Lazy Summer Days

These past two weekends have just been wonderful. The weeks have been particularly busy, so it has been so nice and relaxing to have open schedules on the weekends. Last week I spent a good portion of Saturday and Sunday curled up in a hammock in the back yard, enjoying the beautiful summer weather, a Blended Strawberry Lemonade from Starbucks, and a good book. I decided that since Brian has been posting book reviews that I should too! This one won't be terribly profound, but after all, a good book is something worth talking (or blogging) about.

This past weekend I took a mini-vacation to the world of Jane Austen. I've only been reading Austen for the past year, so I still haven't read many of her most famous works. Last year I read Pride and Prejudice and Emma -- the book for this past weekend was Sense and Sensibility. I was pleasantly surprised to see how different this book was from the previous two I mentioned. I have enjoyed each of the books, but felt like they might be a little too predictable. I did not find that the case at all in Sense and Sensibility. I really had no idea who was going to end up with who until the very end! Although the love stories can be a little monotonous, I found the two main female characters in this book very interesting. I see so much of myself in them that it provided a point of introspection.

Elinor is the sensible, older sister. She is described as possessing a "strength of understanding, and a coolness of judgment, which qualified her, though only nineteen, to be the counsellor of her mother . . . her disposition was affectionate, and her feelings were strong; but she knew how to govern them." The other main female character is Marianne, her younger sister. Her "Abilities were, in many respects, quite equal to Elinor's. She was sensible and clever; but eager in every thing; her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation. She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was every thing but prudent." At one point, Marianne found herself heartbroken and Austen's description of this provides a picture of this description: "This violent oppression of spirits continued the whole evening. She was without any power, because she was without any desire of command over herself. The slightest mention of any thing relative to Willoughby overpowered her in an instant."

The contrast between the two is clearly exaggerated. I find myself somewhere in between these two girls. I am generally sensible, and yet there are times when I am overwhelmed by emotion. By the end of the book Marianne has mellowed significantly, both by an intense illness and by seeing the benefits of her elder sisters sensibility. This book takes place devoid of any talk of God, but the spiritual implications are not hard to find. There is good sense in governing ones own emotions, but there is even more significance to not being ruled by ones passions but rather subjecting them to God's will. I am reminded of my own need to submit everything to God and to find joy in him regardless of my fleeting emotions. All in all, I found this book very enjoyable and a good study in human nature. I would highly recommend it!

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