Notes on Sense and Sensibility Themes

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Sense and Sensibility Topic Tracking: Hypocrites

Chapter 2

Hypocrites 1: John thus twists the promise he made to his father, ignoring what was likely implied by it, so that he may still feel good about himself for what little he is doing. He convinces himself, with Fanny's help, that he is actually a wonderfully generous brother.

Chapter 4

Hypocrites 2: Marianne holds back when talking with Elinor about Edward's taste, which she thinks is limited, because: "She would not wound the feelings of her sister on any account, and yet to say what she did not believe was impossible." Chapter 4, pg. 16

Chapter 5

Hypocrites 3: Though John has enough money to give the Dashwoods, he chooses to give them none, and acts as though he is poor so he won't look bad for not giving them anything.

Chapter 6

Hypocrites 4: The Dashwood women are sad as they leave Norland for their new home, but they act happy so as not to upset the others. When they hide their feelings, it is for the benefit of others, not themselves.

Chapter 7

Hypocrites 5: In their enjoyment of society, the Middletons are quite different: Lady Middleton delights in showing off her house and table, while her husband Sir John enjoys the company of people.

Hypocrites 6: When Marianne plays the piano, Lady Middleton pretends to be listening, but she keeps asking Marianne to play songs she just played.

Chapter 10

Hypocrites 7: Marianne bristles at Elinor's criticism. She cannot make stupid small talk when it is not her desire to do so, or when her companion demands more.

Chapter 11

Hypocrites 8: At dances, Marianne and Willoughby dance only with each other. They ignore everyone else, because to them, when they only want to be with each other, to visit with anyone else would be dishonest.

Chapter 13

Hypocrites 9: Elinor scolds Marianne for going off alone with Willoughby, which is very improper conduct. Marianne tells Elinor that the trip was completely innocent; had there been anything wrong with it, she would have felt it, and would not have been able to enjoy herself.

Chapter 18

Hypocrites 10: Edward can only speak honestly about the landscape. Where he feels he has no knowledge or feeling, he is silent.

Chapter 21

Hypocrites 11: When the Steele girls gush about how wonderful Lady Middleton is, Marianne must keep silent, because "it was impossible for her to say what she did not feel, however trivial the occasion; and upon Elinor therefore the whole task of telling lies when politeness required it, always fell." Chapter 21, pg. 104

Chapter 22

Hypocrites 12: The Steele girls flatter Lady Middleton and her children excessively, even when the children are being brats.

Chapter 23

Hypocrites 13: Elinor wants some time alone with Lucy so they may talk. To get it, she tells Lady Middleton how much she would like to help Lucy work on a gift for the Lady's daughter, and how much she would enjoy the work. Both of which are untrue, but Elinor knows such talk can often do no harm and all good. Marianne could never have said such untrue things, even to get something she wanted terribly.

Chapter 29

Hypocrites 14: When Elinor tells Marianne that the best thing she can do to those who offend or dislike her, is keep her spirits up as though all were fine, Marianne tells her that is impossible. Her self-respect is nothing in the face of her sorrow over the loss of Willoughby.

Chapter 33

Hypocrites 15: John thinks Elinor and the Colonel will get married. He stresses how good that would be, and how Fanny especially wants to see Elinor settled well. But Elinor knows that Fanny and John would only be glad that she was not marrying Edward.

Chapter 34

Hypocrites 16: During a very dull conversation, Fanny brings out her child, and the whole party debates if her or Lady Middleton's child is taller. Lucy so wants to be liked by both, that she falls all over herself trying to flatter each mother. Elinor answers honestly, as does Marianne, who honestly does not care.

Hypocrites 17: It is very clear that Mrs. Ferrars does not like Elinor, because she believes she has some relationship with Edward. She is excited to see some drawings that the family is passing around, but once she knows they are done by Elinor, she does not even want to look at them.

Chapter 36

Hypocrites 18: Lady Middleton does not like Elinor and Marianne because they do not flatter her or her children, as the Steele girls do.

Hypocrites 19: John thinks of inviting his sisters to stay with him because a friend assumes they are his guests already. John, more concerned with appearing proper than with the well being of his sisters, asks Fanny if they should invite them.

Fanny, who does not like the Dashwood girls, tells John she already wanted to invite the Steeles. She makes every excuse so that she will not look bad for not inviting her relations.

Chapter 37

Hypocrites 20: Mrs. Jennings tells John that if Edward had acted against his feelings, and given up Lucy, she would have no respect for him. John would see such an action not as dishonest, but as protection, to ensure his fortune.

Chapter 38

Hypocrites 21: Lucy writes in her letter that she asked Edward to end the engagement because of their small chance for happiness (now that Edward has been disinherited), but that Edward refused. Elinor knows this is untrue; Ann told her she overheard the same conversation, but in the opposite. Edward, who now had nothing, asked Lucy to end the engagement, and she refused.

Chapter 41

Hypocrites 22: Lucy was very happy to learn about the Colonel's offer of the parsonage:

"As for Colonel Brandon, she was not only ready to worship him as a saint, but was moreover truly anxious that he should be treated as one in all worldly concerns; anxious that his tythes should be raised to the utmost; and secretly resolved to avail herself, at Delaford, as for as she possibly could, of his servants, his carriage, his cows, and his poultry." Chapter 41, pg. 248

Lucy cannot restrain herself from her selfish interests even toward someone who has just helped her out.

Hypocrites 23: John tries to assure Elinor that Mrs. Ferrars cares very much for her disinherited son, and that his marriage will hurt her deeply. Elinor does not understand, because Mrs. Ferrars behavior does not match the deep emotion John claims she feels. To disown a son, and then still care what happens to him, seems hypocritical to Elinor.

Hypocrites 24: Robert suggests to Elinor that if he had only known of the match ahead of time, he would have tried to stop it. This is unlikely, because if he stopped it, he would not be passed Edward's fortune. Edward relates later that he sent Robert to Lucy to try and persuade her to end the engagement, and he did not do that very well--instead Robert ended up marrying her himself.

Chapter 49

Hypocrites 25: Edward shows Elinor Lucy's final letter, which says in part: "...I scorn to accept a hand while the heart was another's. Sincerely wish you happy in your choice, and it shall not be my fault if we are not always good friends..." Chapter 49, pg. 309 Lucy had taken Elinor into her confidence to stake her claim to Edward, and discourage Elinor. Also, her incomplete message to the Dashwood servant, which lead them to believe she had married Edward, does not show much happiness or good will towards Elinor, his "choice." Jealous and cruel to the end, Lucy hides her hypocrisy behind shallow good manners.

Chapter 50

Hypocrites 26: When Mrs. Ferrars visits Edward and Elinor, she pretends to be happy and affectionate, but her favorites are still Robert and Lucy, who flatter her endlessly.

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