god i just want to be elinor

Follow Up S&S & Misdirection Post

Hi, austen anon here with an opinion - confirmation on your post: /post/134620693136/sense-sensibility-misdirection-in-gmny      

It’s no secret my thoughts on the dealings with S&S have been SO opposite in that episode, it really made me wonder if the writers even read the book. I’m going with you Yeold, it has to be misdirection mainly because of the one thing that is hard to connect to S&S- especially because the title of the book itself is very misleading, and its real conclusion in the text.

And after reading so many posts of the book parallel to the show getting this bit wrong- I have been DYING to speak up. No insults though- even the SHOW did it! (On purpose, I’m hoping)

First- really important background info: S&S was JA’s first novel she wrote, it was titled ‘Elinor and Marianne’ simply replaced with ‘Sense and Sensibility’ later- not as an information to the moral or message of the novel- but simply as a replacement for the names, representing the dual main characters- not the conclusion. Mainly because one DOES triumph over the other in the end- sense.

Sense and sensibility- response to the growing literature and culture of romance and emotion driven romances where grand sweeping love with no consequences conquers all. This book was a response to it, she roped readers in the first half making them believe this is yet another wonderful romance novel where an old poor ‘spinster’ finds a rare rich love, and an unbelievably passionate young girl finds her one true love after he saves her in the rain on his horse. But harsh reality suddenly comes nearly killing one of them because she is so consumed by emotion- and they each have to face it.

Jane Austen was a promoter of realism and sense, in any book, anything with a ‘party of pleasure’ or any sort either got cancelled or ended terribly awful. She was not one for frivolity. 

The book:  

They live happily ever after, yes. But only after being driven by sense, especially after Marianne vows to be more sensible like Elinor, admitting her sensibility driven life and influence from Willoughby was wrong. This is the basic point of the novel, it’s the entire ending and what its been leading up to. Yes, you need both- but sense is required in sensibility always, in every aspect of life. You can’t have it on its own. Sense wins in the end. It’s the whole point. Marianne has to (and does) change, Elinor doesn’t.

I think you’re right, yeold, in GMW we are misdirected in the whole series, and we are again misdirected in this episode with this book. Too much of a coincidence for the book to be taken that wrongly on a public television show that anyone who really read it could point out (I hope).

The novel itself is purposeful misdirection. It’s an argument, a commentary that is meant to give people a second thought as to what these grand tunnel-visions loves actually are and lead to. We are meant to believe one thing and are suddenly driven in a whole other direction. Austen has drawn people in with what seems like great loves and another perfect romance with (literally) ‘white’ horses saving Marianne and him even giving her one- but then reality sets in- and Marianne’s family can’t actually afford to keep the horse. Reality sets in- and Marianne nearly dies the next time out- no white horse to save her. 

Misdirection: half the show-= idealistic romance w/ Riley and Lucas. That has to be real love, because our culture encourages that love and shows us that’s what’s real. Second half? Reality, Riley’s been living in idealism. Maya loved him all along. Lucas may return it too. What else has she gotten wrong?


**This is a little deeper and goes into character details that I see being used, but I’m not sure if it’s too detailed from the novel for the writers to have purposely used. **

And all along in S&S, Marianne thinks she’s the only one truly suffering, not even seeing Elinor’s silent pain. Only at times acknowledging it with Edward’s absence- but never noticing any more to its really really deep darkness that we know Elinor is living in because Marianne is busy with her own pain. Marianne assumes that because Elinor said nothing- that she couldn’t have really felt that much at all- how is Elinor even human? To which Elinor gives Marianne a rare verbal shakedown of reality- that just because Marianne cries through a microphone and must have everyone involved in her suffering- doesn’t make Elinor’s suffering less painful. In fact, we get the sense that Elinor suffered more in silence than out of it. Silence, which, by the way, she was sworn into by her strong loyalty to the same woman who was taking Edward away from her all along… his fiancée.

When Riley ‘suffers’ “in silence” (but not really) when Maya and Lucas start happening out in the open- who gives her attention over this? Cory, Topanga, Farkle, Zay, etc. Riley lays on Topanga’s lap very dramatically for what we can assume was more than a few hours, Farkle takes her suffering so seriously, he decides to end it for her by announcing it. Suddenly the world revolves around it.

When did we see Maya suffering? Who spoke up for Maya for those 2 years while she held loyal to the girl who was taking away the man she secretly loved? When Maya was silent out of her loyalty to the woman who she swore to protect a long time ago and solidified it with rings?

We are meant to believe Riley and Lucas are this big fleeting romance that is so idealized (even with a white horse) by what we are told, that we forget it’s sense that allows us to put it together in the way it really is.  Just because Riley thinks she’s ‘head’ and Maya thinks she’s ‘heart’ doesn’t mean they are those characters- because who is the one quiet and pensive the whole episode? Who is the one who’s heart is literally yelled out to everyone only missing a loud speaker and a piñata?

And as we know from Cory…

Cory: You have to be careful with feelings, they can tear apart friendship and growth

Riley: Friends come first and growth is knowing your friends happiness comes before your own

Cory: That’s nuts

Riley: But dad you’ve always lived that way

Cory: Not always, Riley. I didn’t use to. But I learned. The way you’re learning now. Every event in history comes from people feeling something, and then acting on those feelings. Or sometimes, being smart enough not to. That’s how you grow.

The problem with Marianne in Sense and Sensibility- is she always thinks she’s right in every way. She doesn’t see that her actions, her thoughts, her manners- and everything that she does with and for Willoughby is drenched in blind idealism and involves no logic or reason. She really thinks she is more logical and reasonable than Elinor herself because she claims to understand love better and more correctly than Elinor does. To Marianne- she herself is the sensible one. And Elinor is the sometimes cold and lonely fish who needs a push in the way of love because she can’t even say it the way Marianne can shout it!

… And what does Topanga curiously tell Riley after she hugs her later in that episode? After telling her to treat her friends right?

Topanga: “Here’s to the right decisions for the right reasons.”

Riley: “Oh, I got it.”

Ding dong!

Riley: (quick) “I got it!”

Then she runs to the door clearly urgent for Lucas (who arrives after the genius couple) and walks past her to Maya, and then Riley sits next to Lucas and Maya kinda, pretty much, basically, but literally uninvited. That’s a lot of acting on those feelings you said you’d back away from, a lot of decisions for wrong reasons even if they seem like the right thing (looking at you, Farkle). Noooo Riley, I don’t think ya do get it.

And who talks to Maya after that in that episode after the party’s left? In quiet? In private? …Cory and Topanga.

They know what’s up. They know who’s suffering in silence. They know who’s put their friends happiness before their own.

This is why Elinor suffered in silence while knowing Edward’s secret engagement, Elinor to Marianne:

“"Yes. But I did not love only him; – and while the comfort of others was dear to me, I was glad to spare them from knowing how much I felt. Now, I can think and speak of it with little emotion. I would not have you suffer on my account; for I assure you I no longer suffer materially myself. I have many things to support me. I am not conscious of having provoked the disappointment by any imprudence of my own, and I have borne it as much as possible without spreading it farther… I understand you. You do not suppose that I have ever felt much. For four months, Marianne, I have had all this hanging on my mind, without being at liberty to speak of it to a single creature; knowing that it would make you and my mother most unhappy whenever it were explained to you, yet unable to prepare you for it in the least. It was told me, – it was in a manner forced on me by the very person herself whose prior engagement ruined all my prospects; and told me, as I thought, with triumph. … If you can think me capable of ever feeling – surely you may suppose that I have suffered now. The composure of mind with which I have brought myself at present to consider the matter, the consolation that I have been willing to admit, have been the effect of constant and painful exertion; – they did not spring up of themselves; they did not occur to relieve my spirits at first, – no, Marianne. Then , if I had not been bound to silence, perhaps nothing could have kept me entirely – not even what I owed to my dearest friends – from openly shewing that I was very unhappy.“

Had Elinor NOT been sensible- she would have done what Marianne had done, bulldozing the emotions of her mother and her sisters. The first people she loved, and the last people on earth she’d ever wanted to hurt. She didn’t just love Edward, she was sensible enough to always know she loved them too. 

And Maya? Maya the one that doesn’t even want to bother God with her own wishes? She sees that she driven by her heart above her senses and says it in class- because much like Elinor, Maya’s heart puts everyone else’s before her own and her sense matches her heart’s sensibilities. And because of this, Maya doesn’t see how sensible she really is being.

Maya suffered in silence for Riley for two years. Not for herself. She was driven by the love of her sister, and automatically through that her own sense to know that Lucas was not the only one she loved. It was Riley, her sister, too.

So, Elinor? Elinor is sense… with her sensibility. She feels truly and uses her brain… and they immediately match up on their own throughout– (Like the immense pain she feels from Edward’s engagement while simultaneously not wanting Edward to break off the engagement because she loved his honorable trait and says she might love him less if he ever did, an therefore loves him more and hurts more as he never breaks it.).

It’s why Elinor doesn’t need to change at the end of the novel. She doesn’t change. She has already mastered how to not be driven by the in love in her heart to overcome her sense. She is mature enough and experienced enough to feel, then think, then act (or not), and it has led her to a happy ending.

At the end, Marianne realizes she was wrong, she didn’t know what love was more than Elinor did. That Elinor’s sense made her more aware and more able to love correctly and selflessly- that Elinor had suffered through her love for Marianne. So she vows that she will be more like her. “I compare it (my conduct) to what it ought to have been; I compare it with yours.”  


Just FYI everyone this person wrote her dissertation on Sense & Sensibility. So. Dig it.