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4 November 2011 / getrus

Mansfield Park — Jane Austen

I absolutely love Jane Austen.  (I mean what girl doesn’t?)  After reading Mansfield Park, though, I am beginning to think Miss Austen might be overrated.  Don’t get me wrong the writing was amazing.  Jane’s prose was superb.  I just did not care too much for Fanny as a person, or for most of the other character’s for that matter.  They are too self-involved and care too much about what people think about them.

Mansfield Park is about young Miss Fanny Price going to live with rich relations because her family has too many mouths and not enough money.  Here she grows up with the Miss Bertrams and Mr. Edmund Bertram.  The misses always seem to boss her around and put her down, or put her in her place.  The majority of the story takes place when Fanny has grown up and Miss Maria Bertram is engaged to a Mr. Rushworth. (Who in my opinion is extremely naive and thinks too highly of himself.)  It is also at this time the Mr. Crawford and Miss Crawford, the relations of Dr. and Mrs. Grant who live near Mansfield, come to visit.  Then show up the eldest Bertram Tom and his friend Yates.  Here everything goes to pieces and starts a fiasco which will eventually bring ruin to the Miss Bertrams and break poor Edmund’s heart.  (I think Edmund is my favorite character, even if he can be a little thick-headed.)  To make this short, they try to stage a play which is thwarted when Sir Thomas comes home from being away for almost a twelve month.  Maria marries Rushworth, but she secretly is in love with Mr. Crawford.  The new Mr. and Mrs. Rushworth take Julia (the younger Miss Bertram) and head out.  Edmund at this point is falling in love with Miss Crawford, while Mr. Crawford has his sights set on Fanny.

Jump to the end of the story.  Mr. Crawford after failing to get Fanny to marry him ends up running away with Mrs. Rushworth.  Julia marries Mr. Yates.  Tom ends up becoming deathly ill, but blessings of blessings, becomes better.  Edmund was about ready to marry Miss Crawford, until the fiasco with Mr. Crawford, when he sees the light.  And eventually marries Fanny. (I have left out a lot, not really sure it was needed in the first place though.)

As I mentioned before I am beginning to have my doubts about Miss Austen.   I think part of this has to do with the fact that I saw this as a movie before I read it.  It painted Fanny in a completely different light.  A light which I happened to like.  Oh, well.

*** (three stars)

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3 Comments

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  1. bundleofbooks / Jan 15 2012 05:16

    I liked Mansfield Park and Fanny! Which film did you watch though? I’d be interested in seeing Fanny in a different light!

  2. getrus / Jan 15 2012 07:33

    The film version of Mansfield Park I am talking about was released in the late 1990’s starring Frances O’Connor. Fanny in this version was more likable and had a better head on her shoulders.

  3. Deborah Stuart / Jun 28 2013 13:38

    I too love Jane Austen, but when you render the storylines down to basics isn’t she a bit Mills and Boon? Girl meets boy, finds him haughty and dull etc, falls in love with naughty and exciting boy and comes a cropper, saved by haughty boy and falls madly in love with him instead.

    Which is to reduce them to the absurd, I admit. Georgette Heyer and others have been copying the formula ever since, but if the writing was not so suberbly rewarding wouldn’t we rate George Eliot ever so much higher?

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