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      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     
Kell

Jane Austen Book Group - Sense and Sensibility

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I know I'm a few days late with the thread for this, but here goes!

 

The first book we'll be reading (throughout January and February) is Sense and Sensibility:

 

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love - and its threatened loss - the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

 

~~***~~







In deference to those who may be reading it for the first time - if you're going to talk about a major plot point, please state which chapter your post relates to and use the spoiler tags, so that those who haven't yet reached that point will know to wait a while before reading that post!




Some questions to consider:

1- What do you think of inheritance arrangements and how do they affect the various characters? How does this compare to how wills are orchestrated nowadays? What does this say about how women as descendents were viewed by society at the time?

2- How do men and women interact? Which interactions in particular did you find interesting and why? How do these relationships and interactions compare to engagements and marriages today?

3- Are the characters in Sense and Sensibility conventional in their thoughts and actions according to the time in which the novel is set? In what ways do they conform (or not) to conventions? What is expected of them and how do they react to those expectations?

4- Who was your favourite character and why?

5- Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?

6- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

7- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

8- Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

9. In your opinion, does Sense and Sensibility have a happy ending?



(You do not have to answer all, or indeed, any, of these questions, they are meant only as points for you to perhaps mull over as you read, and provoke more discussion. Please feel free to ask and answer any questions that come up as you read.)

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I've read this one twice, but it's been a few years. I remember being surprised the last time I read it. I know I'm a different person now with different experiences, so reading it again will be like reading something new, only with characters I already love!:friends0:

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I'm into the sixth chapter now.

The Dashwoods have just arrived at Barton Cottage, and are about to meet Sir John and Mrs. Jennings. I love Mrs. Jennings!

I'm enjoying the book more than I thought, having read it twice before. But the last time I read it was so long ago, that it feels fresh. That's the great thing about Jane Austen! She can be read over and over again.:lol:

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I started S&S last night, and while it takes a few moments to get into the swing of the prose, I am throughly enjoying it. I've only read one other Austen, Pride and Prejudice last year, so am looking forward to this Austen Journey. :)

 

I have already found out one thing...from the DVD [the Emma Thompson/Hugh Grant version] I'd not been able to pinpoint how the Dashwood's originally came into ownership of the property, this cleared that up pronto. I was also surprised to see that the father died right off the bat, in the film, he was around longer.

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I've just started this today. Up to chapter 2 and already immersing myself in Austen's beautiful prose. :)

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I was also surprised to see that the father died right off the bat, in the film, he was around longer.

 

I actually remember the father dying in the opening scene of the movie version. Could you have perhaps seen a different version?:welcome:

 

I am enjoying this book again, but I'm finding myself getting more and more irritated at Marianne.

She acts like a brat so much in the beginning, and I know that later on she acts like getting dumped is the end of the world. Of course, the point of the book is the stark difference between Eleanor and Marianne in the way they handle their disappointments. But sometimes I just want to shout: Stop being so selfish and melodramatic, Marianne! And for god's sake, be nicer to Colonel Brandon! :006:

 

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I saw the version that Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman played in, can't remember the year though. The father's character seemed to be far more developed than in the book.

 

I know what you mean about wanting to shout at Marianne, the actress that played in this film, can't remember her name was quite good at catching that irritating quality of hers.

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1- What do you think of inheritance arrangements and how do they affect the various characters? How does this compare to how wills are orchestrated nowadays? What does this say about how women as descendents were viewed by society at the time?

 

Since Jane Austen's audience was well acquainted with the arrangements of the day, I sometimes lose track of how it all works.

But I take it context and understand that society was strict in her day.

 

2- How do men and women interact? Which interactions in particular did you find interesting and why? How do these relationships and interactions compare to engagements and marriages today?

I'm always amazed that love ever happened at all. The constrained relations between Elinor and the men she comes in contact with seems so cold and distant. (Which in her society becomes an advantage as opposed to Marianne's impulsive actions).

There are pros and cons to both the constraints of Austen's society and today's. But, frankly, I'd be a Marianne and probably get in trouble. LOL.

3- Are the characters in Sense and Sensibility conventional in their thoughts and actions according to the time in which the novel is set? In what ways do they conform (or not) to conventions? What is expected of them and how do they react to those expectations?

I think it's interesting. Marianne flouts conventions of the day, but I do want to slap her for her selfishness and judgmental attitude. She neither listens nor speaks to any purpose until the end. But Elinor was also annoying with her hidden angst and unrequited (because she did not show her preference) attraction. I feel for her, but I don't understand her.

4- Who was your favourite character and why?

 

I love Elinor. I know I'm nothing like her and I wish, as Marianne eventually does, to have her fortitude and ability to keep her feelings within her. She is admirable both in action and in thought. She treated all she came in contact with in a kind, generous manner. I admire her.

 

5- Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?

I disliked Marianne's reaction to her deserved set down. She clutches her bosom and drags everyone into her little drama. I thought she would have been better off just having a good cry and getting over it.

 

6- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

No. The first was P&P. I read this after P&P and Emma.

7- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

That a few of the people who deserved to suffer, didn't seem to get their comeuppance. Which I guess is like real life.

8- Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

Yes, absolutely.

9. In your opinion, does Sense and Sensibility have a happy ending?

Yes. Except for the stuff I mentioned in #7.

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Warning: spoliers!!!:welcome:

 

1- What do you think of inheritance arrangements and how do they affect the various characters? How does this compare to how wills are orchestrated nowadays? What does this say about how women as descendents were viewed by society at the time?

Women were obviously not viewed as proper inheritors of property. Since their main goal was to marry, their income and property would mainly come from their husband's family, with the exception of any dowry from her father. She is either supported by her father or by her husband. It was a very male dominated time.

 

2- How do men and women interact? Which interactions in particular did you find interesting and why? How do these relationships and interactions compare to engagements and marriages today?

The relationship that was the most interesting to me was the one between Marianne and Willoughby. Simply because they spend so much time together alone and write each other letters, their family and friends believe them to be engaged. It's obvious that a man and a woman who were not engaged would not converse with so much familiarity or write letters to each other. It's very different from today, as people generally live together before marriage. That would have been unheard of in Austen's time.

3- Are the characters in Sense and Sensibility conventional in their thoughts and actions according to the time in which the novel is set? In what ways do they conform (or not) to conventions? What is expected of them and how do they react to those expectations?

Most of the characters are conventional, but a few are not, especially Marianne. She even declares her indifference to what people say or think about her, or what they think she should do. She is free-spirited in everything she feels and does. By the end, however, she does seem to settle down to a much more conventional way of thinking and behaving.

4- Who was your favourite character and why?

Elinor is my very favorite because of her strength and her obvious deep feeling. I tend to keep a lot of my emotions inside, and I sympathized with her. I also like Mrs. Jennings because every group needs a gossip!

5- Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?

I enjoyed the scenes in London, even though Marianne's complete emotional breakdown was irritating at times, it was so well-written. I really felt like I really understood Elinor and Marianne during those chapters than at any other time.

6- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

This is the third time I've read this book, and it was not the first Jane Austen I have read...that was Pride and Prejudice. It was the movie starring Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant that first inspired me to read Jane Austen in the first place, though, so this book has a special meaning for me.

7- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

I didn't like the fact that Robert and Lucy were forgiven by Mrs. Ferrars, especially after Lucy had spent so much time trying to hurt Elinor. Still, it seemed realistic to me that Mrs. Ferrars would eventually forgive them...I just wanted them to end up poor and miserable!

8- Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

Yes, I loved reading it again!

9. In your opinion, does Sense and Sensibility have a happy ending?

I think it does. Marianne dies eventually fall in love with Col. Brandon, Elinor ends up with Edward, and Willoughby ends up miserable. Very happy!

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I managed to pick up Sense and Sensibility in a charity shop so I thought I would join in reading this book.

 

I have just recently finished it and I enjoyed it very much. Jane Austen

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I loved Sense and Sensibility, it was my second reading, the first being many years ago. I found the characterisation absolutely brilliant and I love immersing myself into the language of Jane Austen. Its another world. I think Elinor was my favourite character, she was so intelligent and introspective. It amazed me how she accepted her fate to lose Edward, and also how she kept her reserve when dealing with Lucy's provoking comments. But she won her man in the end as in all romantic stories with happy endings. Am doubtful about Marianne's suddenly falling in love with Colonel Brandon though, although I suppose she had little alternative in those days.

 

IThe story plot is quite similar to Pride and Prejudice - 2 sisters, a gossipy old woman, a young blackguard. I am now looking forward to reading Pride and Prejudice for about the third time.

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I feel so out of the loop with this book, I finally got it from my library yesterday and I'm having troubles adapting to Austen's writing, this will be my first Austen book and only my second "Classic". I'm on chapter 11 so I am moving right along but I'm afraid that I'm not understanding everything that I should be. Any advice?

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and also how she kept her reserve when dealing with Lucy's provoking comments.

 

The story plot is quite similar to Pride and Prejudice - 2 sisters, a gossipy old woman, a young blackguard. I am now looking forward to reading Pride and Prejudice for about the third time.

 

Lucy was such an awful character wasn't she? I also noticed the similarities between P&P and S&S.

 

I'm on chapter 11 so I am moving right along but I'm afraid that I'm not understanding everything that I should be. Any advice?

 

My only advice would be to take your time to absorb the writing. It definitely takes some getting used to and it's difficult when the sentences are so long and go off on different tangents. It's hard to keep track of what's being said. I often had to re-read a sentence to make sure I was still following it properly. Maybe that would help you?

 

And if this is your first Jane Austen, here's a tip: when the text refers to 'Miss Dashwood', it's referring to Elinor, not Marianne. The eldest daughter is always given the title of 'Miss'. It confused me quite a bit when I first read P&P because I couldn't work out which daughter the 'Miss Bennett' was referring to (there are 5 sisters in that novel!)

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Thanks for your help, after I posted this I went home and started reading it again, then everything started clicking. I may go back and re-read the whole thing again, just so I'm sure what is going on.

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1. What do you think of inheritance arrangements and how do they affect the various characters? How does this compare to how wills are orchestrated nowadays? What does this say about how women as descendents were viewed by society at the time?

What Echo said ;).

 

2. How do men and women interact? Which interactions in particular did you find interesting and why? How do these relationships and interactions compare to engagements and marriages today?

Obviously their behaviour towards each other is much more conservative than our behaviour today is (I often wonder what Jane Austen would think of today's society - then I get depressed for her sake and stop wondering). Relationships tend to move along much more quickly these days (and end almost as quickly!)

 

3. Are the characters in Sense and Sensibility conventional in their thoughts and actions according to the time in which the novel is set? In what ways do they conform (or not) to conventions? What is expected of them and how do they react to those expectations?

I think Elinor was a very conventional person (very much suited for the time) whereas Marianne was more of a 'free spirit'. Their society seem so restrained sometimes that I wonder that Marianne didn't get into more trouble or have more people gossiping about her. Marianne didn't really seem to give two hoots about what people thought of her behaviour, whereas Elinor was much more conscious. Of course Marianne quieted down and grew up somewhat by the end.

 

4. Who was your favourite character and why?

Hmm, this is a tougher one to answer than for Austen's other books. Probably the sensible and level-headed Elinor.

 

5. Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?

I enjoyed finding out who Lucy had really married, although I wished Elinor and Edward's following conversation (after she had run out of the room) wasn't glossed over. It would have been nice to read it.

 

6. Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

No, this was my first Austen after previously reading Pride and Prejudice and Emma and I can't wait to read the others!

 

7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

Other than Marianne being a big drama queen, not really!

 

8. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

Absolutely!

 

9. In your opinion, does Sense and Sensibility have a happy ending?

Ultimately I think it does. It seemed for a while that none of the characters would be happy but I think it was wrapped up nicely.

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1. What do you think of inheritance arrangements and how do they affect the various characters? How does this compare to how wills are orchestrated nowadays? What does this say about how women as descendents were viewed by society at the time?

What Echo said ;).

 

What did I say? I get blamed for everything! :(

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What did I say? I get blamed for everything! :)

 

Yes, it's your fault for writing so eloquently and covering everything I wanted to say :D Next time I'll just blatantly plagiarise your answer without giving you credit and hope that you don't notice :( (Kidding, of course!)

 

I got "Emma" from Green Metropolis yesterday, so now I have the complete set!!!

 

Nice! ;) I like having a complete set of books that are all the same edition (unlike my Lord of the Rings books: by the time I read the first one and went to buy the second, my edition had become obsolete :()

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I am so sorry everyone, 4.gif I have tried and very much failed with 'Sense and Sensibility', I hope I can read the next book with you all.

 

Sorry again. :D

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Well I finally managed to finish S&S and seeing as it was my first venture into Jane Austen books I really enjoyed it. I also managed to see the Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson adaptation and loved it. I'm looking forward to reading more of Austen's work.

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I've not read it yet, but it's on my list of book TBR!

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OK, so I'm a little late getting started, but I read the first few chapters of Sense and Sensibility today. So far it hasn't really grabbed me, but then, the only one out of the other Austens I've read that really got me hooked from the get-go was Northanger Abbey for some reason. Still, it's not that I'm not enjoying it - I think it'll just take al ittle while to sink into it, especially as i've been reading a lot of modern fiction lately, so it'll take a short while to get back into a more classical style of writing...

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I'm struggling with this one in a major way. I'm just not getting into the story (or what little story there seems to be so far!) and I'm not connecting or gaining an understanding of any of the characters - I don't even particularly like any of them (not that I actively hate any of them either - I just can't see the attraction). I think I'm going to have to get hold of the film and watch it to see if that makes a difference and then come back to the book.

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That's actually a good idea, Kell. That's exactly what I did when I was reading S&S. I watched the new version that was shown on PBS (it's 3 hours and has a lot more detail from the book!) and it really got my enthusiasm up. I ended up enjoying the book more than I ever had before. Good luck! :welcome2:

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Aw, I'm sorry to hear that Kell! I really enjoyed the book - I think it picks up a bit later on. It's not my favourite Austen (I don't think anything will ever top Pride and Prejudice), but I found it very enjoyable.

 

I hope the movie inspires you to keep reading and that you enjoy the book more! I'm planning on watching the movie shortly :welcome2:

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