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The major theme of the novel is 'sense prevailing over sensibility.' The characters in the novel who achieve the object of their desire are those who possess good sense, while those who become disillusioned with life are easily carried away by their emotions.
One significant theme is the importance of patience. This virtue is embodied in both Elinor and Colonel Brandon. She is discreet enough to observe things and only later to pass her judgment upon them. Colonel Brandon is genuinely in love Marianne, but unlike Willoughby, he does not make reckless and passionate proclamations of his feelings. Good judgment is a result of the exercise of patience.
Another minor theme worth noting is the importance of money in this society: it is generally accepted by all in the world of the novel that before settling down to married life, one must ensure that a sufficient source of income has been secured.
The prevailing mood of the novel is somber, although humorous characters and episodes do lighten the atmosphere. Both the protagonists, Elinor and Marianne, face disappointments and depression when they are unfairly rejected by the men they love, while undeserving women, like Fanny and Lucy, settle down to lives of ease and comfort. However, the novel ends on a happy note. Elinor is united with Edward and settles down to a happy life, while Marianne accepts Colonel Brandon's proposal and becomes the mistress of Delaford mansion.