Sense and Sensibility
How we cite our quotes:
The private balls at the Park then began; and parties on the water were made and accomplished as often as a showery October would allow. In every meeting of the kind Willoughby was included; and the ease and familiarity which naturally attended these parties were exactly calculated to give increasing intimacy to his acquaintance with the Dashwoods, to afford him opportunity of witnessing the excellencies of Marianne, of marking his animated admiration of her, and of receiving, in her behaviour to himself, the most pointed assurance of her affection. (11.1)
This description makes it seem as though Willoughby must be convinced to fall in love with Marianne – there's something almost legalistic about this language. Does this imply that men and women somehow fall in love differently?
The evening passed off in the equal indulgence of feeling. She played over every favourite song that she had been used to play to Willoughby, every air in which their voices had been oftenest joined, and sat at the instrument gazing on every line of music that he had written out for her, till her heart was so heavy that no farther sadness could be gained; and this nourishment of grief was every day applied. She spent whole hours at the pianoforte alternately singing and crying; her voice often totally suspended by her tears. In books, too, as well as in music, she courted the misery which a contrast between the past and present was certain of giving. She read nothing but what they had been used to read together. (16.3)
Marianne's melodramatic, self-indulgent behavior demonstrates her beliefs about love – she thinks that it's supposed to be just like it is in novels. Ironically, it's through this novel that we see how very wrong this supposition is. Austen shows us that love is more complex and nuanced than simply swooning about and delighting in sorrow.
"Oh! no; but if mama had not objected to it, I dare say he would have liked it of all things. He had not seen me then above twice, for it was before I left school. However I am much happier as I am. Mr. Palmer is just the kind of man I like." (20.32)
Charlotte Palmer's statement here about her husband proves that it really does take all kinds – she loves her husband, not in spite of his rudeness, but perhaps because of it. Austen proves once again that love is a mystery.