Final [1] Essay Elinor Dashwood Jane Austen

Reis 1
Simone Cristina Motta Reis
Sandra Regina Goulart Almeida
Women’s Writings – 16
to 19
11 June 2008
Elinor: Traces of an Eighteenth-Century Woman on a Nineteenth Century Novel.
Although this novel was written on the nineteenth century, Elinor still carries , with her,
traces of pre-Victorian women as they were “praised for their emotional sensitivity as well as
their purity and passivity” (Gilbert and Gubar 52). Elinor represents the characteristics associated
with eighteenth-century, including rationality, moderation, and balance. She never loses sight
and perspective of her place in society, as she constantly reminds her sister Marianne of her 
inappropriate behavior. In this essay I intend to address two important features of eighteenth
century women found in Elinor. The first feature that I intend to study is Elinor’s conformity to
social rules, the second her interpersonal relationships
especially with Marianne and Edward.
The view of women in the eighteenth-century represented a shift in the history of 
literature. It was when “the virtuous and obedient woman was praised” (LeGates 23), and when
women were portrayed as morally superior, innocent, sensible, devoted to family, to religion, but
“subordinate ultimately to male authority” (LeGates 30). It is interesting to see that Elinor,
despite being a character written on the nineteenth century, as someone that is always kind,
considerate, and that never does things out of her own mind, contrary to Marianne. As Deborah
Kaplan mentioned “Sensibility not only makes Marianne uncivil but also reveals the extent to
which good manners are gestured … between men and woman” (542). Elinor respects the rules
of society as cruel as they might seem, and accepts her fate, even when it does not seem to be the
way that she would like it to be. A tender, virginal, understanding, and accomplished woman is