Lifestyles Characteristics in Sense and Sensibilit Essay

This essay has a total of 943 words and 5 pages.

Lifestyles Characteristics in Sense and Sensibility

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


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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.
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