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Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility

by Jane Austen

The Home Theme

The loss of a cherished home is one of the first major thematic elements of Sense and Sensibility, and that sense of transition and movement persists throughout the novel. Home is identified as any number of things – a beloved place, a specific set of well-known, well-loved landmarks, a treasure trove of memories – but most of all, it's where the heart is, as they say. And that mostly means that it's where the family is; the sense of connection between the Dashwood sisters (our protagonists) is what keeps them grounded throughout this novel, even when everything seems like it's about to fly apart.

Questions About The Home

  1. How could we define the home in Sense and Sensibility?
  2. Is home truly where the heart is in this book? Or do the Dashwoods have no home at all once they leave Norland?
  3. What economic significance does the home have in this novel?
  4. How does home relate to family, and vice versa?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Many of Austen's main characters – for example, the Dashwoods, the Steeles, Willoughby, and Edward – are faced with the metaphorical problem of homelessness. Though they have places to stay, they do not possess their own land, and therefore are not grounded in conventional society yet. This desire to acquire a home of one's own is one of the driving forces in the plot of the novel.

Home, in Austen's novel, has more to do with economic independence and carving out one's own path than simply having a house to call one's own.

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