Sense and Sensibility Chapter 1
For years the Dashwood family has lived on the Norland Estate in Sussex, the south-east region of England. The property most recently was occupied by the uncle of Mr. Henry Dashwood. This uncle, being single and alone, had asked Mr. Dashwood and his family to come live with him. They did, and were treated well.
Mr. Henry Dashwood had one son by his first marriage. The son's mother had deceased. By his second marriage, he had three daughters. His son had become very wealthy from his mother's inheritance and from his wife's large fortune. Mr. Henry Dashwood, unlike his first wife, had only a small fortune to give his daughters, until he inherited the estate upon his uncle's death. However, the uncle declared that Norland would ultimately be the property of the John Dashwood family, Henry's young son who had charmed the uncle during his visits there.
Only a year after the death of Henry's uncle, Mr. Henry Dashwood died, leaving his wife and children with only a small fortune. Before dying, he made John promise to look after his stepmother and stepsisters. The idea of helping them made John feel very good inside. Caring more about herself than the Dashwoods' grief, his wife moves her family into Norland immediately after the funeral. Unhappy with this new arrangement, the Dashwood women stay at Norland only at the eldest daughter's urging, so as to avoid a family rift.
Elinor is the eldest daughter. Expressive and loving, but also disciplined, she surpasses her mother and younger sisters in her ability to manage her emotions. Marianne, the middle sister, shares Elinor's kind and caring nature, but acts only with her emotions, making her very honest but also impulsive and vulnerable. Their mother most resembles Marianne. Margaret, the youngest girl, acts mostly like Marianne, but without much of her understanding.