Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are two sisters with opposite characters. Elinor, the eldest, is 19 and represents the part of "reason" indicated by the title. Marianne is 17 years old and instead represents the "feeling". Elinor and Marianne are the daughters of Mr. Dashwood's second marriage. Besides them there is also a younger sister, Margaret, and their older brother, John, who was born from his first marriage. When the father dies, the family estate passes, as usual, to the first son, John, so the Dashwood women find themselves in a very precarious financial situation.