POST: 'Sense & Sensibility' - when reputation is everything

What's it about?

Before Mr. Dashwood died, he had to make the decision of who would be inheriting his fortune. Once he had died he, unsurprisingly, leaves it all to his first wife’s son. This leaves his second wife and her three daughters with no home, no one to take care of them, and no money. It might sound incredibly sad but don’t be fooled. 

What'd I experience?

I had been incredibly excited about watching this play. As the huge dweeb I am, I am absolutely enamored by historical dramas, preferably romance based. There’s something sort of enchanting with the way men and women behaved way back in the day.

During this era reputation was everything. The reason why men and women acted the way they did was because they couldn’t bear the notion of being viewed in a negative light.

Sense & Sensibility has always begged the question, “when reputation is everything, how do you follow your heart?” I’m sad to say this but I think about this question at least once a week.

As a first generation Bengali American I have a lot of pressure on my shoulders. I must attend college, get a degree or two, find a good paying job, find a nice Bengali-Muslim man, get married, and have babies. To me, I must do these things because it will make my parents happy. They have worked so hard to raise my two brothers and me in America, it is the least I can do.

And to be completely honestly, I am capable of achieving all of the things on that list except finding and marrying a Bengali-Muslim man.

I’m sure I’m not the only one but I don’t like the idea of my love life being already laid in front of me. I don’t want to be set up with the child of a friend of a friend my mom’s. And I sure as hell don’t want to be arranged as well, which is a common phenomenon in my culture.

 I want to have full control of who I want to spend my life with. But it’s scary to think, what if I meet someone I’m crazy about except “uh oh” he’s not what my parent’s ideal type?

My mother is terrified of what that would do to her reputation in the family. She has 6 brothers and 7 sisters (crazy I know). Each of her siblings have their own kids who have married professional, mature, and successful men and women who all happen to be Bengali-Muslim. My mother can’t live with the idea that she raised a problem child.

When so much of my family’s reputation is on the line what am I to do? I hope with all my heart I do meet a man my mother and father would be happy with but god forbid I don’t and I find someone of any other race or religion. I have to make the impossible decision of picking either my family or this man.

In the play, the main character ultimately does follow her heart and after quite a lot of misadventures she and her family are happy. Except, life isn’t laid out so wonderfully. If I do follow my heart I might not be given the story book ending.

At this rate, I might just not marry anyone at all. I mean, can you blame me?


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