Sense and Sensibility
Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"My judgment," he returned, "is all on your side of the question; but I am afraid my practice is much more on your sister's. I never wish to offend, but I am so foolishly shy, that I often seem negligent, when I am only kept back by my natural awkwardness. I have frequently thought that I must have been intended by nature to be fond of low company, I am so little at my ease among strangers of gentility!" (17.6)
Edward feels himself to be at odds with high society, and can't ever get himself to fit in. This is yet another sign that he's not cut out for the dazzling career his mother envisions for him…but when will he be able to set out on his own path?
"My objection is this; though I think very well of Mrs. Jennings' heart, she is not a woman whose society can afford us pleasure, or whose protection will give us consequence." (25.7)
After Elinor's continued defense of Mrs. Jennings, we're a little surprised at the line of argument she takes here to try and avoid going to London. Despite the fact that she cares most about people's personalities, she demonstrates her simultaneous interest in social status and advantage.
Elinor found, when the evening was over, that disposition is not materially altered by a change of abode, for although scarcely settled in town, Sir John had contrived to collect around him, nearly twenty young people, and to amuse them with a ball. This was an affair, however, of which Lady Middleton did not approve. In the country, an unpremeditated dance was very allowable; but in London, where the reputation of elegance was more important and less easily attained, it was risking too much, for the gratification of a few girls, to have it known that Lady Middleton had given a small dance of eight or nine couple, with two violins, and a mere side-board collation. (27.20)
The difference in society between the town and the country is clear here – there are obviously different social rules that govern activity in the two places.