Friday, April 30, 2021

Themes in the novel Mansfield Park

Themes in the novel Mansfield Park ,  The novel Mansfield Park considered the author's most ambitious novel, was published anonymously, as were all of Jane Austen's novels, in 1814. While Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice are considered, as one critic remarks "the gay offsprings of her youth," Mansfield Park is a far more mature, darker novel, written by a woman who had by then experienced more of the world. As Adolphus Alfred Jack remarked in his 1897 Essay on the Novel, Mansfield Park is "more finished," "more subtle," and "quieter than her earlier works." As Austen grew older, he continues, "her powers grew and deepened...while Pride and Prejudice is gay, Mansfield Park is sombre." Themes in the novel Mansfield Park  Indeed, it is of interest to note that it is Mary Crawford - witty, active, and unable to stand still - who is cast in the mold of other Austen heroines such as the effervescent Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and the silly, meddling Emma Woodhouse in Emma, while it is the weak, mild-mannered, motionless, often ill Fanny Price who remains the novel's central character...and a highly likeable one at that. Unlike the other heroines, who have a myriad of lessons to learn, Fanny possesses the innate sensibility expected of a Regency lady of this era.

 Themes in the novel Mansfield Park

These traditional values were of particular importance when the novel was written, in the aftermath of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, and amid the tumultuous beginnings of industrialism, which drained the farm workers from the countryside and enticed them toward the overcrowded city of London. Themes in the novel Mansfield Park  In this regard, the novel can be viewed as an expression of a political agenda: traditional values are represented by the bucolic country estate, Mansfield Park, while the young characters, Fanny Price withstanding, are seduced by the invading evil influences that are represented by the bustling city of London. After all, Fanny Price, unlike most of Austen's other heroines, never does go to London, and all of the characters who do travel to the city are "infected" by a loosening of their better judgments and morals. As literary critic Amanda Claybaugh insists on her introduction to the novel, "Mansfield Park stands as Austen's most profound treatment of politics, her richest response to the wars and revolutions of the times." Simply put, Austen was an artist who utilized her art to effect social change.


According to William Dean Howells in his 1895 My Literary Passions, "Austen is the most artistic of the British novelists." In his estimation, "she was the first and last British novelist to treat material with entire truthfulness," and it remains of some interest to note how critics and scholars have viewed the novel. Avrom Fleishman's study of the novel, for example, suggests that "the structure of that part of the plot which has to do with Sir Thomas Bertram's choice of a new daughter" resembles King Lear's attempt to choose "one daughter among three." And indeed, near the end, Fanny seems much like Sir Bertram's third daughter, "the daughter that he wanted." Furthermore, Sir Thomas is the very picture of the traditional patriarch who treats Fanny like a daughter, especially when he punishes her by sending her to Portsmouth to make her come to her senses and accept Henry's proposal of marriage. Another critic, David Kaufmann, insists that Austen cleverly drew a parallel between the novel's original three sisters: Lady Bertram, who married exceptionally well and moved up socially, Mrs. Norris, who married a pastor and remained on her original rung of the social ladder, and Mrs. Price, who married a lowly, drunken sailor. To achieve symmetry, the novel needed three daughters: Maria, who more or less remains on the same social level until she disgraces herself and her entire family by (despite her marriage to Mr. Rushworth) running away with Henry Crawford, Julia, who marries down by eloping with the stage manager and friend of her brother Tom, Mr. Yates, and Fanny, the pseudo-daughter who marries up when she becomes the wife of Edmund Bertram. Fanny, at this point, becomes a fully realized family member, standing next in line to be lady of the country estate.

Social Mobility

Scholars suggest that social mobility is that the primary theme altogether of Austen's novels; this concept seems especially apparent in Mansfield Park. The opening chapter, during which the three Ward sisters marry men of very different social categories (high, middle and low), fixes this construct because the novel's primary theme. Maria Ward moves above her designated social status by marrying the baronet, Sir Thomas Bertram of Mansfield Park; the center sister, Mrs. Norris, marries at a more socially appropriate (middle) station; the youngest sister marries a standard sailor, Mr. Price, who will in time become an unemployed drunkard. Austen utilizes this triad for instance that prime morals don't necessarily accompany high social standing, which people born into lower social ranks should tend the chance to maneuver up through their moral behavior.


Lady Bertram has four children with the baronet, but her oldest son, Tom Bertram, moves to London, where he finds himself corrupted by city life. A gambler, he drinks to excess and causes his father such a lot financial hardship that he's forced to travel to Antigua to oversee his financial investments within the island's plantations. Lady Bertram's daughters are spoiled, selfish, and act immorally, the married Maria going thus far on run away with Henry Crawford. Her youngest son Edmund, although a minister, is so distracted by his concupiscence for Mary Crawford that he forgets his upbringing and his own moral imperative of impeccable social behavior. Thankfully, Mrs. Norris has no children, but she is implicated within the fate of the Bertram children because she had great influence over them once they were young.

It is Fanny Price, one among the nine children fathered by the drunken sailor, who proves to be the character within the novel with the very best moral standards. From early within the novel, Fanny is portrayed as shy, retiring, and helpful to all or any . Patient to a fault, she never complains, has the power to ascertain through people, and possesses an innate capability to work out right from wrong. In time, everyone involves admire her. nobody objects to her marrying her social superior, Henry Crawford, but Fanny refuses although she knows her life would be far easier if she agreed. keep with Austen's theme of social mobility for the deserving, it's hardly surprising that Fanny finishes up the daughter-in-law of a baronet who could, in time, even come to exchange Lady Bertram because the mistress of Mansfield Park.


The Evils of Primogeniture

The British aristocratic social organization embraces the concept of primogeniture, the proper of the first-born child (usually the eldest son) to inherit the parents' entire estate. In her novels, Austen examines and criticizes this aristocratic class system. Since the privileged oldest son inherited the whole estate under primogeniture, the younger sons were forced to "do something" for themselves, and typically enlisted within the army or the navy, or sought careers within the law or the clergy. Girls were viewed as financial assets once they "married to advantage," and as heiresses only that they had no brothers. because the oldest Bertram, the profligate Tom Bertram, who drinks and gambles an excessive amount of in London, will become subsequent Sir Thomas, while his younger brother Edmund is slated for the clergy. nobody ever considers the likelihood that Tom won't inherit the estate, despite the very fact that his unconscionable behavior causes the family great financial hardship and necessitates his father's trip to Antigua to oversee his financial investments within the Island's plantations. Clearly, Edmund would make a far better baronet and lord of the manor, but there's nothing he can do but wish for his brother's death - something the upright Edmund would never dream of doing, although the highly doubtful Mary Crawford wishes this afterward within the novel. Daughters are expected to marry within (or, ideally, above) their own social strata, and Maria Bertram scores high social points during this regard for marrying the insipid and boring Mr. Rushworth, one among the richest men within the county.


Austen uses the character of Tom Bertram to bring the inherent problems of the primogeniture system to light. Sir Thomas's forced departure to manage his investments leaves his children with none real supervision and ultimately leads to grievous events that deeply affect his daughters' lives. Also, as a results of Tom's profligacy, Sir Thomas cannot afford to carry the parsonage position for Edmund, who isn't yet an ordained minister. Instead, he's forced out of monetary necessity to let the position attend Dr. Grant, an action which allows for the introduction of Mrs. Grant's younger siblings, the highly immoral Mary Crawford and Henry Crawford, who in time come to "infect" Mansfield. Edmund must remove himself from Mansfield to require a lesser job at a poorer parsonage. Clearly, the incorrect brother has the facility , while the more deserving Edmund is helpless to try to to anything about it. Edmund's only other options are to hitch the Navy as a politician or to enter the legal or medical community - jobs that Edmund would hardly find suitable or rewarding.


Town and Country

Although everything changes at the bucolic Mansfield Park after Henry and Mary Crawford arrive from London, the meeting between the Country Bertrams and therefore the Town Crawfords is way quite a plot device intended to accentuate the novel's action. Indeed, the introduction of the new arrivals demonstrates the continued tension between modernity and traditional values. for instance , Mary demonstrates how out of touch she is with the agricultural need of the farmers to reap the hay by selfishly insisting upon obtaining a wagon merely to move her harp. Time is of the essence, and every one vehicles are necessary for this vital project. She believes that given enough money she will have her way, but fails to understand that if the hay isn't brought in while the weather is true , people won't eat for the whole winter. Edmund, like Fanny, is postpone by her selfish attitude, but his better judgment is discard by his sexual attraction to the stunning lady.

Furthermore, although Mary's brother Henry is heir to a rustic estate, he's continually absent. Henry would are abhorred by early nineteenth-century readers as an absentee landlord who spends the proceeds from his farm estates to measure the high lifetime of fun and frolic while his tenants and property are neglected. Henry is thus also unaware of the requirements of rural life.

Rags to Riches

In Mansfield Park, Fanny Price is transformed from a poor, bedraggled nine-year-old to the "daughter" of Mansfield Park and therefore the wife of the Mansfield "prince," Edmund Bertram. Simply put, Mansfield Park is that the classic Cinderella tale revisited. Fanny arrives at Mansfield as a disheveled, impoverished relation, and is formed to feel unwelcome by her cousins (with the exception of Edmund). Although she doesn't need to literally clean out the ashes from the fireside because the fairy-tale Cinderella did, Fanny nevertheless must be at the beck and call of her relatives and supply constant look after Lady Bertram. With the exception of the trip to the Sotherton estate, Fanny isn't allowed to go away , and thus might be viewed as a prisoner at Mansfield: in any case , Lady Bertram "cannot do without Fanny." Since Mrs. Norris is liable for the day-to-day running of Mansfield, she takes on the evil stepmother role, treats Fanny as a servant, and usually makes the young girl's life miserable. The Bertram girls, who represent the fairy-tale evil stepsisters, denigrate young Fanny because she doesn't have fashionable clothes and are favored by the evil Mrs. Norris thanks to their higher social station .

Unlike Cinderella, Fanny doesn't seem to possess a fairy godmother. She must develop her own skills to seek out her way within the world, and shortly becomes an idealized daughter figure to Lady Bertram and Sir Thomas, whose own two daughters fail to form sensible decisions - especially concerning men. After Maria and Julia leave for London, Fanny attends her first ball, an affair thrown in her honor by Sir Thomas. When she leads the dance, all eyes are cast upon her, because everyone realizes that over time Fanny has come to seem more and more sort of a beautiful princess. Fanny is so captivating that a prince with a fortune and an estate, Henry Crawford, falls crazy together with her and asks her to wed. Fanny sees through him, unlike Sir Thomas, who locks her up in Portsmouth until she "comes to her senses" and accepts Henry's offer of marriage. Over time, truth prince Edmund involves rescue Fanny and takes her faraway from Portsmouth during a carriage. She returns to Mansfield together with her lady-in-waiting, Susan, and is happily received by Sir Thomas and woman Bertram, who have come to look at Fanny as a loyal daughter of Mansfield. By the top of the novel, Fanny has married the young "prince", Edmund, while the evil Maria and Julia are cast out into the dark world. Aunt Norris leaves also , and every one left at Mansfield Park live happily every after.


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