Mansfield Park

Jane Austen

4 stars

I do not know why so many people seem to dislike Fanny Price. I actually really loved her, maybe because she reminded me a lot of myself. Like me, Fanny is shy, and is not really sure of her place at times. I like that even though she feels like she has a duty to her family for taking her in, she has a very strong moral compass and is not afraid to stand up for herself when she thinks that she would be doing wrong by not doing so. She is smart enough to see what is going on with regards to Mr. Crawford while it is actually happening, and therefore is the only one not dreadfully surprised when everything is revealed. I left this book for last because it is most definitely the longest Jane Austen novel, and took me much longer to read than most books. However, I felt like the length was necessary to fully bring out the nuances in all the characters as well as the plot. I feel like Mansfield Park, rather than being meant as a lighthearted novel, was actually more meant to be social commentary on the gothic system at the time, at how different classes were treated, particularly with the character of Mrs. Norris (Is it bad that every time I see that name I think of Filch’s cat?) who systematically degraded Fanny because of her birth, even though she was her own niece, and still was hardly ever called out on what she was doing. When I read this, I realize that even though many reviews I have read seem to regard Fanny as weak or feeble minded, I actually find her stronger for having to face this treatment of herself every day, and never once complaining. It may not be the kind of strength people are used to, but I think quiet strength is often the best kind.

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