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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Jane Austen's 'Sense and Sensibility': Should Brandon have married Elinor?

Elinor falls in love with Edward when she is only nineteen. It is a truth universally acknowledged that girls aged 19 are in love with someone but that he rarely turns out to be the man to whom they are married at the age of 29.

So in Chapter 10, might Elinor have fallen for Brandon?

When Elinor has been detached for a while from Edward, we find: 'She [Elinor] liked him [Brandon] - in spite of his gravity and reserve, she beheld in him an object of interest. ... Sir John had dropped hints of past injuries and disappointments, which justified her belief of his being an unfortunate man, and she regarded him with respect and compassion'.

Elinor tells Marianne and Willoughby that Brandon is 'sensible', 'has attractions' for her; that he is 'well-bred, well-informed, of gentle address' and 'possessing an amiable heart'. (He also possesses a fair amount of cash.) At this stage in the novel, it may strike us that Elinor and Brandon would make a good couple even though this sensible man surprisingly prefers her sister.