Mansfield Park

“I purposely abstain from dates on this occasion, that every one may be at liberty to fix their own, aware that the cure of unconquerable passions, and that the transfer of unchanging attachments, must vary much as to time in different people. – I only intreat every body to believe that exactly at the time when it was quite natural that it should be so, and not a week earlier, Edmund did cease to care about Miss Crawford, and became as anxious to marry Fanny, as Fanny herself could desire.” (Mansfield Park by Jane Austen)

Penguin Classics Deluxe EditionI was riding my bike to the library yesterday, and through a roundabout route, I peddled down a residential street labeled ‘Mansfield Park’. I imagined that there lived a young woman with upstanding principles and morals, struggling within a modern society with an illicit love she felt for her cousin. Yet, in the modern age, this Boston romance would not have ended nearly as pleasantly as it did in 19th century Britain. The poor girl living at the modern __ Mansfield Park probably just threw herself into her work and married a Mr. Crawford who never saw her value and cheated on her repeatedly – not a story Jane Austen would care to tell.

Jane Austen somehow managed to write such a complex situation that I found myself seriously doubting how it would end, even having recently watched the movie. I repeatedly grew suspicious that the movie adaptation must have changed something, for I ‘knew’ that Fanny would end up marrying Crawford.  In fact, I suspect that every time I reread this book, I will seriously doubt that the ending will conclude as it did this time. In some two or three years, my unconscious mind remains certain that Mr. Crawford will finally prevail, which is why I don’t mind in the least revealing the ending here – you won’t believe me either. Although Fanny isn’t as cleaver or sassy a character as others Jane Austen has written, such as Elizabeth or Emma, she still is able to draw a reader in and make them live in her world for a while.

Beverage: A strong pot of Earl Grey tea.

Reminds me of… all the other fantastic early 19th century British literature. Sometimes I crave this time period like some desire a whole bar of 75% dark chocolate.


2 thoughts on “Mansfield Park

  1. I’ve been reading this on my phone, and it is a most unsatisfactory book to read in tiny bits over a long period of time. I can’t seem to keep the characters straight!

    • I can definitely believe that. I actually tried to read this book once before in a slow kind of way and couldn’t get anywhere with it. I read it this time within a few days and was unable to put it down. As I was saying in the post, I think that the plot and emotions are deceptively complicated. It’s not well suited for the style of reading the i-phone provides. So don’t give up on it! Just try reading it when you have more time, maybe.

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