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Mansfield Park
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Archived > Mansfield Park - Week 4 (February 2016)

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Rose Rocha dos Santos (roserocha) | 192 comments Hi, guys!

This week's reading is about:

Vol. III, Chapters V-XVII or Chapters 36-48.

I am beginning this post a little early because tomorrow will be a busy day.

Share your thoughts about this week's reading here or about the whole book. If you have general ideas or questions, here is your place.

If you want to comment about the movies based on Mansfield Park, it will be awesome too.

I miss this book already and I didn't even finish.

Brit | 65 comments I have finished the book. It is one of the less popular Jane Austen books. I presume that is because this one is not full of action and jolly and peppy characters. I watched one of the adaptations of Mansfield Park and it had changed Fanny to a more outgoing person, willing to speak up for herself, though not too offensively. Since I was quite a ways into the book, this felt wrong and not like the "real" Fanny.

This is a book I would like to re-read for the character development. During this read, I paid attention to Fanny, but not sufficiently to Sir Thomas, the Crawfords, Mrs. Betram, Edmund, and also the Bertram sisters. You could not help paying attention to the character of Mrs. Norris. She was so obnoxious and unjust to Fanny.

I want to know what made Fanny reject Henry and was it justified. Could Fanny have "reformed" Henry? Could they both have been happy? I know there are strong opinions on this, but I want to see their character more closely. You miss quite a bit if you read too fast.

I also think it would be interesting to better understand Sir Thomas. In the beginning he seems cold, but was he really?

I enjoyed the book and it was a great read. Also I have enjoyed the comments from my fellow readers. Thank you everyone!

message 3: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 246 comments The real reason Fanny rejects Henry is because she is in love with Edmund. But since she can't admit that (Edmund fluttering around Mary at that moment) she has to fall back upon nameless distaste for him. If Henry had stuck to his alleged devotion for a while I am certain he could have won her over, especially if Edmund had helped by becoming engaged to Mary (or some other girl).
There is a considerable quantity of Austen fanfic that essentially carries this through to the logical conclusion.

Michelle (mich2689) | 225 comments Just finished the book. I also wonder what would have happened if Fanny had accepted Henry. I really didn't like Henry but I wonder if Fanny could have made him a better person. I'm not quite happy about the way Fanny and Edmund ended up together. Edmund spent most of the book pining for Mary, while only a small percentage of the book was dedicated to describing his developing love interest in Fanny. I just couldn't believe that he truly loved her and she appeared to be more of a consolation prize. I wish there was more development here.

I wanted to applaud when I found out what happened to Mrs. Norris and Maria at the end. It reminded me of the Cinderella discussion from week 1. I felt like I was cheering for the evil stepmother and stepsister getting what they deserved.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the discussions. It made my reading experience so much better being able to see what everyone else's thoughts and feelings on the book were.

Terry Candee | 72 comments I agree with you that Edmunds love for Fanny should have been more developed so it could be more believable at the end. I was looking for the "like" button at the end of your message. Wish we had that feature.
Thanks to all who gave input....
On to The Grapes of Wrath......

Kimberly | 145 comments I finished! :) I too wish more detail was given regarding Edmund falling for Fanny. One reason I think there isn't more is because he finally realizes that he has always loved Fanny and was just distracted by Mary, like puppy love or infatuation, not real love.

I am of the opinion that if Fanny had agreed to marry Henry, things wouldn't have changed. Henry, and Mary, both had "faults of principle" and I don't think Fanny, or Edmund, could have changed them. Maybe for a season, they'd have changed, but ultimately they would have fallen on their old habits. Henry would have eventually cheated on Fanny, I believe. It was just the way he was. His original plan was just to make Fanny fall for him because it was a challenge. He knew she didn't like him and he wanted to mess with her by getting her to like him. This is exactly what happened with Maria... Maria ignored him at the Fraser's party and he didn't like that, so he pushed and pushed until she fell for him again. Again, it was the challenge he loved. Once she fell for him, he eventually turned on her again.

I think this book can take part in the nature vs. nurture argument. :) I noticed this time around that it had a lot to say about the raising of children. One can make many different comparisons about how the different characters were raised by the different family members... Take Maria, Julia, and Fanny. All were raised under the same "parents" yet were treated differently. Maria and Julia were pretty much spoiled, Maria more so because of her Aunt Norris. Maria "destroyed her own character" by running away with Henry, leaving behind her husband and a scandal. Then, she wouldn't come home because she thought Henry would marry her. Julia, who eloped, also caused a scandal, but at least she came back to apologize and try to make up for it. Fanny stuck to her principles despite everyone around her saying she was being stupid by not accepting Henry. Of course, part of it was her love for Edmund, but part of it was her dislike of Henry's principles. So, ultimately, Maria and Julia were similar in "nature and nurture " (sisters that were spoiled) while Fanny was different (cousin raised as servant) so they ended up acting very differently as adults. :) We could also compare Edmund and Tom (first vs. second son), and all the Price children. :)

Wow, this post got long! Not sure Austen really thought about the nature vs. nurture argument while writing this novel, but she does have a lot to say about raising children (especially in the last chapter). :) I'm sure happy to have read it again. :) It's one of my favorites. :)

message 7: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 246 comments The Price children were not really spoiled. What they were was neglected -- Mrs. Price over worked and Mr. Price off with his buddies. Who was it, who was inculcating Fanny with good principles? It wasn't anybody at Mansfield, except Edmund every now and then. It wasn't anybody back at home with the ratty Price family.

message 8: by Ian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ian | 317 comments Mod
Just finished last night. I found it a bit hard to get behind Fanny as a protagonist. Other than sympathy for the way she is treated by Mrs. Norris (and maybe the indifference of the Bertram's), I found it hard to care if things worked out for her in the end. That being said, I can honestly say I have never felt so sad for someone not being able to ride their horse.

I agree with everyone else here, Edmunds love for Fanny should have been developed more and maybe Fanny's objections to Henry could have been elaborated on as well. I think I may enjoy this book more if I read it a second time and pay closer attention to the subtleties of the interaction of the characters.

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