“Oh Elinor,” she cried, “you have made me hate myself for ever. How barbarous have I been to you! — you, who have been my only comfort, who have borne with me in all my misery, who have seemed to be only suffering for me! — Is this my gratitude? Is this the only return I can make you? Because your merit cries out upon myself, I have been trying to do it away.”
Sisters, what we do for each other. Jane Austen has given us an excellent example of sisterly devotion and sacrifice. Elinor has borne the secret of her suitor Edward’s clandestine engagement to Lucy Steele to spare a younger sister the pain and disappointment of the loss to her and her family. Why? What of her pain? What of her feelings?
Elinor Dashwood is a very complicated young lady. Her choices are sometimes puzzling. In this situation, I question her loyalties. Does her promise to Lucy Steele outweigh her fidelity to her family? Is withholding the news of Edward’s secret engagement something that should be borne for the sake of others, or is it an unnecessary burden?