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The Tea Tray > Fanny vs Mary Debate

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message 1: by Lona (last edited Oct 20, 2017 05:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lona Manning | 89 comments Next week, Kyra C Kramer author of Mansfield Parsonage and I (author of) A Contrary Wind: a variation on Mansfield Park will be defending our favourite Mansfield Park characters. Is Fanny the sweet heroine of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park or is she a two-faced wimp? Is Mary Crawford a charming and misunderstood socialite or is she selfish and immoral?
The debate will be hosted over five days at some great blogs, starting on Monday October 23rd, at Just Jane 1813. http://justjane1813.com. We invite you to follow along in the comments. Are you Team Fanny or Team Mary?


QNPoohBear | 579 comments Sounds fun. I don't care for either of them so I look forward to reading the debates... someday... when I have something called free time. (what's that?)


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | 94 comments I think there's actually much to admire about both of them. And although Mary Crawford did not get her man, she would have been miserable as the wife of a clergyman, so it was for the best. In the end she lives with her sister, but they are not poor, so I'm not sure she is being punished.


message 4: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 196 comments I think Fanny is unique in Austen, because she is defined by her moral strength, which is impressive by comparison (Emma is vain and self-deluded, Catherine is susceptible to imagination, Marianne places feelings over reason, etc); also impressive because she is not in a position of strength, either socially or physically - in fact the physical weakness may be a metaphor for her social insignificance. I often wonder if she would survive her first childbirth - one hopes she has her mother's stamina.
As for Mary, she is charming but also selfish and immoral - her "Varnish and gilding may hide many stains" - says it all.
I've often thought that one reason Austen didn't go back and try to expand "Lady Susan" was because Austen preferred the charming, amoral woman as a side character - i.e. Mrs. Clay, Isabella Thorpe.


Lona Manning | 89 comments I agree about wondering about Fanny's future, J. I don't think of her as a long-lived person.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | 94 comments I also don't see Fanny as robust. However, Mansfield Park ends with Dr. Grant dying shortly after she and Edmund were anxious to move to a larger place, which implies that she had one or two kids at least. I agree, she has the same lack of energy - physical - that keeps Lady Bertram on her sofa (Fanny's intellectual curiosity is much greater). And Lady Bertram survived four children, and Mrs. Price gave birth at least ten times, probably more.


message 7: by Louise (last edited Feb 06, 2018 08:13AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Louise Culmer | 111 comments I like Mary much better than Fanny, and it has always been a source of regret to me that she had Edmund did not marry. THeir conversations are highly entertaining, full of interesting arguments, whereas Fanny's conversations with Edmund have nothing interesting about them. I am a bit sorry for Fanny because she is so put upon and timid, but I could never like her. HEr complete lack of even a glimmer of a sense of humour is the most depressing thing about her.


Maria (marisolla) | 19 comments Louise wrote: "I like Mary much better than Fanny, and it has always been a source of regret to me that she had Edmund did not marry. THeir conversations are highly entertaining, full of interesting arguments, wh..."

Louise, i fully agree with you, there really was nothing interesting between Fanny and Edmund. However, Mary - to me- was selfish and entitled. She provided some laughs but i would have been upset had she and Edmund ended up together.


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