“Persuasion” (2022) starring Dakota Johnson, Cosmo Jarvis, & Henry Golding

Anne Elliot [lamenting her status w/ Frederick]: Now we’re worse than strangers, we’re exes.

To put it succinctly: this movie (streaming on Netflix) is a hot mess! Y’all MUST have seen/heard some of the horrible to “meh” reviews, as it has been out since July 15. I’m NOT going to recount the plot here, as I’m sure MOST of my regular readers know it. To start, this movie (which often breaks the 4th wall) is confused; it doesn’t know which audience it wants to aim at- Gen Z or Millennials (particularly “wine moms”). It’s certainly NOT geared toward mature/long-time Jane Austen fans (AKA Austenites)! One young woman in a JA Facebook group asked: “Was Anne Elliot supposed to be an alcoholic in the book?” LOL! It would be funny, IF it wasn’t so sad (or disappointing).

Mrs. Clay [commenting re: beauty standards]: They say if you’re a 5 in London, you’re a 10 in Bath.

Even before the movie was out, MANY viewers/critics were appalled by the trailer. I decided to be chill and give it a chance- ugh, curse my (slightly) optimistic personality! While watching, I don’t think I found it funny, emotional, or even slightly interesting. OK, the scenery was nice- that’s about it! There more telling instead of showing, which is a no-no (as reviewers involved in filmmaking commented). There are zero funny moments (IMO), unless you find cringe-y lines humorous. Anyways, this tale is NOT supposed to be light-hearted.

The filmmakers here have characterized Anne all wrong; she’s a mix of Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice) and Emma Woodhouse (Emma). No longer is Anne introverted, observant, and self-sacrificing, she blabs her opinions, jokes around (incl. w/ men who are strangers), and drinks (red wine) often! This is the main problem book fans had, I’ve noticed. Dakota Johnson is probably NOT a bad actress (I haven’t yet seen much of her work), BUT she is wrong for this role. As some astute viewers commented: “She has a face that has definitely seen a cell phone.” Even some of the costumes are confusing; one glaring example a costume designer pointed out was Anne wearing black/fishnet gloves in the concert scene.

Sir Walter Elliot: What use is a title if you have to earn it? What use is anything if you have to earn it?

What about the supporting cast? They don’t fare much better than Johnson, sad to say. There is TOO much talking going on btwn Anne and Capt. Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis); notice all the chatting on the beach at Lyme. Jarvis (haven’t seen his work either) looks uneasy in his costumes and his face often has the same (pained) expression. His line delivery sounds awkward, BUT then so was much of his dialogue. As Anne’s father, Sir Walter Elliot (Richard E. Grant- a veteran character actor), provides a BIT of humor. Anne’s scheming cousin, Mr. Elliot (Henry Golding), is also a ray of light- though he doesn’t have much to do. The Crofts get V little to do also; that’s disappointing since they are such a LT/compatible couple. The MOST cringe-y moment (IMO) involves Anne and her older/widowed neighbor, Lady Russell (Nikki-Amuka Bird), as they have a picnic outdoors. Anne asks Lady Russell: “But do you ever miss company?” (meaning the company of men- or sex)! Oy vey…

Unlike most JA adaptations you MAY have seen in the past, this movie has “color conscious casting.” “Color-blind casting” is the practice of casting actors w/o considering factors such as ethnicity, skin color, body shape, sex, or gender. However, color-conscious casting is the practice of casting actors where these features are considered. Anne’s younger sis, Mary Musgrove (Mia McKenna-Bruce), has a husband (Charles) who is played by a Black actor; their (adorable) young sons are thus biracial. Charles’ younger sisters are played by 2 biracial actresses: Nia Towle (Louisa) and Izuka Hoyle (Henrietta). Though Louisa was trying to get Anne and Wentworth together for a time (all wrong from the book), I thought Towle was a fine actress (as did many other viewers). You can see this version and judge for yourself, BUT I recommend the 1995 movie (starring Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root) or the 2007 miniseries (starring Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones) instead!

Love & Friendship (2016) starring Kate Beckinsale & Chloe Sevigny

My friend and I recently saw this at the Jane Austen film festival held annually on the grounds of Dumberton House (Washington, DC). You can watch it w/ Amazon Prime. This is the first movie based on Austen’s epistolary (letter format) novel Lady Susan (1871), which uses a name from another of her novels- Love and Friendship. It’s well-made (though w/ low budget of $3M), funny (w/ both subtle and obvious humor), and a fresh take on the beloved author’s work.

It’s with ticklish glee, then, that you watch Love & Friendship live up to every possible expectation you could set for it, opening out the adulterous games of Austen’s surprisingly risqué text and elaborating on them with impish, often breathlessly funny verve. It’s flat-out hilarious… Gliding through its compact 92 minutes with alert photography and not a single scene wasted…

Excerpt from The Telegraph 

The daughter of an earl w/ little money, Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale- check her out in Emma), visits her brother- and sister-in-law, Charles (Justin Edwards) and Catherine Vernon (Emma Greenwell), w/ little advance notice at Churchill, their country estate. Catherine is quite anxious/unhappy; years ago Lady Susan (the widow of her older/deceased brother-in-law) tried to prevent her marriage to Charles. Also, Lady Susan (though considered old-  mid-30s) has the reputation of being one of the biggest flirts in England (more likely, just their social circle). She owes debts to many merchants in London. Among Lady Susan’s conquests in London is the married Lord Mainwaring (Lochlann O’Mearáin).

Catherine’s genuine/handsome younger brother Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel) arrives a week later, and despite Catherine’s  warnings, soon falls under Lady Susan’s spell. She messes w/ his affections for her own amusement, as well as upsetting Catherine. Her closest friend, an American woman, Mrs. Alicia Johnson (Chloe Sevigny),  recommends she marry the eligible Reginald ASAP. Lady Susan considers him to be greatly inferior to Mainwaring. 

Too old to be governable, and too young to die. -Lady Susan comments re: Alicia’s older/respectable husband, Mr. Johnson

Frederica, Lady Susan’s 16-year-old daughter, tries to run away from school when she learns of her mother’s plan to marry her off to a wealthy/stupid young man, Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett). She stays at Churchill where her aunt and uncle come to like her (her character is totally unlike her mother’s). Sir James shows up uninvited, much to Frederica’s distress; she still doesn’t want to marry him (though she doesn’t hate him as a person). Lady Susan isn’t having it, telling Frederica that she doesn’t know how much worse their lives could be. After all, they need a permanent home and security, so she should obey her mother. 

…Tom Bennett, whose scene-stealing efforts should make him every bit as much of a star, grins and grins and understands nothing as the biggest stooge of the lot…

Excerpt from The Telegraph 

Frederica even goes to the local church alone, asking the kind young parson re: the commandment to “honor thy mother and father.” One day, Frederica is crying in the parlor, and Reginald asks her to tell him what’s wrong. She begs Reginald for support, feeling she has nowhere to turn, as her mother has forbidden her from telling her aunt and uncle. Reginald is shocked to learn that Lady Susan would want her daughter to marry such a dolt as Sir James! 

Facts are horrid things! -Lady Susan declares to Alicia

Lady Susan returns to London; Reginald follows her, still in love. One day, he goes to see Mrs. Johnson and deliver a letter from Lady Susan. He finds the inconsolable young Lady Mainwaring (Sophie Radermacher) meeting w/ her former guardian, Mr. Johnson (Stephen Fry, in a rare serious role). After reading the letter, Reginald finally learns Lady Susan’s true character (she came to London to be alone w/ Mainwaring)!

Lady Susan ends up marrying Sir James herself, and allows Frederica to live at Churchill. As Catherine always wanted, Reginald and Frederica grow closer, fall in love, and marry. At their wedding reception, we see a very pregnant Lady Susan, Sir James (still clueless), and Lord Mainwaring (her lover) all looking quite satisfied. Of course, Sir James is NOT the father! 

Lady Susan has few parallels in 19th-century literature, according to scholars. She is selfish, clever, VERY attractive to men, and unashamed of her relationship w/ a married man. She has an active role in the her life story; she is NOT just beautiful, BUT intelligent and witty. Her suitors (incl. Reginald and Sir James) are much younger than herself. The ending includes a reward for morality; Frederica is praised for her “virtue” in a poem written by Reginald. While Alicia has to sail back to Connecticut (a punishment) w/ Mr. Johnson, Lady Susan is settled into a comfortable life w/ a husband she can control.

Sense and Sensibility: Analysis of Characters & Themes

Fanny (Harriet Walter) & John Dashwood (James Fleet) in the '95 feature film
Fanny (Harriet Walter) & John Dashwood (James Fleet) in the ’95 feature film adaptation


The Dashwood Family:

He [John Dashwood] was not an ill-disposed young man, unless to be rather cold hearted, and rather selfish, is to be ill-disposed: but he was, in general, well respected; for he conducted  himself with propriety in the discharge of his ordinary duties.  Had he married a more amiable woman, he might  have been made still more respectable than he was; he might even have been made amiable himself; for he was very young when he married, and very fond of his wife.  But Mrs. John Dashwood was a strong caricature of himself; more narrow-minded and selfish.

Right after the funeral of Mr. Dashwood, John arrives with his family to take possession of Norland.  This is his right, but shows lack on kindness for his step-mother and half-sisters.

Mrs. John Dashwood  had never been a favourite with any of her husband’s family: but she had had no opportunity, till  the present, of shewing them with how little attention  to the comfort of other people she could act when occasion  required it.  

So acutely did Mrs. Dashwood feel this ungracious  behaviour, and so earnestly did she despise her daughter-in-law  for it, that, on the arrival of the latter, she would have quitted the house forever, had not the entreaty of  her eldest girl induced her first to reflect on the propriety  of going, and her own tender love for all her three children  determined her afterwards to stay, and for their sakes  avoid a breach with their brother.

Description of Elinor:

Elinor, this eldest daughter whose advice was so  effectual, possessed a strength of understanding, and  coolness of judgment, which qualified her, though only  nineteen, to be the counsellor of her mother, and enabled  her frequently to counteract, to the advantage of them  all, that eagerness of mind in Mrs. Dashwood which must  generally have led to imprudence.  She had an excellent heart; her disposition was affectionate, and her feelings  were strong: but she knew how to govern them: it was a knowledge which her mother had yet to learn, and which  one of her sisters had resolved never to be taught.

Description of Marianne:

Marianne’s abilities were, in many respects, quite equal  to Elinor’s.  She was sensible and clever; but eager in  everything; her sorrows, her joys, could have no  moderation.  She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was everything but prudent.  The resemblance between her and her mother was strikingly great.

Edward (Dan Stevens) & Elinor (Hattie Morahan) in the '08 miniseries
Edward (Dan Stevens) & Elinor (Hattie Morahan) in the ’08 miniseries

Edward Ferrars:

Edward Ferrars was not recommended to their good opinion by any peculiar graces of person or address.  He was not handsome, and his manners required intimacy to make them pleasing.  He was too diffident to do justice to himself; but when his natural shyness was overcome, his behaviour gave every indication of an open affectionate heart.  His understanding was good, and his education had given it solid improvement.  But he was neither fitted by abilities nor disposition to answer the wishes of his mother and sister, who longed to see him distinguished — as– they hardly knew what.  …But Edward had no turn for great men or barouches.  All his wishes centered in domestic comfort and the quiet of private life.

Marianne’s early opinion of Edward:

Edward is very amiable, and I love him  tenderly.  But yet, he is not the kind of young man —  there is a something wanting, his figure is not striking —  it has none of that grace which I should expect in the  man who could seriously attach my sister.  His eyes want all that spirit, that fire, which at once announce virtue and intelligence. 

Elinor’s opinion of Edward:

…I venture to pronounce that his mind is well-informed, his enjoyment of books exceedingly great, his imagination lively, his observation just and correct, and his taste delicate and pure.  His abilities in every respect improve  as much upon acquaintance as his manners and person.  At first sight, his address is certainly not striking; and  his person can hardly be called handsome, till the expression of his eyes, which are uncommonly good, and the general sweetness of his countenance, is perceived.  At present, I know him so well, that I think him really handsome; or, at least, almost so.

The Middletons:

Description of Sir John:

Sir John Middleton was a good looking man about forty.  He had formerly visited at Stanhill, but it was too long ago for his young cousins to remember  him.  His countenance was thoroughly good-humoured; and his manners were as friendly as the style of his letter.  Their arrival seemed to afford him real satisfaction, and their comfort to be an object of real solicitude to him.  He said much of his earnest desire of their living in the most sociable terms with his family…

 …Sir John’s satisfaction in  society was much more real; he delighted in collecting about him more young people than his house would hold, and the noisier they were the better was he pleased.

Description of Mrs. Jennings (mother-in-law of Sir John):

Mrs. Jennings, Lady Middleton’s mother, was a good-humoured,  merry, fat, elderly woman, who talked a great deal, seemed very happy, and rather vulgar.  She was full of jokes and laughter, and before dinner was over  had said many witty things on the subject of lovers and  husbands; hoped they had not left their hearts behind  them in Sussex, and pretended to see them blush  whether they did or not. 

We learn that Mrs. Jennings’ late husband had been in trade (in a not so fashionable part of London).  He became quite wealthy, so his family advanced in status.  Lady Middleton and Mrs. Palmer (Charlotte) were educated in good schools (for girls of that time).

Col. Brandon (David Morrissey) sees Marianne for the first time in the '08 minseries
Col. Brandon (David Morrissey) sees Marianne for the first time in the ’08 minseries

Colonel Brandon:

The first reference to Col. Brandon comes from Sir John, who is one of his oldest/closest friends:

They would see, he said, only one gentleman there besides himself; a particular friend who was staying at the park, but who was neither very young nor very gay.

He was silent and grave.  His appearance, however, was not unpleasing, in spite of his being in the opinion of Marianne and Margaret an absolute old bachelor, for he was on the wrong side of five-and-thirty; but though his face  was not handsome his countenance was sensible, and  his address was particularly gentlemanlike.

John Willoughby:

Willoughby’s entrance into the story is heroic:

Elinor and her mother rose up in amazement at their entrance, and while the eyes of both were fixed on him with an evident wonder and a secret admiration which equally sprung from his appearance, he apologized for his intrusion by relating its cause, in a manner so frank and so graceful, that his person, which was uncommonly handsome, received additional charms from his voice and expression. 

Willoughby’s description of Elinor and Marianne:

Miss Dashwood had a delicate complexion, regular features, and a remarkably pretty figure.  Marianne was still handsomer.  Her form, though not so correct as her sister’s, in having the advantage of height, was  more striking; and her face was so lovely, that when, in the common cant of praise, she was called a beautiful girl, truth was less violently outraged than usually happens. 



The story opens with talk of the Norland Estate and its entailment.  Money, as you may know, is very important in Jane Austen’s world.  At first, John wants to give his sisters 3,000 pounds.  Fanny thinks this is too much, as they will eventually marry.  She tells him to think of their son.  John asks her if 500 for each would be a fair sum.

What brother on earth would do half so much for his sisters, even if really his sisters!  And as it is — only half blood! — But you have such a generous spirit!

Fanny, though cunning, selfish and vain, is also a humorous character.  Just note theses lines:

…people always live forever when there is any annuity to be paid them…

I am convinced within myself that your father had no idea of your giving them any money at all. 

Finally, John decides that he will give them 500 per year.  Fanny is very pleased to hear this. Then, she comments about the furniture and sets of china in the house.  It’ll be too fine for them to take when they move to a smaller place.

Family (particularly the bonds of brotherhood):

Throughout the novel, John acts in a manner that proves that he’s not a true brother to the Dashwood girls.  It’s not just his stinginess, it’s his tone, demeanor, and decision to go along with the wishes of Fanny.  John becomes interested in Elinor’s relationship with Col. Brandon when he learns of that gentleman’s wealth.  Later on, he’s eager for Marianne to become the colonel’s wife; it’d be a great advantage to him.

When Mrs. Dashwood sees the blossoming romance between Elinor and Edward, she is very happy.  She tells Marianne:

You will gain a brother — a real, affectionate brother.  I have the highest opinion in the world of Edward’s heart.

Another brother-figure in the book is Mrs. Dashwood’s cousin, Sir John Middleton.  He offers the ladies Barton Cottage (at a very reasonable price) without even meeting them!

He earnestly pressed her, after giving the particulars of the house and garden, to come with her daughters to Barton Park, the place of his own residence, from whence she might judge, herself, whether Barton Cottage, for the houses were in the same parish could by any alteration, be made comfortable to her.  He seemed really  anxious to accommodate them, and the whole of his letter was written in so friendly a style as could not fail of giving pleasure to his cousin; more especially at a moment when she was suffering under the cold and unfeeling behaviour of her nearer connections.

Once Edward’s fortune is transferred to his brother, Robert, Lucy transfers her affection to him as well.  Now, Robert didn’t have to pay his addresses to Lucy; Lucy is considered “unsuitable” by Mrs. Ferrars.  Also, Robert commented that she wasn’t “pretty,” as Elinor recalls to Edward.  I suspect that Robert wanted to one-up his brother by marrying Lucy.  Well, it was no loss to Edward, who had “long-regretted the attachment” (engagement to Lucy).

In the background, we have the cruelty of Col. Brandon’s older brother to his wife (Eliza’s mother).  Since he is a gentleman addressing a lady, Col. Brandon doesn’t go into detail with Elinor.

Esteem & Love (You can’t have one without the other!):

Marianne describes her perfect man:

I could not be happy with a man whose  taste did not in every point coincide with my own.  He  must enter into all my feelings; the same books, the same music must charm us both. 

A good relationship (friendship, partnership, marriage, etc.) must be based on mutual respect.  In Pride & Prejudice, it is obvious to Jane and Lizzie (the two eldest Bennett sisters) that their parents do not respect each other, therefore making their marriage unhappy.

“I do not attempt to deny,” said she, “that I think very highly of him — that I greatly esteem, that I like him.”  

 Marianne here burst forth with indignation —  

“Esteem him!  Like him!  Cold-hearted Elinor!  Oh!  Worse than cold-hearted!  Ashamed of being otherwise.  Use those words again and I will leave the room this moment.”  Elinor could not help laughing.  

“Excuse me,” said she, “and be assured that I meant no offence to you, by speaking, in so quiet a way, of my own feelings.  Believe them to be stronger than I have declared…”

Austen’s sly humor is to be seen in many of Marianne’s speeches.  Here is Marianne’s first impression of Willoughby- a man who fires her imagination:

His manly beauty and more than common gracefulness  were instantly the theme of general admiration, and the laugh which his gallantry raised against Marianne received particular spirit from his exterior attractions.  …His person and air were equal to what her fancy had ever drawn for the hero of a favourite story; and in his carrying her into the house with so little  previous formality, there was a rapidity of thought which particularly recommended the action to her.  Every circumstance belonging to him was interesting.  

…when she saw that to the perfect good-breeding of the gentleman, he united frankness and vivacity, and, above all,  when she heard him declare that of music and dancing he was passionately fond, she gave him such a look of approbation as secured the largest share of his discourse to herself for the rest of his stay.

Marianne has esteem (respect; regard) for Col. Brandon (because of his knowledge of music/good taste), though she doesn’t view him as a suitor from the get-go:

Colonel Brandon alone, of all the party, heard her without being in raptures.  He paid her only the compliment of attention; and she felt a respect for him on the occasion, which the others had reasonably forfeited by their shameless want of taste.  His pleasure in music, though it amounted not to that ecstatic delight which alone could sympathize with her own, was estimable when contrasted against the horrible insensibility of the others; and she was reasonable enough to allow that a man of five-and-thirty might well have outlived all acuteness of feeling and every exquisite power of enjoyment.  She was perfectly disposed to  make every allowance for the colonel’s advanced state of life which humanity required.

The first person to notice the colonel’s love for Marianne is (surprisingly) Mrs. Jennings!  She’s the one who jokes about “the mysterious Mr. F” and is eager to marry off every pretty girl in the area.  Col. Brandon is very eligible, and (especially in that society) people must wonder why he isn’t already married.

…soon after her arrival at Barton decisively to pronounce that Colonel Brandon was very much in love  with Marianne Dashwood.  She rather suspected it to be so, on the very first evening of their being together, from his listening so attentively while she sang to them; and when the visit was returned by the Middletons dining at the cottage, the fact was ascertained by his listening to her again.  It must be so.  She was perfectly convinced of it.  It would be an excellent match, for he was rich and she was handsome. 

Marianne exclaims to her mother and Elinor:

It is too ridiculous!  When is a man to be safe from such wit, if age and infirmity will not protect him?

But thirty-five has nothing to do with matrimony.

Several readers in my book club (composed of mostly single young ladies who are avid Austen fans) agreed that “when you’re young, you want the bad boy.”  Someone added that “most women have dated a Willoughby.”

“Edward is boring,” the organizer said.  Another member commented: “Edward is like the [modern-day] nerd character.  He’s quiet- the nice guy.”

I agreed with the reader who said “Col. Brandon was a real friend to Marianne.  Even though he thought she didn’t like him, he watched out for her.”  Did Marianne “settle” for Col. Brandon?  What do you think?

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: Book Summary

I’m re-reading this classic story for a book club that I’m in, and wanted to share some thoughts about it.  I first read it back in my undergraduate days.

  • Set-up of the story: Death of old Mr. Dashwood (a gentleman bachelor with a large estate, Norland, in Sussex) and the way his property was entailed
  • Death of his nephew, Mr. Henry Dashwood, and the inheritance of all his property to his eldest son by his first marriage, John
  • Introduction to the main characters: Mrs. Dashwood (Henry’s second wife, 40 y.o.), Elinor (the eldest daughter: 19 y.o.), Marianne (the middle daughter: 16 y.o.), and Margaret (12 y.o.)
  • John, his wife Fanny, and their 4 y.o. son move into Norland.  Fanny takes account of the estate and convinces John to give his step-mother and half-sisters a small allowance to live on.

Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Edward (Hugh Grant) stroll through Norland in director Ang Lee's 1995 film.
Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Edward (Hugh Grant) stroll through Norland in director Ang Lee’s 1995 film.

  • The friendship develops between Elinor & Edward Ferrars (a young man in his early 20s) who is also her brother-in-law.  However, Edward (the eldest son) is not independent, and does not yet have a career.  Fanny is against the match and makes no bones about it to Mrs. Dashwood.  Edward becomes a good friend to the Dashwood family, though he was reserved and awkward upon first meeting.  Edward says: “I have no desire to be distinguished,” but would like a quiet/private life as a clergyman.  Elinor tells Marianne: “I think very highly of him. I greatly esteem him.”

Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Marianne (Kate Winslet)
Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Marianne (Kate Winslet)

Col. Brandon (Alan Rickman) sees/hears Marianne for the first time.
Col. Brandon (Alan Rickman) sees Marianne for the first time.

  • The Dashwood ladies move to Barton Cottage in Devonshire, close to Mrs. Dashwood’s cousin, Sir John Middleton, who resides at Barton Park.  He is a good-natured gentleman who loves company of all ages. The ladies adapt to their new (humble) life with few servants and new neighbors/friends: the Middleton family, Mrs. Jennings (the matchmaking mother of Lady Middleton), and Colonel Brandon (a 35 y.o. gentleman who enjoys hunting and music).  He is still a bachelor and resides at his estate (Delaford) for most of the year.  He has a young ward (who some rumor to be his illegitimate daughter).  Col. Brandon has a partiality toward Marianne (often called “a beautiful girl”).  She is passionate, musical, and bears a resemblance physically to his first/only love.
  • On one of her usual long walks, Marianne sprains her ankle and is assisted by a young gentleman, Mr. John Willoughby, of Allenham.  He is in his mid-20s, very handsome/stylish, loves dancing and reading.  Also, he’ll inherit a fine estate (Combe Magna) in Somerset.  It seems like he was made for Marianne, who quickly falls in love.  They spend all their free time together, which leaves no doubt of their attachment to each other.  Elinor cautions Marianne, but she doesn’t listen.

Marianne receives flowers from Mr. Willoughby (Greg Wise)
Marianne receives flowers from Mr. Willoughby (Greg Wise)

  • Intro of Charlotte (the jovial second daughter of Mrs. Jennings) and Mr. Palmer (her droll husband who is going into politics).  They come for a visit and reveal that they are expecting a child.  Their estate (Cleveland) is not far from Combe Magna.
  • Willoughby quits the country unexpectedly, saying that his aunt (Lady Allen) requires him to be in London.  Marianne is very shocked/upset, but says nothing regarding their engagement.  Everyone assumes that the couple is engaged.
  • Edward comes for a (brief) visit to Barton Cottage, but he looks unhappy/distracted.  They notice that he is wearing a ring with a lock of hair set inside.  When asked, Edward says it’s Fanny’s hair.
  • Intro to the young/country cousins of Mrs. Jennings: The comical/talkative Miss Anne Steele (30 y.0.) and her pretty younger sister, Lucy (early 20s)
  • Though they have little in common, the Dashwood girls and the Miss Steeles are thrown together in company.  Suddenly, Lucy confides to Elinor that she and Edward have been (secretly) engaged for some time, shattering Elinor’s own hopes.  Lucy fears what could happen if Fanny and Mrs. Ferrars ever found out, and swears Elinor to secrecy.  “I know he looks on you quite as a sister,” Lucy comments.
  • Everyone is prepared for a picnic at Delaford, but Col. Brandon quickly rides off after receiving a letter.
  • Mrs. Jennings decides to take the young ladies to London; Mrs. Dashwood approves greatly.
  • Edward comes to call on Elinor, but finds that Lucy is also there.  It is a very awkard situation; Elinor is the only one who is composed enough to deal with the needed niceties.  When Marianne comes down, she is overjoyed to see Edward.
  • Marianne, after getting no replies from Willoughby, is ecstatic to meet him at a large public assembly.  He is cold and curt towards her, speaking more to Elinor regarding general matters.  He goes off to be with his companion, a tall and elegant lady.  Marianne nearly faints on the dance floor.

Elinor and Marianne see Willoughby with Miss Grey at a ball
Elinor and Marianne see Willoughby with Miss Grey at a ball

  • The next day, Marianne finally gets a letter from Willoughby- it breaks her heart.  Elinor is shocked, and tries to comfort her sister.  Mrs. Jennings gets more details-  Willoughby is engaged to a Miss Grey with 50,000 pounds.
  • The girls meet Mrs. Ferrars for the first time.  She and Fanny seem pleased with Lucy, not knowing the truth about her and Edward.  Marianne has an emotional outburst when she sees Elinor’s paintings being dismissed in favor of another lady’s work (“Who is Miss Morton to us?  It is of Elinor that we think and speak!”)
  • Col. Brandon reveals why he had to leave the picnic to Elinor.  He also tells her about his past and reveals Willoughby’s true character.  As a boy/young man, Col. Brandon loved his cousin. They hoped to elope, but were found out by his father.  Col. Brandon’s elder brother married her instead and got hold 0f her large fortune.  “She suffered much from him,” and eventually they divorced.  The lady became pregnant by her first lover, spent all her money, and lay dying in a poorhouse.  She gave her young daughter to his charge before the end.  As for Willoughby, he seduced a 15 y.o. schoolgirl he met the previous year in Bath.  This girl (Eliza Williams) became pregnant, with no assurance from her lover.  Col. Brandon says that he “challenged” Willoughby (to a duel), and both men came away unharmed.  This seems extreme to Elinor, but she says nothing.
  • Elinor tells Marianne what she has learned about Willoughby.  Marianne listens quietly and it seems like she still has some sympathy for the man.
  • At a shop, the Dashwood sisters see a fastidious young man ordering a toothpick case.  He turns out to be Edward’s younger brother, Robert.
  • Anne unmindfully lets slip that Lucy and Edward are engaged while the Steeles are staying at John and Fanny’s townhouse.  Fanny has a fit, throws the girls out, and takes to her bed.  Mrs. Ferrars is also furious.  She disowns Edward after he refuses to break off the engagement and marry Miss Morton.
  • When Marianne learns of this, she feels terrible for what she said earlier to Elinor regarding her reserve.  Elinor suffered a broken heart, too.
  • John thinks that Col. Brandon wants to marry Elinor, since they spend a lot of time talking.  He says that it’ll be a fine match, since the colonel has money, lands, etc.

Col. Brandon learns of Edward's troubles from Elinor
Col. Brandon learns of Edward’s troubles from Elinor

  • Col. Brandon (via Elinor) offers the parsonage at Delaford to Edward.  (Mrs. Jennings overhears some of their conversation and thinks that the colonel is proposing to Elinor.  Later, the two ladies have a laugh about this mistake.)  When he hears of the living from Elinor, Edward is speechless.  Elinor says that he still has friends, even though his family has cut him off.  They have an awkward parting; he’s off to Oxford to become ordained (as a minister).
  • The Dashwood sisters, Col. Brandon, and Mrs. Jennings travel to Cleveland (the home of the Palmers).  Everyone admires the newborn baby boy.  After a long walk in cold/rainy weather, Marianne falls ill.  It grows serious quickly- the doctor says it’s a “putrid infection.” Fearing for the baby, the Palmers leave the house, but Mrs. Jennings stays behind.  The doctor comes each day to check on the patient.  Col. Brandon hastens to fetch Mrs. Dashwood.
  • Elinor is surprised to see Willoughby, who demands an audience with her to explain himself.  He admits that he went to the countryside to amuse himself, but fell in love with Marianne.  When Lady Allen heard about another event (the birth of a baby to Col. Brandon’s ward), she called him back to her side.  She suggested that he marry the poor girl, but he couldn’t bring himself to do that.  He could only think of Marianne.  Since he was disowned by his aunt and had many debts, he hastily secured Miss Grey, who had recently come into her inheritance.  He hopes that she will hate him less now.  Seeing his misery, Elinor feels sorry for him, but doesn’t forgive his earlier behavior.  She feels that his wife at least deserves his respect.
  • Before Mrs. Dashwood arrives, Marianne is out of danger.  She invites Col. Brandon to see her to thank him.  The gentleman is greatly affected by this, Elinor notices.
  • Col. Brandon escorts the ladies home to Barton cottage.
  • As she recovers, Marianne speaks less, tries to be cheerful, and returns to playing her piano.  She’s determined to read more; there are books at Barton Park and Delaford that she can borrow.  Marianne reveals to Elinor how she now feels regarding Willoughby.  She feels pity, for the most part.  She regrets her selfish, ungrateful, and unfair behavior to her family, friends, and acquaintances.  But most of all, Marianne says she owes the biggest apology to Elinor.
  • Finally, Elinor tells Marianne about Willoughby’s visit during her illness.  She cries and tells her sister to tell their mother.  “I am now perfectly satisfied.  I wish for no change.  I could not have been happy with him…” (after learning what his real character was).  Willoughby was “selfish.”
  • One of their manservants, Thomas, explains that he saw Mrs. Ferrars (Lucy Steele) in a coach going through the town.  She said she was recently married.  Thomas said that Mr. Ferrars (Edward, he assumed) was also in the coach, but was leaning back and didn’t say anything.  They are all surprised and saddened to hear this, especially Elinor.  She wonders how Lucy and Edward’s life will be in the nearby parsonage.
  • They think Col. Brandon is coming for a visit, but the gentleman on horseback turns out to be Edward.  He’s nervous about being there, they all notice.  Elinor asks about “Mrs. Ferrars,” and Edward says: “My mother is in town.”  Then, she rephrases it to “Mrs. Edward Ferrars.”  Awkwardly, he explains that they must mean “Mrs. Robert Ferrars.”  His brother has married Lucy.  Elinor is overcome with (happy) emotion, bursts into tears, and leaves the room.  He leaves for the village.
  • The next afternoon, Edward comes back to propose to Elinor.  “He was one of the happiest of men,” as he was released from his previous engagement (“boyish attachment”) to Lucy.  Edward could now be more free with the Dashwoods.  He wished he’s had some sort of employment at 18, but there was nothing for him to do but “fancy myself in love” at 19.  He felt at home with Lucy’s family (unlike his own), and thought she was “a very pretty girl.”  He knew little of other women then.
  • Elinor is surprised by how happy she is, being engaged to Edward.  They spend a week together, talking openly.  She was confused by Robert and Lucy’s marriage.  He never thought her a beauty.  Perhaps “vanity” and “flattery” brought them together, Edward says.  Lucy wrote him a letter saying that “her affections had transferred” from him to his brother after he was disowned.
  • Edward wants to meet and apologize to Col. Brandon (who will be his future patron).  He no longer resents being offered the Delaford parsonage, and wishes to see it.
  • Col. Brandon visits Barton Cottage and learns all that recently passed.  He and Edward get to know (and like) each other.  The main concern in Col. Brandon’s mind is the difference in his and Marianne’s ages.
  • After Edward spends some time at the parsonage, he and Col. Brandon travel to London.  Edward makes things better with his mother, so is brought into the family again.  Apprehensively, he tells her of his engagement to Elinor.  Mrs. Ferrars eventually consents, and gives him an inheritance (equal to what was given to Fanny).

Edward and Elinor after their wedding
Edward and Elinor after their wedding

  • Edward and Elinor marry in Barton church.  They fix up the parsonage to their liking.
  • Mrs. Ferrars, John and Fanny visit them in their new home.  John hopes that Col. Brandon will soon marry Marianne.
  • Mrs. Ferrars is reconciled to Robert within a few months.  Lucy flattered her whenever possible, so Robert became her favorite son once more.  Robert and Lucy settled in London, with help from his mother.
  • Elinor, Edward, and Mrs. Dashwood continue to gently promote the courtship of Col. Brandon and Marianne.  She has “high esteem” and feels “friendship” for the gentleman, and decides to marry him at 19.  “Her whole heart became, in time, as much devoted to her husband as at had been to Willoughby.”

Next up: Analysis of Characters & Themes

Memorable Lines: P&P (Part 2)


Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.  -Mr. Bennett declares calmly/dryly to Lizzie while a horrified Mrs. Bennett looks on

I’m not romantic you know.  I never was.  I only ask a comfortable home. -Charlotte admits to Lizzie her reason for marrying (settling for) Mr. Collins


There are few people in the world whom I truly love… The more I see of the world, the more I’m dissatisfied with it.  -Lizzie admits to Jane


Beauty is not the only virtue, Maria.  I hear Miss King has recently inherited 10,000 pounds.

-Charlotte explains to her teenage sister, Maria, and Mrs. Phillips (one of Lizzie’s aunts) after Maria comments that Miss King is not very pretty.


Shelves in the closet- happy thought indeed.  -Lizzie comments on the closet in her bedchamber at Hunsford (the Collins’ house)

Oh, do not concern yourself with your appearance, my dear cousin.  She [Lady Catherine de Bourgh] likes to have the distinction of rank preserved.  -Mr. Collins 


What?  All out at one time- the younger ones before the elder are married?  -Lady Catherine reveals her surprise when Lizzie explains that all her sisters are out in society at the same time.


I feel I’m ill qualified to recommend myself to strangers.  -Mr. Darcy


In vain I have struggled, it will not do. My feelings will not be repressed – you must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. In declaring myself thus I am fully aware that I will be going expressly against the wishes of my family, my friends and I hardly need add my own better judgement. The relative situation of our families is such that any alliance between us must be regarded as a highly reprehensible connection. Indeed as a rational man I cannot but regard it as such myself – but it cannot be helped. Almost from the earliest moments of our acquaintance I have come to feel for you a passionate admiration and regard, which despite all my struggles has overcome every rational objection and I beg you most fervently to relieve my suffering and consent to be my wife.  -Darcy’s first proposal


The mode of your declaration merely spared me any concern I might had felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner. You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that could have tempted me to accept it. From the very beginning your manners impressed me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit and your selfish distain for the feelings of others. I had not known you a month before I felt you were the last man in the world whom I could ever marry.  -Lizzie’s reply to Darcy