15 December 2009

Mansfield Park


I finished Mansfield Park by Jane Austen last night. This book helped with a couple challenges and is on the 1001 Books List too.




The heroine in the book is Fanny Price. She was taken in when she was ten by her aunt and uncle, Lord and Lady Bertram. Another aunt, Mrs. Norris, also lives near the family and is a big influence on the Bertram children, Tom, Edmund, Maria and Julia. Fanny grows up in the other girls' shadow, always being told she's not as good as they are and will never amount to what they will become. Edmund becomes a great friend, as he confides in and protects Fanny when possible. As the second son, Edmund becomes a clergyman as an adult.


The real conflict of the story starts when Maria becomes engaged for position and money, not for love. Shortly thereafter, a new family arrives in the town, the Crawfords. A brother and sister, both single, with large inheritances, they captivate the Bertrams. Edmund falls for Mary, although her attitudes toward the clergy are terrible. Edmund has a very idealized view of Mary that her conduct doesn't change. Henry is worse. First, he persues Maria, which she encourages although she is engaged. Then he switches to Julia, then back to Maria. Finally, after Maria marries, he decides he must make Fanny fall in love with him! Through everything, Fanny remains proper and honest, never to advance her position or make a financially beneficial marriage.


I would say this is better than Northanger Abbey but not as good as Persuasion. I just wish Fanny would DO something sometimes. She is so passive. a 5 from me.

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