Sense and Sensibility is the story of the two Dashwood sisters, who embody the conflict between the oppressive nature of "civilized" society and the human desire for romantic passion. Elinor is cautious and unassuming about sentimental matters, while Marianne is wild and passionate, falling hopelessly in love with Mr. Willoughby. But the lessons in life and romance see the two characters develop and change, with sense and sensibility needing to be compromised as a matter of survival.
Austen's first published work, the novel has been read as an autobiographical reflection of her relationship with her own sister Cassandra. Against the backdrop of a fragile social context, Jane Austen creates a romantic masterpiece of raw and intense quality.