| Quote #4
His want of spirits, of openness, and of consistency, were most usually attributed to his want of independence, and his better knowledge of Mrs. Ferrars's disposition and designs. The shortness of his visit, the steadiness of his purpose in leaving them, originated in the same fettered inclination, the same inevitable necessity of temporizing with his mother. The old, well-established grievance of duty against will, parent against child, was the cause of all. (19.2)
Here, Elinor comes right out and blames the "fettering" relationship of mother and son for Edward's weird behavior – family, we see, is a kind of ball and chain, as well as a support mechanism.
| Quote #5
Fortunately for those who pay their court through such foibles, a fond mother, though, in pursuit of praise for her children, the most rapacious of human beings, is likewise the most credulous; her demands are exorbitant; but she will swallow anything; and the excessive affection and endurance of the Miss Steeles towards her offspring, were viewed therefore by Lady Middleton without the smallest surprise or distrust. She saw with maternal complacency all the impertinent incroachments and mischievous tricks to which her cousins submitted. She saw their sashes untied, their hair pulled about their ears, their work-bags searched, and their knives and scissars stolen away, and felt no doubt of its being a reciprocal enjoyment. (21.6)
Austen pauses to meditate upon the forgiving, over-indulgent nature of motherhood, something she seems to do with some degree of both fondness and disdain.
| Quote #6
Elinor was much more hurt by Marianne's warmth, than she had been by what produced it; but Colonel Brandon's eyes, as they were fixed on Marianne, declared that he noticed only what was amiable in it; the affectionate heart which could not bear to see a sister slighted in the smallest point.
Marianne's sisterly love emerges here, proving that, despite their troubles, Elinor and Marianne have a profound bond. Perhaps a little too profound on Marianne's part, based on her uncontrollable emotions.