Guard Our Hearts

In Sense and Sensibility, Elinor and Marianne are quite different in their outlook on life, their opinions, and their emotional makeup. Where Elinor is sensible and level-headed, Marianne is romantic, full of feeling, and sees the world in full color. However, though they are unalike in many ways, Elinor and Marianne know one another uniquely and intimately.

When Willoughby bursts onto the scene, full of “youth, beauty, and elegance,” interested in her sister, Elinor is immediately on guard. She knows the “infirmity of [Marianne’s] Nature,” her weaknesses, and her temptations. Elinor is wary of Marianne’s quick attachment to Willoughby as he steadily becomes her “most exquisite enjoyment.” Elinor watches, she waits, she cautions. And when everything eventually falls apart, she consoles and comforts.

Jane prayed

Thou knowest the infirmity of our Nature, & the temptations which surround us. Be thou merciful, Oh Heavenly Father! to Creatures so formed & situated.

What tempts you the most?


Dodge, Rachel. Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Baker Publishing Group.

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Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge is a Jane Austen scholar and the author of Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. She teaches college writing and literature classes and gives talks at local book clubs, libraries, and literary groups. Rachel is a regular contributor to Jane Austen’s World blog, Write That Book, Regency World Magazine, and the award-winning Inspire Writers blog. She was the keynote speaker at the Sacramento Public Library’s “How Austentatious!” series, Notable Books series, and 2014 Jane Austen Birthday Tea. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Southern California (B.A. in English and public relations) and California State University, Sacramento (M.A. in English literature). She wrote her Master’s Thesis on etiquette in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and won the 2005 Dominic J. Bazzanella Literary Award in non-fiction for “Pictures of (Im)perfection: Jane Austen’s ‘Delightful’ Elizabeth Bennet.” She is an active member of Inspire Writers, JASNA, JASNA Greater Sacramento, the L.M. Montgomery Institute, Write that Book, Literary Life, and several Downton Abbey and Jane Austen fan clubs.