was the one who seduced (and then, with the baby in his arms, the cast) the young pupil of Colonel Eliza (the illegitimate daughter of the “first love” of the colonel, whose story at this moment he and expounds Elinor). As a result, Willoughby marries “by calculation” on the rich heiress of Miss Gray.
After this news events in the life of Marianne go to the plan purely “experiencing” (“sensitive”), and in terms of the movement of the plot, the center of gravity is transferred to the fate of Elinor.
And everything is connected with Edward Ferrars. Accidentally encountering in the jewelry store with his brother John, Elinor and Marianne begin to visit his house on Harley Street, where Elinor again meets Lucy Steele. But self-confidence at one point or another almost killed this young lady: Fanny Dashwood and Mrs. Ferrara find out about her secret engagement to Edward, after which Lucy is shamelessly banished from the house where she and her sister just received an invitation to stay, and Edward, in his turn, is deprived of his mother’s inheritance. But, “as an honest man,” now he is going to fulfill this once-oath, combined with “unhappy Lucy” legal marriage. Colonel Brandon (embodied nobility and unselfishness: without superfluous words, to the utter bewilderment of associates,
And asks Elinor to fulfill this delicate mission: to inform Edward (with whom the colonel is unfamiliar) about his proposal. The Colonel does not know that Elinor has long loved Edward, and therefore does not understand how much pain such a conversation will cause her. However, faithful to duty, Elinor fulfills the assignment given to her and, confident that now her dreams of marriage with Edward finally come to an end, she and her sister leave London. On the way home, to the mother, whom they had not seen for a long time, they stay in Cleveland, with Mrs. Jennings. Unexpectedly, Marianne is seriously ill, she is unconscious, her life is in danger. Elinor turns into a nurse, caring and devoted. On the day when Marianne is finally getting better, the crisis is over, Elinor, tired, sitting alone in the living room, hears that a carriage has arrived at the house. Assuming,
Insanely agitated, he asks from the doorway about Marianne’s health and, only knowing that her life is out of danger, finally takes a breath. “I want to offer some explanations, some excuses for what happened, to open my heart to you and, convincing you that although I could never boast of prudence, the scoundrel was not always, to obtain a shadow of forgiveness from Ma… from your sister “. He reveals to Elinor his secrets – not too, frankly, interesting, he pours out his “suffering soul” and, romantic, disappointed, leaves, leaving Eleanor “in the power of a multitude of thoughts, although contradictory but equally sad Willoughby, contrary to all his vices, aroused sympathy, for they had condemned him to suffering, which now, when he was forever cut off from their family,
A few days later, walking along with Marianna around the neighborhood of Barton Park, where once they first met Willoughby, Elinor finally decides to tell Marianne about his night visit and an unexpected confession. “Marianne’s clear mind and common sense” this time takes precedence over “feeling and sensitivity,” and Elinor’s story only helps her to put an end to her sighs of unfulfilled happiness. Yes, however, there is no time to sigh both to both of them, for the novel’s action uncontrollably tends to the denouement. Of course, happy. For Elinor, it’s a marriage with Edward Ferrars: Lucy Steele, unexpectedly for both of them, freed him from the “honor obligations” falsely understood by him, marrying Edward Robert’s younger brother. Marianne, after some time after the wedding, the sisters, having subdued pride, becomes the wife of Colonel Brandon.