Mansfield Park, first published in 1814, is one of Jane Austen’s six completed novels. It presents a more complex and thoughtful exploration of morality, society, and character than some of her earlier works, incorporating deeper psychological insight into the narrative.
version: CLASSIC, EBOOK, AUDIOBOOK
number of pages: 422
literary movement: ROMANTICISM
literary genre: ROMANCE
1st edition: 1814
years of writing: 1812 - 1813
The novel’s protagonist is Fanny Price, a young girl from a large, impoverished family in Portsmouth. At age ten, she’s sent to live with her affluent relatives, the Bertrams, at Mansfield Park, due to her family’s financial difficulties. The Bertrams are a wealthy family comprised of Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram, and their four children: Tom, Edmund, Maria, and Julia. Despite living in the same household, Fanny is always made to feel her lower social status and is often treated poorly, particularly by her Aunt Norris.
Fanny, who is shy, morally upright, and of delicate constitution, grows up in the Bertram household with Edmund as her only ally, who she eventually falls in love with. When the lively and sophisticated Crawford siblings, Henry and Mary, arrive from London and become embroiled in the Bertram family’s lives, the peaceful Mansfield Park is thrown into disarray. Henry Crawford flirts with both Maria and Julia, while Mary Crawford charms Edmund, much to Fanny’s dismay.
Amid the ensuing drama, Fanny remains a model of virtue and propriety. When Sir Thomas is away, a plan to put on a play, Lover’s Vows, leads to an upheaval of the home’s decorum, with the flirtations and unsuitable pairings causing Fanny great distress. The novel is also marked by a significant event when Henry Crawford, unexpectedly, proposes to Fanny. Despite the encouragement from her family and the allure of elevated social status, Fanny declines his proposal, standing by her moral convictions.
The narrative takes a turn when Maria Bertram, having married the wealthy but dull Mr. Rushworth, elopes with Henry Crawford, causing a scandal. Meanwhile, Tom falls gravely ill, and Edmund’s relationship with Mary Crawford ends when her reaction to the scandal shows a lack of moral depth.
Mansfield Park concludes with a range of reconciliations. Fanny, ever the pillar of virtue, is finally acknowledged for her worth and marries Edmund, who has come to appreciate her quiet strength and moral integrity.
Fanny Price is the protagonist of the novel. She is a poor girl who is taken in by her wealthy aunt and uncle, the Bertrams. Fanny is initially unhappy at Mansfield Park, as she feels out of place among her wealthy relatives. However, she slowly comes to love the estate and its inhabitants, and she eventually finds a place for herself in the family. Fanny is kind, intelligent, and moral. She is also very shy, and she often doubts her own worth. However, she is also strong-willed and determined, and she eventually achieves her happiness.
Edmund Bertram is Fanny’s cousin. He is the second son of Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram. Edmund is kind, intelligent, and moral. He is also a clergyman, which Fanny greatly admires. Edmund is initially attracted to Mary Crawford, but he eventually realizes that they are not compatible. He eventually falls in love with Fanny, and they marry at the end of the novel.
Henry Crawford is a wealthy and charming man who comes to Mansfield Park as a guest of the Bertrams. Henry is a womanizer, and he is initially attracted to Maria Bertram. However, he eventually falls in love with Fanny. Henry is a complex character, and he is both admirable and flawed. He is intelligent, witty, and charming, but he is also selfish and manipulative.
Mary Crawford is Henry’s sister. She is also a wealthy and charming woman. Mary is initially attracted to Edmund, but she eventually realizes that she does not want to marry a clergyman. Mary is a strong-willed and independent woman, and she is not afraid to speak her mind. She is also intelligent and witty, but she can also be selfish and manipulative.
Sir Thomas Bertram
Sir Thomas Bertram is Fanny’s uncle. He is the owner of Mansfield Park, and he is a wealthy and powerful man. Sir Thomas is a kind and generous man, but he can also be stern and demanding. He is a good father to his children, but he is often too busy with his work to pay them much attention.
Lady Bertram is Fanny’s aunt. She is the wife of Sir Thomas Bertram, and she is the mother of four children. Lady Bertram is a kind and gentle woman, but she is also very lazy and indifferent. She is often oblivious to the goings-on around her, and she is content to let others take care of her.
TOP 10 POINTS
- Fanny Price is a poor girl who is taken in by her wealthy aunt and uncle, the Bertrams. She is the daughter of a naval officer who has fallen on hard times, and she is the youngest of ten children. Fanny is initially unhappy at Mansfield Park, as she feels out of place among her wealthy relatives. However, she slowly comes to love the estate and its inhabitants, and she eventually finds a place for herself in the family.
- Fanny’s cousins, Maria and Julia, are shallow and vain. They are more interested in fashion and social status than they are in anything else. Fanny finds them to be quite tiresome, but she is forced to put up with them because they are her cousins.
- Henry and Mary Crawford are two new arrivals at Mansfield Park. They are charming and attractive, and they quickly become popular with the Bertrams. However, they are also morally questionable. Henry is a womanizer, and Mary is selfish and manipulative.
- Henry Crawford flirts with Maria, who is engaged to marry the wealthy but boring Mr. Rushworth. Maria is initially flattered by Henry’s attentions, but she eventually falls in love with him. She leaves Mr. Rushworth and runs away with Henry, which causes a scandal in the community.
- Mary Crawford is attracted to Edmund, but she does not want to marry a clergyman. She believes that clergymen are boring and unimportant, and she does not want to give up her social status. Edmund is initially attracted to Mary, but he eventually realizes that they are not compatible.
- Fanny is secretly in love with Edmund, but she is too shy to admit it. She knows that Edmund would never marry her because she is poor, so she keeps her feelings to herself.
- Sir Thomas, Fanny’s uncle, leaves Mansfield Park to go to Antigua. In his absence, the Crawfords seduce Maria and Julia away from their respective fiancés.
- Fanny eventually marries Edmund, and they live happily ever after. Fanny’s marriage to Edmund is a triumph of virtue over vice. She has been patient and kind, and she has eventually won the man she loves.
AT THE END
The novel is a critique of social class, morality, and the status of women, pushing the reader to question societal norms and the concept of a ‘heroine’. Fanny Price, though not as charismatic as some of Austen’s other heroines, is a beacon of moral steadfastness in a world fraught with selfishness and vanity. The portrayal of a heroine who is virtuous and passive rather than vivacious and assertive was a departure for Austen and has led to much discussion and analysis. Overall, Mansfield Park is a profound exploration of the interplay between character, morality, and society.
There have been several movie adaptations of Mansfield Park, including a 1983 film directed by Patricia Rozema and a 2007 film directed by Phyllida Lloyd.
- The 1983 film was directed by Patricia Rozema and stars Sylvestra Le Touzel as Fanny Price and Nicholas Farrell as Edmund Bertram. The film is set in the early 19th century and is notable for its dark and moody atmosphere. It also features a more feminist interpretation of the novel, with Fanny as a more active and independent protagonist.
- The 2007 film was directed by Phyllida Lloyd and stars Frances O’Connor as Fanny Price and Jonny Lee Miller as Edmund Bertram. The film is set in the late 18th century and is more faithful to the novel’s original setting and characters. It also features a more traditional interpretation of the novel, with Fanny as a more passive and compliant protagonist.
AT THE END
In conclusion, Pride and Prejudice is a timeless and enchanting novel that explores the complexities of love, marriage, and societal expectations in early 19th-century England. With its intricate plot, well-drawn characters, and exploration of enduring themes, the novel remains a beloved classic that continues to captivate and inspire readers more than two centuries after its publication.
Jane Austen was a prolific and influential English novelist, who is best known for her six major novels. These novels are widely celebrated for their wit, social observation, and exploration of the human experience. Born in the small village of Steventon, Hampshire, Austen’s early life shaped her writing, providing a rich source of inspiration for her novels.