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they will be compared and contrasted in terms of the cultural background. idealistic. The function of money in society determined the priorities in life during the setting of England in the 18th century. and passion. Both Novels are by English writers from the early 17th and 18th century. respectively. the more romantic of the two young ladies. There are interesting contrasts in this novel the title of course Elinor being sense and her sister Marianne sensibility. He has a similar personality to Elinor and is very respectful and attentive as well as . thematic elements. However Austen also shows through the lives of both women that life rarely is so simple (Sparknotes). and romantic in dreaming of her love. He is the older gentleman in love with Marianne. while Edward stayed true to marry a woman he didn’t love out of duty. Notably Austen completed this novel at the turn of the 18th century in the midst of a cultural evolution. Other players in Sense and Sensibility Colonel Brandon is an acquaintance of the distant relative Sir John Middleton who leases the cottage to the widowed family. This cultural society was mainly dominated by wealth and the social class or position held by the family much like in Moll Flanders.The two novels for comparison are Moll Flanders authored by Daniel Defoe and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Her younger sister Marianne represented the new age of Romanticism as she was impulsive. propriety. and literary structure. declaring his love and wisking her away. romance. The story told by Elinor is not as bodacious as Defoe’s Moll Flanders but it has drama. Elinor’s character resonated with the old world culture of moderation. The Classical Era was ending as the era of Romanticism was beginning. Willoughby was disloyal to Marianne. In reviewing both works.
In England many young orphans in her predicament either became slaves and were sent as indentured servants to America or became thieves in order to survive (Arnez. but can’t quite pinpoint the source. The women are introduced to London societal lifestyle by their landlord’s wife’s mother Mrs. One is Lucy Steele. the wife of the young ladies’ half brother. After the nephew Henry died as well the family of four women found they had to fend for themselves and seek out men to marry them or other relatives to support them. lost their means of support when he died. She was a lovely woman who was low born who managed to make her way through life by her wits. Jennings. In England the culture during the 18th century was rigidly set in a social system of . who instigated the total disinheritance by talking her husband John and their brother out of giving them anything after their father’s death.protective in a quiet way of the family. She was taken in by people who took good care of her and were willing to raise her along with their own children until early womanhood. 42). She feared more than anything being poor or having to be a servant. who is secretly engaged to Edward. First Moll Flanders is about a young girl that grew up on the streets after being born in Newgate Prison. Lastly there are two young women that visit during the summer months. Similarly in Sense and Sensibility the family that was cared for by a wealthy uncle. He knows the type of man Willoughby is but does not tell Marianne for example. Moll had many aliases and in the story does not use her real name as she felt it would be recognized by others and bring unwelcome attention to her family. Jennings believes herself a matchmaker and often takes the women to various affairs where they can meet men. Edward is the brother in law of Fanny. Mrs. Elinor being a good judge of character is aware that there is something awry with Lucy.
In contrast the same was true for the women in Sense and Sensibility. Moll was determined never to be either a servant or marry someone as poor as she was and continually schemed to marry a wealthy man (Arnez. She barely showed it. 54). the eldest daughter Elinor was quick to monitor the actions of her rather ill equipped mother and sister to guide them into a position keeping a roof over their heads. landowners. She was a midwife who came from a similar background but is older and seasoned in deceit. This governess as Moll calls her. She has one friend who remains a close confidant throughout her life. farmers. When she fell in love with her half brother John’s brother in law. She was aware of this but continued to mask her true feelings behind a confidant and sophisticated exterior. using her wits to survive. Elinor was the eldest and considered by her younger sister Marianne nearing the age of an old maid. 1). Moll understood this and accepted it from a very young age (Defoe. If a person did not have money or a name that carried back to nobility they were considered undesirable for marriage. many ended in brothels. For women without a dowry. She takes Moll in realizing that the relationship . 22).aristocrats. London was cruel for any young woman that had little money and no protection and it was important to have a dowry to offer a man in exchange for his name in marriage. and at the lower end of the social classes. and working poor (Arnez. Women were expected to have a dowry to offer their husband and men were supposed to have lands or property and a name that represented a higher status than the merchant and working class. Most people found it nearly impossible to elevate themselves from the level of society they were born into. realizes her social position will never change and takes advantage of the life she is dealt as well. but begin to hope for marriage. Ch. She makes the best of her situation.
In the story a family of father. Most likely in the hope of gaining access to the estate to care for his family after the elderly uncle’s eventual death. A younger daughter Margaret is aged eleven and has a similar temperament to her middle sister. Marianne. England over 200 years ago left few options for women of low social status beyond the bordello or crime (Boardman. agreed to care for the uncle for several years. and less forward in their attempts to marry well and present a worthwhile dowry. some with money and those of a similar background. who were just as crafty as she was herself. wife. 1985). yet are physically attractive. The English women in Sense and Sensibility are a bit more educated albeit through home study. Again the English culture centered around how much wealth a man possessed along with the amount a woman could contribute to her dowry. Here the idea of monetary support is shown to be the prevailing incentive for doing a charitable deed. From her days as a young child Moll managed to work her way into situations that led her to women and men. These could be used as advantages to manipulate men and access their money. After all Moll brought youth and beauty along with a sharp mind to the relationship. little education. Elinor is able to think through life’s circumstances and make wise decisions for her mother and sisters that end in favorable . The main characters in Sense and Sensibility are two adult sisters Elinor and Marianne who lived with their mother after their father passed. Much like the Midwife taking in Moll in order to take advantage of the young woman’s beauty and earn a living from it. Henry Dashwood.would be financially rewarding. and three daughters are supported by a wealthy uncle whose health is failing. Elinor is described as Sense because she is level headed and able to control her emotions. These women have no family. The father.
Fanny. a vast estate with many heirlooms. She is the type of woman that Moll would prey on to steal her valuables. 1985). inherited his uncle’s estate. Henry pleaded with his son on his deathbed to make sure his step family kept their home. She was more like Moll. Thanks to the wits of Elinor the family bought themselves some time and remained in their own home as guests for six months.provision for the entire family. John had a ruthless and greedy wife. however. they were more loyal than actual family in Sense and Sensibility (Boardman. He then proceeded to take their home from them and later reneged on giving them a dowry as well. however he was overlooked due to having a son by his first wife. In Sense and Sensibility the Father Henry. This woman was able to sweet talk her husband into removing his half sisters entire family from the estate all but penniless after promising his father to care for them. This greedy wife is somewhat reticent of Moll when she was focused on using her wiles to get what she wanted.000 pounds apiece. The contrast to Moll Flanders was that the people that watched out for Moll were not relatives but strangers and co-conspirators. and servants. Her sister Marianne on the other hand is considered Sensibility. eager to gain the beautiful home. The mother of the girls was distraught as to how to ensure that her three girls married . The first wife’s son. Marianne carried her heart on her sleeve and was easily upset. She was the one who talked her husband into giving his widowed step mother and her daughters little beyond food and a few furnishings. very emotional and dramatic. expensive furnishings. The right to the estate fell to John and his wife Fanny over Henry’s own family who were living on the property. The ailing husband and father nearly begged his son to promise to look after his family after his death. However John only promised to give each member of his step family 1.
the girls would not be able to find husbands that could provide for the livelihood the girls were accustomed to having. While the women in Austen’s novel thought it beneath them to work though each had skills in sewing. However it was considered stylish to arrange or pursue relationships that were mutually beneficial to those that were born in a higher social status than the working class. The main difference being the way it was done. In fact the wealthy chased after dowries much like the poor. In high English society (Sense and Sensibility) women schemed or planned societal advancement through marriages to men of wealth. and . lying about their backgrounds and dowries to merely survive. Somehow manages to pull herself up from such societal degradation as prostitution. the women must use underhanded and deceitful schemes. For the poor. Knowing that without a proper dowry. Instead it is the interesting rags to riches story of that era. and fancy formal parties (Bookrags). This was done under the pretense of meeting others of the opposite sex at lavish banquets. she never had to worry about providing for herself because as a very young child she learned a trade and was able to get work to earn her living. and art. They too were on the lookout for men that had means or wealth.well without the father. Some of the working class women sought to advance themselves socially and economically as well through prenuptial marital arrangements to gain a better vantage point in life. prison. (Moll Flanders) who were looked upon as undesirable. picnics. 1986). and Moll though tattered and torn and not given anything worthwhile to make a life for herself (Backscheider. On the other hand though Moll had no mother. Thematic Elements Rags to Riches and Vice Versa Moll Flanders is not a “sunny reconstruction” of idealized English culture according to a review of the movie of the same title by the critic Roger Ebert (1996).
This was a . She collected her bribe for the marriage of 500 pounds and moved on with her life. the idea that she could control and manipulate men to gain their fortunes caused Moll to get into marriages of convenience (Bell. From this first brush with love and marriage. They refused to work instead finding sympathetic relations to gain a home and then taking advantage of their new position to gain access to social gatherings. Facing a world without a male protector.even incest to true love. Ch 42). 36). Themes: Vanity In Moll Flanders the main character uses her beauty to get what she wants and is conceited about her attractiveness. with a high social standing and affluence. She is easily seduced by flattering words and promises of financial stability. wealth. Vanity even caused Moll to trade an honest life of sewing for a living for crime simply because she enjoyed it and was adept at disguises and running her con schemes on others (Defoe. Sense and Sensibility also has women that rise to the occasion however. Using their wits they continued to love their men unconditionally. This lead her into her first love affair that ended with her being bribed into marrying her wealthy lover’s younger brother. Ch. In Sense and Sensibility the women were vain to believe they could live off of relatives good will. In the end regaining their social propriety. However they lost these outward trappings of success through losing the father and male heir. 1985). She often got involved in affairs to gain access to money as well using her beauty as a tool. marriage. they started out with a family that loved them. through a never fading hope of true love. and repentance (Defoe. a real family. and happiness. these women never lowered their morals or expectations. The marriage ended at his death at which time the family sent her away without her children and penniless after marriage to a man she didn’t love.
china. Moll only became greedier for more. She was not content with stealing the home from the widowed family. Following the death of her first husband. Fanny who inherited his father’s estate. but the lace. As mentioned in her first marriage. The first evidence of it in the story is the wife of John. she took a bribe from the older brother she truly loved to marry the younger that was in love with her. This engagement is hidden but made apparent later when Lucy tells Elinor outright. Ch. They are also willing to wait for the right man. . 5). With each successful ploy to gain wealth. Both Elinor and her sister are less focused on greed and more determined to marry for love than Moll. silver. She expanded her deceitful wasy to include women. Moll began counting her dollars and looking for her next victim. Later in the story one of the suitors Fanny’s brother. Moll began to prey on men to gain wealth (Defoe. Her greed is evident throughout the story as the author constantly keeps account of how much money Moll had. In Sense and Sensibility the greed is less visible.way to peruse possible suitors for marriage. This woman already wealthy from her husband’s business and property convinced her husband to back out of a promise made to his dying father. Lucy has attached herself to Edward out of greed. and even money that her husband was willing to set aside for their welfare. avoids her in order to honor a prior engagement to a woman who is after his inheritance. Theme Greediness This controlling need for self preservation eventually leads Moll down the path to crime. He is holding out on confessing his feelings simply because he hasn’t received his inheritance from his mother and has had a year long engagement to Lucy Steele. even children to increase her wealth. Edward who loves Elinor.
Elinor unaware of this waits for Edward to declare his love for her. This theme sensibility is demonstrated in the relationship between Marianne and her suitor. Once she falls in love and marries a man Jemmy. Even to the point of living a life trading her body for money and using people to gain wealth. Ch. Marianne is infatuated with Willoughby yet knows little about him. 3). Willoughby. She then finds out after they are married that Jemmy is a thief and was manipulating her for her money. her greed for money and ended up paying the ultimate price of imprisonment for her passions (sensibility).Theme Romanticism Moll is willing to put aside true love in favor of money. and treated her with respect. loved her from first sight. Though Jemmy is truly in love with Moll. In Sense and Sensibility Willoughby meets and falls in love with Marianne after meeting and rescuing her after a fall while walking in the rain in the countryside. under one of her schemes. Willoughby shuns Marianne’s love in favor of a rich debutante (Bookrags. Marianne has little self control and goes as far as to say she could never love another man. Elinor loves Edward unconditionally even though she . In actuality he is engaged to a wealthy lady and also has had child out of wedlock. Edward has feelings for Elinor yet will not share them with her due to a prior commitment to marry another woman. They part company right after they both confess to each other. Moll was lead by her fear of being a servant. Theme Sensibility Moll understood her position in life and was willing to do whatever it took to change it. This changes however when she learns of his background and becomes more rational in deciding to marry an older man that has taken care of her family.
Robert (Bookrags).believes he is going to marry another woman. overcome with laughter and totally infatuated. She accepts his erratic behavior. his true love Elinor. The irony of the story is that the sisters roles reversed at the end of the story with Elinor marrying her true love from youth. the face of sensibility. For example Edward was considered to be agreeable with whatever hand life dealt him. Edward speaks very little in the story. If he gave his word to marry another woman. even though she is aware of his intentions. He is considered amiable and kindhearted by the narrator. the reader is able to build a . Structure in Sense and Sensibility The story structure of the author is very original and reticent of the 16th century it was written in. Her narrator Elinor was believable and trusted to tell the story because she was a very down to earth and a sensible girl. However the groom was not her Edward but his brother. Austen writes very directly. This example shows the honesty of Austen’s writing. The reader is able to learn more about various characters from how others interacted with her or him. She even accepts that he may never love her when she hears of an engagement. level headed Elinor always the one with common sense responds at the news by running from the room and exclaiming in tears and shouts of joy that her Edward is free and unattached. When he proposes. not bombarding the reader with overly detailed descriptions. he was willing to follow through even though he does not love the woman he is engaged with. Austen writes similar to other writers of her time that had a direct and straightforward style. she is now the romantic. While Marianne marries the older man that she will grow to love who is totally devoted to her. The calm. Edward is free of Elinor’s anger to respond as his heart leads (Bookrags). Elinor shows no anger toward Edward. but from others interaction with him.
“In short. runs off falls in love and marries another man for a short time. Structure in Moll Flanders Moll Flanders is structured around exploding events that happen to the main character on a constant basis. For example. (2)). Amazingly that freedom of each character in the story ultimately leads Edward into Elinor’s arms. tells of how much thought really went into preparation for marriage on Moll’s part. In the interim she is still conversing with the banker and plans to keep him on hold for a future marriage. Moll is so prideful as to take no credit for her actions until the end of her adventures when she becomes repentant for all the things she has done. These multiple episodes in Moll’s life allow the reader to understand the dysfunction of her life. which she follows through on when the current marriage turns sour. Time and again she quickly marries and just as quickly leaves the relationship. I ventured to avoid a contract” referring to marriage (Defoe. Defoe often uses words like “in short” or “in a word” to recount an episode in her life that explains a great deal about Moll’s character. An example would be the relationship with the midwife who was helpful in finding someone to adopt Moll’s children when she became pregnant (Defoe. She was . (2)). “in short.character without Elinor giving her point of view. It is as if she is remembering bits and pieces of her life and just spews them forth as they are recalled from memory. we were married”. Defoe often uses coincidence to join different episodes of Moll’s life together making it seem that she simply falls into these situations that lead her down a path to self destruction. This is due to the narration of Moll giving a recounting of her life in autobiographical form. Again she tells a banker that she is willing to marry him. This same midwife had just become a pawnbroker when Moll was tempted to steal by a bundle left in a shop.
education. and to shun their own families by giving the inheritance away. Austen never married and focused her passion solely on writing. understanding that sense was necessary. and the outer appearance tend to dictate the type of men or women chosen for marriage. Even today in American society money. marriage is simply an exercise in obtaining the best trophy with the largest estate or salary. his work on Moll Flanders was the result of research into women in prison during the early 1700s. but sensibility is also a requirement to produce a balanced life. Possibly she fancied herself similar to Elinor. As for Defoe. Many were thieves. earning a living for herself. structure of Defoe was designed to show Moll’s life through her own memory versus another’s account or his own retelling. many older men marry women very young and vice versa. He understood the hardships women with no social support faced during this time in England (Defoe). but for companionship. In addition in today’s society.able to sell the contents for a sum of money. Jane Austen had experienced this in her own life as her brother had control of the estate of their family and was very frugal in providing for her mother’s livelihood (Sparknotes. . It is noted that Elizabeth Atkins was a well known thief that may have been the source for the story of Moll Flanders. The main context of the writing deals with the relevancy of Austen’s depiction of relationships. Oftentimes not for love. prostitutes and suffered hardship as slaves sent to the Americas. employment.com). Therefore. Especially for celebrities and sports athletes. to feel younger.
html Defoe.online-literature.cliffsnotes. 7 January 2011 http://www. Online Literature.rhtml> . Jalic Inc.Works Cited Arnez.com/study_guide/literature/id-247.bookrags. Louisville: University of Kentucky Press. Nancy Levi. Bell. Michael M. Roger. 6 January 2011 <http://www. Bookrags.pbs. “Moll Flanders“. 1985. 7 Jan 2011 http://www.txt> Ebert. “Sense and Sensibility Masterpiece Theatre. “Sense and Sensibility”. Daniel.:< Rutgers University Press. New Brunswick.com/apps/pbcs.html. “Sense and Sensibility Booknotes Summary”. 2008. “CliffsNote on Moll Flanders“. “The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders”. 7 January 2011 <http://www. 1986.com.dll/article ?AID=/19951213/REVIEWS/512130301/1023> PBS. RobertEbert. “Defoe and the Use of Narrative“. 1985.org.com/lit/sensibility/section12. 7 January 2011 http://www. January 2011 http://www. Ian A.com. Boardman. <http://rogerebert. Backscheider. 2000-2001. N. Chapters 1-68. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. Sense and Sensibility. 6. Project Gutenberg eBook.com/notes/ss/TOP3.org/wgbh/masterpiece/senseandsensibility/index.suntimes. “Defoe’s Fiction.com/defoe/moll_flanders/68/ Defoe.html SparkNotes. Daniel(2).J.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/7/370/370.sparknotes. Paula R. “Daniel Defoe: Ambition and Innovation“.com.
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