Sense and Sensibility
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Sense and Sensibility is a book that deals with many of life’s circumstances during the eight-teen hundreds. Although it was written in the first person it can provide the reader with a detailed perspective on the lifestyle of the upper crust of society. However, in order to get a full sense of appreciation of this lifestyle the elements of the opposite group, the lower class, must be attained. By comparing the differences amongst lifestyles characteristics which differ between individuals of their respective groups can be explained, and more importantly be justified.

The Dashwood’s are undoubtedly not of the lower crust of society, instead they were of the upper middle class for a number of different reasons. The most obvious which set them apart from the lower class is that they do not need to work to in order to survive. Although they were left on a budget by the senior Mr. Dashwood, they had no inclination to work, nor was there any mention of it during the entire novel. They were content with simply waiting to be married by a financially stable male. The evidence for this statement came from Mrs. Jennings when she said;” (She) Missed no opportunity of projecting weddings among all the young people.” This is the same practice that any reasonable female of that era would participate in. The aristocrats of that time would not have imagined that taking a regular job was the way to succeed, and they were right. It

was impossible to succeed, however to the people who did work at those time it was not about success, but rather survival.
At the time this book was written England was going through a “Boom.” The industrial revolution by this time was at full swing. In 1701 the population of London, Great Britain’s largest city, and administrative center was 950,000, by 1851 that number jumped to 2.5 million. Likewise, all the outlaying suburbs and regions grew. The main industries of that time were textiles and mining. As for the textile industries, many of the jobs needed to be performed were done in factories by women or children. These jobs required little or no skill, and thus wages reflected that of unskilled labor. Aside from pathetic wages, the unskilled employees of this period would be subject to poor working conditions and long hours. This adds obvious emphasis to the Dashwoods’ behavior in not attempting to work.

Some of the other contributing factors that separated the lower class from the middle and upper would be the way in which they spent their free time. The laborers rarely had any; their days would be filled with necessary chores that ranged from getting water to doing laundry. Because the technology for household efficiency was not keeping up with the times, many of the luxuries taken for granted today were not even available to these individuals. The upper classes on the other hand relied on servants for their tasks; they did not have to deal with these chores. At a particular point in the book an insight was offered to the family’s lifestyle, but more importantly to the mindset they had developed. Marianne said that,” A proper establishment of servants, a carriage, perhaps

two, and hunters…..”(67) This quote perfectly portrays what Marianne understood to be the norm. As a result

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Aristocrats Of That Time And Lower Class. (April 15, 2021). Retrieved from