Humor in Sense & Sensibility, by Corrie Garrett

Humor in Sense & Sensibility, by Corrie Garrett

Hello, lovely readers! First of all, my next post will have an exclusive sneak peek from newest novel, From London with Loyalty, which will be released on September 30th! I’ll also be doing an e-book giveaway with that post so keep your eyes peeled and be ready to comment!


Now–onto humor in Sense & Sensibility!

In my continuing survey of some of the best lines in Jane Austen’s works, we are now onto Sense & Sensibility! This is one of the first JA movies I remember watching with my sister in the heyday of 90’s remakes, and it was delightful! (Also, how is Kate Winslet still so gorgeous? That was twenty-six years ago!)

Anyway, here is another book where the supporting characters are so funny and memorable! Mr. and Mrs. Palmer are often mentioned which I think is incredible considering how little page time they get. Lucy Steele is delightfully awful, Fanny Dashwood despicably greedy, and gossipy Mrs. Jennings is everybody’s busybody aunt or cousin!

Researching this book and the 1995 movie also caused me to stumble onto Emma Thompson’s “The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen’s Novel to Film.” I knew she was the producer, but I hadn’t seen all this. Probably a lot of you have read it, but I had no idea. She’s hysterical! (Seriously, where has this been all my life?)

“We’ve hired the calmest babies in the world to play the hysterical Thomas. One did finally start to cry but stopped every time Chris [Newman (assistant director)] yelled ‘Action’. … Babies smiled all afternoon. Buddhist babies. They didn’t cry once. We, however, were all in tears by 5 p.m.”

“I ask Laurie if it’s possible to get trained fish. Lindsay says this is how we know I’ve never produced a movie.”

“[Over breakfast] We discussed the ‘novelisation’ question. This is where the studio pay someone to novelise my script and sell it as Sense and Sensibility. I’ve said if this happens I will hang myself. Revolting notion. Beyond revolting.

Okay, I’ll stop fangirling about Emma Thompson for two minutes, but guess what’s going to the top of MY reading list?!?!

Alright. So, we love (or love to hate) plump, gossipy Mrs. Jennings, greedy Fanny Dashwood, scheming Lucy Steele, and many others. Here’s some of their funny moments.

“people always live for ever when there is an annuity to be paid them” — Mrs. Fanny Dashwood

” . . . for my part, I love to see children full of life and spirits; I cannot bear them if they are tame and quiet,” said Lucy.

“I confess,” replied Elinor, “that while I am at Barton Park, I never think of tame and quiet children with any abhorrence.”

Elizabeth Spriggs as Mrs. Jennings, 1995.

The humor in Sense & Sensibility also uses circumstances–particularly the weather–to highlight absurdity.

“He then departed, to make himself still more interesting, in the midst of an heavy rain.” – Willoughby

“How horrid all this is!” said [Mr. Palmer]. “Such weather makes every thing and every body disgusting. Dullness is as much produced within doors as without, by rain. It makes one detest all one’s acquaintance. What the devil does Sir John mean by not having a billiard room in his house? How few people know what comfort is! Sir John is as stupid as the weather.”

Then there is Marianne, so stubborn and so young and so dramatic!


“A woman of seven and twenty, said Marianne, after pausing a moment, can never hope to feel or inspire affection again.”

“I cannot, I cannot,’ cried Marianne; ‘leave me, leave me, if I distress you; leave me, hate me, forget me! But do not torture me so. Oh! how easy for those who have no sorrow of their own to talk of exertion!”

“They gave themselves up wholly to their sorrow, seeking increase of wretchedness in every reflection that could afford it, and resolved against ever admitting consolation in future. ”


And Elinor’s dry humor as she deals with her dramatic family and friends is the best. (As a helplessly prosaic sister of two much more dramatic and romantic sisters, I sympathize HARD CORE with Elinor.)

“‘It is not everyone,’ said Elinor, ‘who has your passion for dead leaves.'”

“Elinor agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition.”

What other quotes do you guys love from Sense and Sensibility? I’m realizing that with this book, more than the others, the movie dialogue has taken precedence in my mind, such that I don’t know which memories are movie and which are book. Clearly I need to read it again! I do love some of the movie quotes about the “mysterious Mr. F” or Margaret complaining about Marianne’s penchant for walking in the rain

Thanks for reading!


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Robin G.
Robin G.
August 10, 2021 3:35 PM

I am really looking forward to your next book. Thank you for your post. Does this mean that “From London with Loyalty” has some S&S crossover?!? Your last book ended with 2 single women wondering what was next for them. Without spoiling anything for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, I am hoping that one of them kicks her prospective suitor to the curb! Lol, good luck with the publishing!

Caryl Kane
Caryl Kane
August 9, 2021 5:16 PM

Fabulous post, Corrie!

Shana Jefferis
Shana Jefferis
August 7, 2021 6:17 PM

I absolutely agree with everything except the inclusion of Mrs. Jennings. Is she gossipy? Yes, of course! But I love Mrs. Jennings. She is ridiculous, “a man whose name begins with the letter F”. But she roots for both the Dashwood girls and she gets them to London, which is where they need to go to pursue their futures. Every single girl of modest fortune needs a Mrs. Jennings!


August 5, 2021 9:51 AM

Thanks for sharing these funny moments.

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
August 5, 2021 6:36 AM

Great post! I will have to put that book on my reading list too!

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