Compare and Contrast the Characters of Elinor and Marianne
• Compare and contrast the characters of Elinor
• Name: Sejal Chauhan
• Paper:5 – The Romantic Literature
• Roll No: 28
• M.A. Part-1 Sem-2
• Submitted to: Smt. S.B.Gardi.
Department of English
The physical Appearance of the two
• Elinor and Marianne offer a sharp and striking
contrast in the novel Sense and Sensibility.
• There is even bigger contrast between their
temperaments, nature, their mental and moral
• Elinor has a delicate complexion,regular feature,
and a remarkably pretty figure.
• Marianne is even more beautiful.
• Thus Marianne may physically be described as an
alluring and enchanting girl, while Elinor is
physically just presentable or just attractive and
full of grace and charm.
Sense versus Sensibility, the most striking
contrast in the novel
• Elinor we are told, possesses a strength of
understanding and a coolness of judgement by virtue
of which she, though only nineteen years of age, is
qualified to act as her mothers counsellor.
• Elinor’s disposition is certainly affectionate, and her
feelings are certainly strong. But she knows how to
gavern her affections and her feelings.
• This capacity to gavern the feeling and the emotions
is something alien to her mother as well as to her
• Marianne’s abilities are in many respects quite
equal to Elinor’s.
• She is sensible and clever but she is too eager
in everthing so that her sorrows and her joys
know no moderation.
• She is everything but prudent and in this
respect she resembles her mother closely.
• The entire contrast between the characters of
Elinor and Marianne may be summed up by
saying that, while Elinor embodies Sense,
Marianne embodies Sensibility.
Their Different Criteria of Judging Edward’s
• Edward Ferrars’s visit to Northland Park.
• Elinor and Marianne react to this young man in
absolutely different ways.
• Elinor begins to admire and love him, while
Marianne cannot understand why Elinor not only
admires him but has also fallen in love with him.
• Marrianne finds Edward’s manner of reading out a
poem to be spiritless, tame, and devoid of sensibility.
• She also feels disappointed by Edward’s having
no taste for music and having no capacity
even to admire Elinor’s drawing or the
beauties of nature in the right perspective.
• Elinor feels attracted by Edward because of
what she regards as his sense and his
• She is attracted by Edward’s views about
literature, by his enjoyment of books, his
lovely imagination and his accurate
Elinor’s Adverse Reaction to Marianne’s
Friendship with Willoughby
• Marianne becomes quickly attached to willoughby after her
very first meeting with him.
• She then begins to move about freely in his company.
• Elinor feels somewhat worried by this friendship which comes
to the notice of everyone who knows them.She even suggests
to Marianne to show some more self-command, to avoid
going about openly in Willoughby’s company.
• She continues going about with Willoughby openly.
• She even agrees to accept from Willoughby the gift of horse
though it is not possible for her to maintain and feed a horse.
• Elinor urges not to accept the gift.
Elinor’s Capacity to Subdue Her Unhappiness
and Marianne’s Incapacity
• Elinor, though feeling very unhappy about Edward’s
despondency of mood at the time of his departure from
Barton Cottage after a week’s stay there, is able to subdue her
unhappiness by her sheer firmness and her determination to
• When Willoughby had suddenly departed from Barton
Cottage after a very short visit, Marianne had felt very
unhappy and had augmented her sorrow by seeking silence,
solitude and idelness.
• In this context the author writes:
• “Their means were as different as their objects and equally
suited to the advancement of each.”
The Sister’s Different Reactions to their
Frustrations in Love
• When Elinor learns that Edward is commited to marry Lucy,
and that he is persisting in his sense of loyality to that girl,
Elinor has every reason to shed tears of distress and to make
• But far from doing so, she actually tries to give comfort to
Marianne who is feeling more upset by Edward’s resolve than
• Elinor’s reasoning subdues Marianne who now feels so
affected by Elinor’s silent suffering and endurance that She
apologizes to Elinor, saying:
• “How barbarous have I been to you! Is this my gratitude?”
Marianne’s Illness, and Elinor’s Reaction to it
• Marianne’s illness is a matter of some physical deficiency, but
• Actually it is a case of a mental or psychological anxiety taking
the shape of a physical illness.
• The point is that Elinor suffers too, but that she can rise above
her suffering while Marianne cannot do so .
• That is why we agree with the view of a critic who says:
• “ Elinor is not unfeeling,nor is Marianne entirely
Elinor, the More Formidable Figure in the novel
• Because of her greater firmness, stamina,and powers of
endurance and as such the trade heroine of the novel.
• We certainly do not agree with the critics who believe that
Marianne is the true heroine and that Marianne is the life and
centre of the novel because of her vivacity, her wit, her more
pleasing personality and her amiability.
• Elinor comes first; Marianne occupies the second position in
the novel, though each of then is a heroine in the technical
sense of that word.