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message 1: by Korie (new)

Korie Brown (drbrown) | 11 comments I keep reading about how so many people have trouble with this novel, yet it's one of my favorites. Anyone want to talk about whether or not they like this one?


message 2: by Sara (new)

Sara (sarey1127) | 10 comments Drbrown,
I like this book too but I have heard some of my friends and others comment that they feel they are being preached to or that Fanny is too sanctimonious. I personally like the fact that she has morals and that she sticks to her guns even when it means she has to leave a life of luxury. The latest PBS adaptation really bugged me for that reason - they made her give in to being in the play and completely left out the fact that she was sent home. It removed a lot of the drama by making her stay at Mansfield Park event though the family was away. What do you think?


message 3: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 20 comments We just read this book in my Brit Lit class in school and I leanred a lot from the discussion. I had the read the novel before and I did not like it as well as the others but after discussing it in detail it wasnt as bad as I thought.

Austen shows a more evil character in Mrs. Norris than in any other of her "bad" characters. Fanny, extremely passive and quiet, is unlike any other of Austen's heriones. Mary Crawford is more likely the "Elizabeth" in the novel, until her true character is revealed. Although I love Austen's tendency to write strong, smart, witty and talented heriones, Fanny shows a change in pace. Also the lack of love story at the end when Edmund finally realizes his love for Fanny. It's quick, to-the-point and almost unfeeling. It's differnt than any other of her novels.

Its not my favorite, but I think that because its so differnt, it shows that Austen could write other types of characters. Maybe because its not "Stereotypically Austen" is why people do not like as much as the other novels.



message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 11, 2008 06:11PM) (new)

I liked it a lot actually. I read it a few years back, but there were so many times while I was reading that I got distracted because my mind kept associating what I read with memories of events in my own life, maybe that's just me. It was very sombre, and it made me sad the way Fanny was treated by everyone, but I guess that's part of the Cinderella-like appeal for this particular novel. I loved reading the parts when she was back home with her family and seeing how her mom and dad compared to her relatives at Mansfield Park. There are always a lot of villains in Austen's novels, but her cousins (the girls) and the woman Edmund liked (I can't remember her name) were really bad, especially coming from that time period. They seemed to have no ethics or appeal. Mrs. Norris was evil, hypocritical, and the most detestable of the sisters.


message 5: by anilia (new)

anilia | 3 comments I really liked Mansfield Park as well. I have liked all of Austin's novels but I have to say P&P first followed by MP. I think it is so wonderful and different. Fanny is just good, no question. Others treat her badly and she is kind and helpful. They ignore her and she patiently waits. She sees people how they really are but doesn't call them on it, just allows them to be.
I think I like Fanny because she is about as opposite me as you can get. I wish I had that patience! I don't know that I'd always use it the way she did, I just wish I could if I wished.


message 6: by Darcy (new)

Darcy I often get to the end of an Austen novel and feel very satisfied because I liked and know the characters well enough to imagine what their lives might be like after the novel ends their stories. But with Fanny and Edmund I just think their lives are probably terribly boring--this is a novel in which the main characters themselves have always seemed to me to be much, much less interesting than the surrounding cast of characters. If Fanny were real and I actually knew her, I'd probably admire her kindness and her moral strength, but be annoyed with her dependency issues and anxiety over trivialities. Mary Crawford and her brother are not "good" people within this novel's moral framework (although they aren't really "bad," either), but without them there wouldn't be much of a story to tell.


message 7: by Michaela (last edited Oct 09, 2008 06:07AM) (new)

Michaela Wood | 49 comments You know Austen plays out this theme alot- a "middle-class" person like Fanny teaching her monied social superiors about the importance of the Mind and the Heart - as well as the Purse.
That said, Austen heriones never choose a mate without the Purse...

I really, really liked Kathleen's comment, I too think Mary Crawford was an "Elizabeth-type". She's got the same sexual allure of Elizabeth - not classically beautiful, but attractive, witty, playful, and affectionate.
I know Austen made distinctions between wit that "instructed" or showed truth and wit that "harmed"... and Edmund is constantly wincing at some of Miss Crawford's best barbs. Austen wants to show that Ms. Crawford is concerned with social opinion at the root of her sarcasm, and not concerned with "proper womanly feeling".

Fanny, however, has Elizabeth's unfailing belief in her personal opinions which Miss Crawford lacks. Shows that Elizabeth might have had both wit and moral judgement, but one's useless without the other


message 8: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Hickman (bkread2) | 32 comments I just finished re-reading this a short while back. I can say this about MP...the more you read it the more you pick up slight nuances and the more you like it. I am alomst thinking it is almost ranking as high as P&P as my favorite Austen. It ws good to re-read before I read a couple of books written "after" the book ends. I just love sequels sometimes!


message 9: by jennifer (last edited Jan 26, 2009 11:43AM) (new)

jennifer (mascarawand) | 8 comments I just finished MP yesterday. I enjoyed it, as I enjoy all of Austen's work. I have to say that I didn't like Fanny Price one bit. She is too upstanding, or as a friend put it,"My God, who could ever live up to her standards?"
I did have a favorite character though, and it was the horrible Aunt Norris. Every evil word and deed from this woman made me smile.


message 10: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Hulst (KimberlyHulst) | 76 comments Re-reading Mansfield Park now. Been a few years since I did, and have to admit I remember more of the movie version then the original book.


message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited May 20, 2009 04:30PM) (new)

I'm reading Mansfield Park for the first time right now, and I only have gotten up to when they are at Sotherton for the first time (I don't know if they go again.) Is Fanny supposed to be sickly or injured or something? She's really bothering me so far, as far as growing weak after walking less than half a mile and such. Other than that, I totally relate to her. Forgive me, btw, I didn't read any of the comments on this page for fear of spoilers.


message 12: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Hulst (KimberlyHulst) | 76 comments Clara Rosalie wrote: "I'm reading Mansfield Park for the first time right now, and I only have gotten up to when they are at Sotherland for the first time (I don't know if they go again.) Is Fanny supposed to be sickly ..."

And the funny part is...that is where I am at in the book right now too. I am stopping and putting every other book on hold for the moment to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.


message 13: by Shayne (new)

Shayne | 49 comments From my review of Mansfield Park:

Mansfield Park seems to appear quite frequently on people's "least favourite Austen book" lists, but I enjoyed it a lot. I actually like timid, frail little Fanny, whose heart is a good deal warmer than those of the more flamboyant female characters. She's affectionate, loyal, and prepared to stick to what she feels to be right even though she suffers all the more for it because she's so powerless.

But Fanny is not a beguiling heroine to hang a whole novel on, and Austen does not attempt to. Mansfield Park is a rich and complex work, with ambiguous characters, plots within plots, and layers of symbolism that aren't what I usually associate with Jane. Her use of the play "Lovers' Vows" is sheer brilliance in what it shows us of the characters and their entwined relationships, even down to the fate of the performance itself. On a smaller scale, the game of "Speculation" does something similar.

Mary Crawford can be seen as a portrait of what Elizabeth Bennet might be if she had all the wit and liveliness we love, but without solid virtue at her core. Mrs Norris is, I think, Austen's nastiest female character (in the six novels, at least; I'm not counting Lady Susan). She makes Lady Catherine seem like a cuddly granny. Edmund is very silly for most of the book, but it's (mostly) convincing, and it's forgivable, because he gets there in the end. Henry Crawford plays the villain, but he had a very good chance of being the hero.

The editor of my edition says he considers Mansfield Park "one of the most profound novels of the nineteenth century", which is high praise indeed. I'll content myself with saying I like it very much.


message 14: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Vogtman (jessica_vogtman) | 10 comments I'm currently 3/4 of the way through Mansfield Park, and so far I really like it. I have to admit Fanny was bothering in me in the beginning; so demur and weak, she just didn't seem the usual Austen heroine to me. However, as the story progresses, I can appreciate her. She always sticks her own feelings, whether it is remaining out of the play or from marrying Henry Crawford. (Especially marrying Henry Crawford. I have to admit it was awful the way her uncle made her feel so guilty about refusing him.)

So far, so good.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I finished this books yesterday - I enjoyed it so much! It's so sad, though. (That's why I liked it.) Fanny is an awful lot like me, though.


message 16: by Karen (last edited Aug 13, 2009 04:19AM) (new)

Karen | 7 comments Darcy wrote: "I often get to the end of an Austen novel and feel very satisfied because I liked and know the characters well enough to imagine what their lives might be like after the novel ends their stories. B..."
Hi I totally agree and not to trivialise the work but wouldn't you much rather visit Mary and Henry than Edmund and Fanny? Also I don't know that Jane really believed in the union herself as she deals with it so matter of factly when she let Crawford talk on and on about Fanny's virtues! I read a critique once that compared the novel's development with S&S in so far as Austen sets out to favour one way of behaving (Fanny's morality & Elinor's sense) but actually as she wrote found herself swinging to the otherside of the argument! I enjoy this book the more I read it, it has such depth. I feel sorry the most for Edmund as I think he really lost his heart and could have been a much jollier person with more laughter in his life if Mary had a little bit more.... humility?




message 17: by Karen (last edited Aug 13, 2009 04:16AM) (new)

Karen | 7 comments When I first read this book I thought Fanny was "weak" but the more I read it the more I see that she is the novel's moral backbone. To refuse to participate in the play was to defy her friends (which is very difficult to do) and in refusing to marry Crawford she defies her patron which most people, even today, would find difficult to do. Also in refusing Crawford when she believes Edmund will marry Mary is so brave because in those days the life of a spinster was dogged with poverty and lack of freedom. I read a biography of Jane A and it mentioned her having to wait in a house she didn't want to be one whole month for her brother to come and get her as it was not permissible for a lady to travel alone! Go Fanny for not settling and living by her own rules! :)


message 18: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) Karen wrote: "When I first read this book I thought Fanny was "weak" but the more I read it the more I see that she is the novel's moral backbone. To refuse to participate in the play was to defy her friends (w..."

I agree with you, Karen. Fanny is strong and resolute. This book is one of my favorites; there's a lot of depth for the reader to plumb. Well done, Jane!


message 19: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (last edited Aug 12, 2009 02:06PM) (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
"People perceive Fanny as meek, I cannot understand this. A mild temperment yes, on the surface, but by the time you have finished reading one should recognise her quiet strength and endurance. She will not waver in her principles when she believes herself to be right, she listens to an inner voice and follows the course she sets out for herself. She defies those she loves and respects for her morals, at the risk of being unpopular and the greater risk of her future security. This novel is to me about the masks people wear to "fit in" or be loved. Fanny's brave enough to show the world her real face, whether she wins or loses by doing so."

Thanks for the great comment! I moved this comment here to the current Mansfield topic, since this fits within the discussion section, rather than at the top of the JA page. Please identify the member who made the comment if you like.

Also watch for the posting of our October discussion folder, which may offer some fresh looks at the fabulous Mansfield Park. Please join in!

Also, look for my upcoming information on some related Mansfield reading for the fall!


message 20: by Karen (last edited Aug 13, 2009 04:18AM) (new)

Karen | 7 comments Sarah wrote: ""People perceive Fanny as meek, I cannot understand this. A mild temperment yes, on the surface, but by the time you have finished reading one should recognise her quiet strength and endurance. Sh..."

Hi Sarah... thanks for the complement. I've also written here on this page too but got a bit confused between the different MP pages! Will look out for October discussion forum, looking forward to taking part :)



message 21: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidimarie) | 13 comments Sarah wrote: ""People perceive Fanny as meek, I cannot understand this. A mild temperment yes, on the surface, but by the time you have finished reading one should recognise her quiet strength and endurance. Sh..."

Couldn't have said it better myself, thanks for the insights Sarah!


message 22: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Heidi,

I had actually moved Karen's quote into this section, so the compliment goes to her on such good insights.

I look forward to our October Mansfield discussion with you folks!


message 23: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 47 comments I agree that Fanny has a mild temperament but is very strong. It takes an extremely strong person to stick to your beliefs in the face of adversity. I had trouble getting through this novel. I don't really like to admit it. The movies are more entertaining because Fanny seems to have more personality. On the cover of one the films I have it says, "the story that Jane Austen loved best" I wonder if this is really true? I have trouble believing that Fanny was as dear to Jane as the other heroines.


message 24: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Hulst (KimberlyHulst) | 76 comments Amanda wrote: "I agree that Fanny has a mild temperament but is very strong. It takes an extremely strong person to stick to your beliefs in the face of adversity. I had trouble getting through this novel. I d..."


Good to know I am not the only one who is finding this rather dry a read. I loved the O'Conner version of the film though.


message 25: by Karen (last edited Aug 25, 2009 03:44AM) (new)

Karen | 7 comments Amanda wrote: "I agree that Fanny has a mild temperament but is very strong. It takes an extremely strong person to stick to your beliefs in the face of adversity. I had trouble getting through this novel. I d..."
Hi Amanda - I read a biography of JA and it suggests that Austen may have had mixed emotions when she looked back on Fanny - the book is called Jane Austen - A Life by Claire Tomalin if you want to look it up, it's excellent and very detailed. Although here is a review from a man who, while he enjoyed Ms Tomalin's book, disagreed with her analysis of Mansfield Park. Here is his review of MP http://www.theloiterer.org/ashton/Man...
Hope you enjoy reading it!



message 26: by Abigail (new)

Abigail (AbWatkins) | 7 comments Mansfield Park is my persona; favorite of all the Jane Austen novels. Fanny Price is a independent person who will do anythign to please her family. I don't understand how people would not like this novel. Its so easy to get lost in Mansfield Park, and in my opinion.. the most exciting novel. Please tell me what you think.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Abigail wrote: "Mansfield Park is my persona; favorite of all the Jane Austen novels. Fanny Price is a independent person who will do anythign to please her family. I don't understand how people would not like thi..."

It is one of my favorites too, Abigail. I think it was one of Austen's more challenging and interesting books. I am super-impressed that it is your favorite. Good for you! Continue your reading of these great books, and maybe you'll decide that you'd like to teach, or write. As you like Jane Austen, you might like to read Elizabeth Gaskell's or George Eliot's novels too. Keep up the good work, Abigail!


message 28: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) Abigail wrote: "Mansfield Park is my persona; favorite of all the Jane Austen novels. Fanny Price is a independent person who will do anythign to please her family. I don't understand how people would not like thi..."

Hey Abigail - I know how that feels to have a favorite and not be able to understand how others could feel differently!

What is it about Mansfield Park that you enjoy so much? What makes it so exciting to you?


message 29: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
Abigail, maybe some readers expect that Mansfield Park will be very similar to Pride and Prejudice. One main difference is that Fanny Price has had a very different upbringing than any of the other Austen leading ladies. She has started out in a very poor household and then has become a ward within a wealthy one but has been held apart in ways from the other young people in the Mansfield household. She has had things to deal with that others haven't.

We also had a discussion of Mansfield last fall, so look for a folder here on our group entitled "Mansfield Park Fall 09." Scroll to the bottom of our folder list, then click on "More Discussions."


message 30: by Abigail (new)

Abigail (AbWatkins) | 7 comments Joy wrote: "Abigail wrote: "Mansfield Park is my persona; favorite of all the Jane Austen novels. Fanny Price is a independent person who will do anythign to please her family. I don't understand how people wo..."

Hello Joy - I think what makes Mansfield Park my favorite is the relationship between Edmund and Fanny. Its the classic "Love from only one side" Fanny is a strong and silent young woman who has fallen for the only friend she had at the Bertram house. To me, its a situation that alot of people my age finds fascinating.


message 31: by Sue (new)

Sue (suesnew) I like Mansfield Park tho' It's not my favorite. I do think Fanny has alot of admirable qualities that people in general overlook or think of her as sanctimonious which she isn't. I didn't like the latest pbs or whatever version. Austen wrote her women with wit, sensibility etc. I thought the newest version just portrayed her as a dimwit, blond that really didn't know why she had her moral outlook. I liked the 1999 ? version better.


message 32: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Gulley The 1999 version of Mansfield Park is NOT the Jane Austen version, it is the producer/directer modern take on it. I'm afraid MP is my least favorite story. I know Fanny comes from poverty and is taken in by the richer branch of her family, and is more a servant than a family member. But she has an opportunity to learn, and does not take it. I always seen her as indulging in her misery, sanctimonious and self-righteous are my description of her.
However, I will say, that for the time she'd be a heroine, but she had not endured like all the other women of Jane's books, even the unfinished.
Patg


message 33: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 215 comments I think that Fanny takes as much opportunity to learn as any of JA's heroines. She is not "accomplished", in the sense that she plays, sings and draws, but she is shown to have an appreciation for music and literature. When you look at Catherine Moreland, Elizabeth Bennet, Emma Woodhouse, Anne Elliott, they don't seem to have taken advantage of the educational opportunities available to them. Catherine's happiest day is when the music master is dismissed, Elizabeth doesn't draw and plays "a little", Emma is never motivated to reach a level of superiority. It's interesting that only Elinor, who draws, and Marianne, who is a musician, seem to spend time perfecting their art, yet, excepting Fanny, their circumstances are the most straitened of the group.

I think that Fanny is unique because she is defined by her virtue, rather than her flaws, as are the other Austen heroines.


message 34: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
As you members are having an interesting discussion of Mansfield Park, you might want to look back to our most recent, fuller discussion of it that took place last fall. It is listed farther down in the discussion folders but here is a link for a quick trip there:

JA Discussion of Mansfield Park 2009

Fanny Price is not necessarily the most popular Austen female, but one of the best for discussion. I doubt any of us will be in total agreement concerning her. Fanny did have more opportunity as a ward in the Bertram household, but keep in mind she had a lot of opportunity to hold Lady Bertram's knitting wool especially.


message 35: by Sue (new)

Sue (suesnew) I appreciated J's comment. I think virtue is something to strongly look at. As J described each had differing circumstances, strengths, weaknesses and qualities. I know Sarah mentioned a different link and it's nice for some of us that weren't on here almost a year ago to be informed. As was her point that we will never all be in agreement as to what we felt about her unique role in an austen novel.


message 36: by Kristen (new)

Kristen (ix10) | 3 comments Darcy wrote: "I often get to the end of an Austen novel and feel very satisfied because I liked and know the characters well enough to imagine what their lives might be like after the novel ends their stories. B..."

Totally agreed. I was annoyed by the lack of growth in the majority of the characters and disappointed in Edmund so much, I almost hoped another hero would enter in the last few pages and sweet Fanny away.


message 37: by Bridget (new)

Bridget (bawidget) I've seen a few adaptations of Mansfield Park and am actually reading it for the first time. It's taking me quire some time to get through it. I like that Fanny is a quiet observer but I wish she had a little fire in her.

I haven't gotten to the part where she has to leave the park yet so maybe my opinion will change, but this is my second least favorite so far after Northanger Abbey. Does the second half get better? Right now I'm at the point where they're all in the garden and Henry Crawford and Maria have hopped the fence leaving Fanny alone.


message 38: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments I hope it gets better as I have yet to read it too. Am currently reading NA and loving it. And that will be my next , and the last, Austen book I have to read :) hope its good :) yet to watch any adaptations. :)
Bridget, which adaptation would you recommend ?


message 39: by Brianna (new)

Brianna | 5 comments I actually love both "Mansfield Park", and "Northanger Abbey". I think they're good stories, but I also think that I am in the minority. I enjoyed the slight comedicness of NA, and I quite liked Fanny Price. She's not the kind of heroine I usually like, but I found her a gentle sort of character.


message 40: by Bridget (new)

Bridget (bawidget) Soph wrote: "I hope it gets better as I have yet to read it too. Am currently reading NA and loving it. And that will be my next , and the last, Austen book I have to read :) hope its good :) yet to watch any a..."

Hi Soph. I really like the '99 version with Frances O'Connor as Fannie Price. It did give me a false impression of how Fanny was written though. In the movie she is much more of a spitfire. I would watch it after you read the book. I liked Fannie more in the film than the book.

I also saw an older mini series(70s/80s??) that wasn't so great so I would steer clear. I haven't heard anything about the recent miniseries but if I check it out I will let you know!


message 41: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments I agree about NA Brianna - love the mocking of gothic novels and Catherine's innocence and Henry's humour :)


message 42: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Obviously can't say about MP yet Brianna

And Bridget thanks :) trouble with that is that JLM is in it and he is already my Knightley (from latest Emma) and can you tell me why it is


message 43: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Sorry. Didn't Finish.

Can you tell me why it is a 15? Well in England rated a 15 - Austen! 15!
I have the latest one and older series to watch. Will start with latest. If you don't mind Bridget could you let me know how the rest of the book goes and what you thought :) (I will still read it whatever you say ;D)


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