WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT?
Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny’s uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry’s attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary’s dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords’ influence and finds herself more isolated than ever. A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Park is one of Jane Austen’s most profound works.
WHAT DID I THINK OF THE BOOK?
I thought it seemed like most of the characters are pretty… um, well… shallow. Like if Lydia Bennet from P&P crossed over to MP, she would feel right at home (and I really didn’t like Lydia). Mr. Crawford and Mrs. Norris seemed the most obnoxious of the bunch.
Everyone is all about wealth, money, properties, blah blah. I know that other Austen novels have this as well, as it is quite a big deal at the time. But it seems more noticeable here, it seems to stick out. The story sort of focused on it more, perhaps? I suppose another factor is also that I felt a bit uncomfortable that Fanny ended up with a cousin. Well, I do know and understand that this was acceptable back then, considering the time and setting and all that. But still.
It was also mentioned around the first chapter, I think, that the Bertrams were a bit apprehensive about taking in Fanny because they were worried she would fall in love with a cousin or something, probably worried more because of her status in society than them being cousins, and well, they ended up together in the end. My first thought when I finished reading the book was “well, the first few pages and last few pages seems contradictory!”
Edmund has his flaws, but generally seems like a nice guy. He’s always been nice to Fanny. But something just seems to be missing or off, personality-wise. Same with Fanny, she’s a bit of a pushover too. However, she is kind and does what she thinks is right, even if others scold her for it, and I commend her for that. I don’t like how she was treated by most of the Bertram family and Mrs. Norris, they seemed indifferent. No wonder Fanny had self-esteem issues.
- Every moment had its pleasures and its hope.
- “There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better.”
- A fondness for reading, properly directed, must be an education in itself.
- “I was so anxious to do what is right that I forgot to do what is right.” – Fanny Price
- “I was quiet, but I was not blind.” – Fanny Price
- “Those who have not more must be satisfied with what they have.” – Mrs. Rushworth
TO WRAP IT UP…
This is the fifth Austen book I’ve read over the years. I loved Pride and Prejudice, and I enjoyed reading Emma. Northanger Abbey was okay. I just recently finished Persuasion, and I liked that one much better. Honestly, I didn’t quite like Mansfield Park very much. I managed to finish it though, probably because I felt I should see it through. I don’t know why I didn’t like it… maybe because the story just wasn’t as interesting to me as I thought it would be. I also found it a bit tedious to read. I suspected as much as it looked thicker in my bookshelf than the rest of the Austen novels. I’m also very glad I wasn’t living in that timeline. Those Bertrams and their friends would probably annoy me to bits.
It was a good enough story, it just wasn’t my cup of tea, I guess. If you’re an Austen fan, I do suggest reading it as well. You might enjoy it even if I didn’t.