The Change from Idealism to Realism In the Process of Growing Up In Both Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey.
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Introduction: In both Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen uses the concept of idealism in contrast with realism to elicit the theme of growing up and the effect it has on the characters’ points of view. This theme is most evident in the female protagonists-- Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility, and Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey. Although both characters hold an ideal world in their minds, their personalities differ enormously. While Marianne imagines the world to be perfect and romantic, Catherine lives as a heroine and is constantly on the search for frightening scenes. However, despite this major difference, both protagonists go through memorable life experiences and eventually develop their …show more content…
The truth is, Marianne’s ideal world is too perfect and too romantic that she becomes hopeless towards reality and refuses to face any obstacles they encounter. However, Marianne’s world of romance soon begins to change when she meets John Willoughby, her ideal “hero of a favorite story” (Austen 36). Similar to Marianne, Willoughby also has a head-strong personality, abundant eagerness, along with a massive desire for romance. This combination of characteristics attracts Marianne the most -- she thinks he is “what a young man ought to be” (Austen 38). Not long after they meet, Marianne and Willoughby start to show deep affection towards each other, and “their behavior, at all times, was an illustration of their opinions,” (Austen 45), indicating that they are acting according to their own ideal relationship. In spite of Elinor’s warning, Marianne trusts him and believes it is possible to know a man and fall in love with him in such a short amount of time. Happiness does not last long, Marianne’s first tiny push towards adulthood takes place when Willoughby has to leave Barton Cottage, and the two lovers have to part. After Willoughby leaves, Marianne sits in