Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #1

Some mothers might have encouraged the intimacy from motives of interest, for Edward Ferrars was the eldest son of a man who had died very rich; and some might have repressed it from motives of prudence, for, except a trifling sum, the whole of his fortune depended on the will of his mother. But Mrs. Dashwood was alike uninfluenced by other consideration. It was enough for her that he appeared to be amiable, that he loved her daughter, and that Elinor returned the partiality. (3.4)

We see two different views of marriage (or potential marriage) here – on one hand, the socially conventional tendency to view marriage as a purely economic exercise, while on the other, Mrs. Dashwood's completely sentimental, unscientific view of it, in which, as they say, all you need is love. Neither of these views turn out to be entirely correct within the framework of the novel.

Quote #2

Sir John was a sportsman, Lady Middleton a mother. He hunted and shot, and she humoured her children; and these were their only resources. Lady Middleton had the advantage of being able to spoil her children all the year round, while Sir John's independent employments were in existence only half the time. (6.1)

The Middleton marriage is described more like a business than like a loving, personal relationship. Marriage seems to be about practicality rather than mutual enjoyment.

Quote #3

Mrs. Jennings was a widow, with an ample jointure. She had only two daughters, both of whom she had lived to see respectably married, and she had now therefore nothing to do but marry all the rest of the world. (8.1)

Wow – marriage is such a public thing here, that it's seemingly a fairly ordinary pastime. Mrs. Jennings may be a busybody, but it turns out that pretty much everyone else in this world is involved in the same game, whether they realize it or not.

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