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Sneaking a Peek at Sense & Sensibility Entry 16


People: Marianne and Edward Ferrars

Text: Marianne completely gave herself over to grieving her separation from Willoughby. She intentionally entered the pain by playing songs on the piano that they had played together. She cried rereading books and poetry that they had both loved. And she walked alone in the places they had been. But one morning, a week after Willoughby had left the country, she agreed to go on a walk with Elinor and Margaret. As they were walking, they saw a gentleman riding towards them on a horse.

               Marianne was sure that it was Willoughby and ran to greet him. Elinor, thinking Marianne was mistaken, held back. The girls were surprised to learn that the rider was Edward Ferrars, coming to visit them. Edward walked with them back to Barton Cottage, where he was greeted warmly by Mrs. Dashwood. Their conversation displayed the difference in personality and opinions between Edward and Marianne.

               “I was at Norland (their former home) about a month ago,” Edward said.

               “And how does dear, dear Norland look?” cried Marianne.

               Elinor said, “I think the woods and walks are thickly covered with dead leaves.”

               “Oh!” cried Marianne, “with what transporting sensations have I formerly seen them fall! How have I delighted, as I walked, to see them driven in showers about me by the wind!”

               “It is not everyone,” said Elinor, “who has your passion for dead leaves.”

               (Marianne reflected on the beauty of Barton Park, Barton Cottage, and the countryside.)

               Edward replied, “It is a beautiful country, but these bottoms must be dirty in winter.”

               “How can you think of dirt,” Marianne asked, “with such objects (of beauty) around you?”

               “Because, among the rest of the object, I see a very dirty lane,” Edward said.

               The differences in opinions and passions continued to be displayed throughout the visit.


Emotion: appreciating differences

Insight: Ephesians 4:2 could be applied to the differences of Marianne, Elinor, and Edward, “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…”

               Marianne, always passionate, always embracing her emotions, describes the joy of the fall leaves and the beauty of being surrounded by them when caught in the wind. But when she praised the beauty of their new home and countryside, Edward remarked on the dirty lanes. Elinor and Edward, more practical, employing more sense, saw not only the beauty of the area, but also the dirtiness of the roads. Marianne could not comprehend this perspective.

               Ephesians 4:2 encourages us to find the middle ground, to practice patience and tolerance, and to do it with love as the motivation. Elinor could have better understood Marianne; Marianne could have been more understanding of both Elinor and Edward and their controlled behavior and moderate opinions. May we learn to be tolerant, patient, humble, and gentle and use love as the incentive to truly attempt to take in the viewpoints and perspectives of those who are different than we are.

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