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Quotes

Quote #1

"It is enough," said she; "to say that he is unlike Fanny is enough. It implies everything amiable. I love him already."

"I think you will like him," said Elinor, "when you know more of him."

"Like him!" replied her mother with a smile. "I can feel no sentiment of approbation inferior to love."

"You may esteem him."

"I have never yet known what it was to separate esteem and love." (3.8)

Mrs. Dashwood's vision of love, and personal relationships in general, is much more loose and all-encompassing than Elinor's – basically, "love" and "like" are confused in her book. She's willing to "love" anyone, while Elinor has positive feelings broken down more specifically into the intellectual and emotional ("esteem" versus "love").

Quote #2

The excellence of his understanding and his principles can be concealed only by that shyness which too often keeps him silent. You know enough of him to do justice to his solid worth. But of his minuter propensities, as you call them, you have from peculiar circumstances been kept more ignorant than myself. He and I have been at times thrown a good deal together, while you have been wholly engrossed on the most affectionate principle by my mother. I have seen a great deal of him, have studied his sentiments and heard his opinion on subjects of literature and taste; and, upon the whole, I venture to pronounce that his mind is well-informed, his enjoyment of books exceedingly great, his imagination lively, his observation just and correct, and his taste delicate and pure. His abilities in every respect improve as much upon acquaintance as his manners and person. At first sight, his address is certainly not striking; and his person can hardly be called handsome, till the expression of his eyes, which are uncommonly good, and the general sweetness of his countenance, is perceived. At present, I know him so well, that I think him really handsome; or, at least, almost so. (4.6)

Elinor's reasons for loving Edward are delivered here, in classic Elinor fashion. She's fallen in love with him (or at least, she thinks she has) because of his correct qualities, not because of anything so rash as irrational passion.

Quote #3

Willoughby was a young man of good abilities, quick imagination, lively spirits, and open, affectionate manners. He was exactly formed to engage Marianne's heart; for, with all this, he joined not only a captivating person, but a natural ardour of mind, which was now roused and increased by the example of her own, and which recommended him to her affection beyond everything else. (10.6)

Willoughby is the perfect lover for Marianne – in theory. It doesn't even really matter what he's like beyond the surface at this point; he seems just right, so Marianne fits him into the Willoughby-shaped place in her heart that she'd already had waiting for him. This is in distinct contrast to Elinor's measured evaluation of Edward's qualities.

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