Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I watched the new BBC version of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility last night.

For those who haven't read it and/or seen it, the story encompasses the paths of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as they go from being a rich and well-respected family, to a poor one, dependent upon the charity of their relations.

Elinor, the eldest daughter, is very reserved and keeps her feelings to herself. She is mature and responsible and, more often than not, has to take care of her younger sisters and even her mother.

Marianne, the middle daughter, is the exact opposite of Marianne. A true romantic, she loves poetry and music, and is not afraid to speak her mind.

While the story was absolutely phenomenal, what stood out to me was the unfailing love the two elder sisters had for each other. Elinor and Marianne, though as different as possible, each cared deeply for the other, and would do almost anything for their happiness.

Each showed an undying devotion to the other, and would defend them even if others spurned them for it. One of my favorite sisterly scenes is when (CAUTION: CONTAINS SPOILERS) Willoughby comes back after breaking Marianne's heart and begs for Elinor's forgiveness. At this time, Marianne was still at bed, recovering from a fever. Elinor quickly snuffs him out, and sends him away, saying:

"You had my sister's love, and now you have lost it forever. And I am glad of it. She can never be more lost to you than she is now. You are not welcome here."

I almost started cheering. Yes! Go Elinor! You tell him! That is what sisters do for each other.

And at another point, when Marianne is happily marrying another suitor, but Elinor's is lost to hers forever, she says to Elinor as she relays the news first to her sister:

"Don't be angry with me."
"Why should I be angry with you?"
"Because I thought myself so much in love with Willoughby, because I have given you so much grief and trouble, because I shall be happy when you are unhappy."
"I am very happy for you."

As I watched this movie, I couldn't help wishing that I could have that relationship too, that unbreakable bond between sisters. I wondered if I would ever be able to attain that with Evan. Because she has Down syndrome, she will never have the mental capacity or understanding that I do.

But, looking back at my thoughts, I was ashamed of them. That was the world speaking into me. Who says that I can't share all of my secret dreams and desires with my sister? Who cares that she has Down syndrome, and that she doesn't have the same mental capacity as me? She has a greater capacity that I do for unconditional love, and steadfast loyalty. I couldn't believe myself. I was doubting the love and understanding that Evan could relay to me, while I should've been thinking of what I could give to her.

I hope that one day, I will have that sisterly bond with Evan. I hope that one day I'll be as accepting and loving as she is. Her "disability" will only increase her sisterly affection - she will love without holding back, without caring what anyone else thinks, without caring if I've done something wrong. She'll comfort me whether I'm crying over a failed permit test, or I'm devastated over a lost love. Evan will be the sister of all sisters, and I only hope that I can be as good for her as she will be for me.

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