Today, many of the literary conventions and tropes utilized in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are lost to us; it is understandable, then, that critics have either overlooked or simplified Jane Austen’s subtly revolutionary rewriting of the figure of the fallen woman in Sense and Sensibility. Literature leading up to Austen’s time was often riddled with cliches of the fallen woman: this figure was usually punished for her sexual and social missteppings through disease and death. Austen makes use of such established tropes, as seen in the tale of the Elizas, but with her own aims of undermining this literary tradition. She subverts this convention of punishing the fallen woman through Marianne Dashwood; not only is Marianne allowed to live, but she is allowed to maintain her sensibility even after illness and marriage. Austen creates this new paradigm in light of her representation of Marianne’s extravagant sensibility as both taught and reinforced by her culture, and she therefore refuses to punish Marianne as so many women were punished before her.
Landis, Johanna, "Jane Austen and Marianne Dashwood: Learning Sensibility, Unlearning Tradition" (2006). WWU Honors Program Senior Projects. 251.
Subjects - Topical (LCSH)
Women in literature
Subjects - Names (LCNAF)
Austen, Jane, 1775-1817. Sense and sensibility; Austen, Jane, 1775-1817--Characters--Women; Austen, Jane, 1775-1817--Characters--Marianne Dashwood
student projects; term papers
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