Frances "Fanny" Dashwood (née Ferrars) is the wife of John Dashwood. She is the only sister of Edward and Robert Ferrars. She is the sister-in-law of Elinor Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood, and Margaret Dashwood. She has one son, Harry Dashwood, whom she spoils. Her mother, Mrs. Ferrars is still living, although her father is not.


Early LifeEdit

Fanny was born to the wealthy Ferrars family, which was of more wealth than good breeding, hence her rudeness to anyone she considers below her. She married John Dashwood, the eldest child and heir of Henry Dashwood and his first wife[1].

Death of Henry DashwoodEdit

The moment Henry Dashwood's funeral was over, Fanny descended onto Norland Park, without sending her mother-in-law, Mrs. Dashwood, any sort of note. This angered and disgusted Mrs. Dashwood[1]. Immediately, Fanny designated herself as the mistress of Norland, degrading her husband's family to mere visitors[2].

When she heard that her husband intended to take his father's wishes to heart and give his stepmother and half sisters £3,000, Fanny did not approve, as she possessed avarice enough to rival her husband's. She disguised this as concern for her son, which she was, of course, but mostly it was for herself.

"Mrs. John Dashwood did not at all approve of what her husband intended to do for his sisters. To take three thousand pounds from the fortune of their dear little boy, would be impoverishing him to the most dreadful degree. She begged him to think again on the subject. How could he answer it to himself to rob his child, and his only child too, of so large a sum? And what possible claim could the Miss Dashwoods, who were related to him only by half blood, which she considered as no relationship at all, have on his generosity to so large an amount? It was very well known that no affection was ever supposed to exist between the children of any man by different marriages; and why was he to ruin himself, and their poor little Harry, by giving away all his money to his half sisters?""
—Sense and Sensibility[2]

She convinced him that his father didn't mean that his son should give them monetary gifts instead of occasional good will. John readily agreed with her, but allowed his family to live at Norland until they found a suitable home[2]. Fanny invited her brother, Edward Ferrars, to stay at Norland[3], and he formed an attachment with Elinor, the eldest Miss Dashwood. Fanny and John were surprised when informed that Mrs. Dashwood had been offered Barton Cottage, on an estate owned by Sir John Middleton, Mrs. Dashwood's relative[4].

She couldn't help be a little bit of a gloat when she watched the women's small number of packages of furniture leave Norland, because their income would be so much less than hers[4].

Personality and traitsEdit

Fanny is vain, selfish, and snobby. When her husband means to help his stepmother and half-sisters, she convinces him to let them live in poverty, using manipulation. She went out of her way to separate Edward from Elinor, knowing that they shared mutual affection.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 1
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Chapter 2 (pp. 27—37; Project Gutensberg, 2010; Online Ebook)
  3. Chapter 3
  4. 4.0 4.1 Chapter 5
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