AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics


This thesis aims to discuss characterization of Marianne and Elinor as portrayed in Jane Austen s Sense and Sensibility and Ang Lee s film adaptation of this novel. I concentrate on the use of direct and indirect characterization in the novel and the film. Comparing and contrasting characterization as used by Austen and by Lee, I discuss the impact which the transformation from text to screen has on the presentation of the two main characters. Since a visual medium cannot portray the characters in the same way as a written work, it is important to recognize the unique characteristics of each medium. Discussing the novel, I question the use of characterization through differentiation, as I find the use of adjectives to be unstable in that they are based on contrasts rather than individual judgement. The differentiation through categorization extends to the debate on politics and aesthetics, and the contemporary reader would interpret Marianne s sensibility and Elinor s sense as representative of two different ideologies. The contrast is further enhanced through their respective men, who contribute to a change in their character qualities. I argue that the contrast between sense and sensibility as connected to the main characters is not that easily detected in the film adaptation. Due to the lack of a narrator, the viewer misses out of much of Austen s critique of her contemporary society and also the underlying ironic comments. Lee has chosen to alter some scenes, letting more of Elinor s feelings be shown to the viewers. This is further enhanced through Marianne s piano-playing, following the romantic scenes. I argue that the alteration of Elinor s personal qualites is also connected to the alteration of age, and hence the age difference between the two sisters. All in all, I argue that the transformation from Austen s novel to Lee s film has made an impact on the characterization of the main characters, sacrificing some of Austen s ironic voice to make room for sensibility and romance.