Summary and Analysis Chapters 16-17



Marianne continued to grieve. No letter came from Willoughby and she did not seem to expect one. "Why do you not ask Marianne at once whether she is or is not engaged to Willoughby?" Elinor asked her mother. But Mrs. Dashwood's "romantic delicacy" forbade such a thing.

One morning when the three sisters were out walking, a man appeared on horseback. Marianne started running toward him, certain it was Willoughby. It was, however, Edward Ferrars. He "was welcomed by them all with great cordiality." Mrs. Dashwood "was surprised only for a moment at seeing him; for his coming to Barton was, in her opinion, of all things the most natural." Edward was overcome by the warmth of her welcome, but throughout his visit, he appeared depressed. When Marianne told him he was reserved, Edward was startled and upset. He seemed to take the remark much more seriously than it was meant.


Marianne's romantic sensibility demands that she suffer acutely because of Willoughby's departure. All the typical symptoms of romantic melancholy are hers — sleepless nights, listless days, loss of appetite, headaches, and periods of weeping and despair. She is, however, unconcerned about the misery she inflicts on her family.

Edward acts rather strangely. He seems depressed and grave, giving Elinor cause for concern.

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