Friday, September 28, 2007

Opinion About Mansfield Park

This was in reply to a thread but I thought I'd post it here. Some people get turned off of Mansfield Park because it doesn't suit everyone, But maybe a few positive accounts will encourage more people to give it a try. I also like to think of Jane Austen at this time in her life being more willing to experiment with different combinations of character traits. For example, Mary Crawford at first appearance is a lot like Elizabeth Bennett. They are both quick witted, lively, and fun loving. But on further study they are quite different. Elizabeth has sense of right and wrong and an appreciation for goodness, while Mary's underlying values are seriously flawed and corrupt. Yet look how they each attracted the hero of the novel with their outward charm. Mr. Darcy was almost immediately attracted to Elizabeth, but he didn't take it seriously until he had learned her true worth and goodness. Edmund was almost as instantly attracted to Mary, but eventually, and only through many painful revelations, was he able to see past the veneer to her dark character. Here are my earlier posted comments: Mansfield Park is my Favorite Jane Austen Novel, and I read all of them often.I adore Fanny Price. Maybe because she is the one I identify with the most, though I could never be as good as she is. I feel so strongly for her. I beleive Fanny is extremely powerful. It is only her health and constitution that is weak. She is submissive not because of weakness, but out of self control and her extreme belief in doing what is right at all costs. The only time she wavers is when it is not quite clear exactly what is the morally correct thing to do. Furthermore, though Edmund gets the credit for shaping Fanny's mind, I believe it is her pure goodness that has influenced Edmund as he matured, raising him above the petty selfishness of his siblings. I've written an essay on this and I should find it and post it.And about the irony, it is abundant in this novel. Almost every cruel remark Mrs. Norris makes is laced with irony for the reader. And there's a wonderful scene where Tom neglects Fanny at a dance until Mrs. Norris asks him to join a card table, and he quickly jumps up and grabs Fanny's hand, saying they were just about to dance. Then he comments on Mrs, Norris selfishly trying to use him to form the card table without consulting his feelings, and how lucky it was of him to think of Dancing with Fanny at that moment.There is so much symbolism in Mansfield Park, the garden gate scene, the necklace and chain, one of my particular favorites is the idea of improving land in general and how each man's thoughts on land improvement reflect his actions in the marital arena, complete with poor Mr. Rushworth's not knowing what to do with his fabulous new property and Henry Crawford stepping in to make a mark on it himself.My true heart's wish is for someone to make an accurate adaptation of this lovely novel.

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