Mansfield Park – An English Classic
Mansfield Park has the dubious distinction of being disliked by more of Jane Austen’s fans than any of her other novels. Its themes are very different from those of her other books, which can generally be simplified into one sentence, or even one phrase: Sense and Sensibility is about balancing emotions and thought, Pride and Prejudice is about judging others too quickly, Emma is about growing into adulthood, and Persuasion is about second chances. The theme of Mansfield Park, on the other hand, can not be so easily described. Is it about ordination? Is it an allegory on Regency England? Is it about slavery? Is it about the education of children? Is it about the difference between appearances and reality? Is it about the results of breaking with society’s morés? Any, or all of those themes can, and have been applied to Mansfield Park. The major problem for most of the novel’s detractors is the lead character, Fanny Price. She is shy, timid, lacking in self-confidence, physically weak, and seemingly-to some, annoyingly-always right. Austen’s own mother called her “insipid”, and many have used the word “priggish”. She is certainly not like the lively and witty Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice. But Mansfield Park also has many supporters, whose admiration and loyalty can be attributed to the depth and complexity of the themes in the book and to the main character-a young woman who is unlike most heroines found in literature. One thing is certain, this novel is not like Jane Austen’s others. The girl-gets-boy plot of her other work is mostly absent here, and the heroine’s success in finding love is treated briefly, quickly, and for many readers-especially those who expected something like the romantic Pride and Prejudice-unsatisfactorily. Only in the final chapter-essentially the epilogue-does Fanny get the love she deserves. The story and themes of Mansfield Park are, therefore, not as closely tied with the heroine’s road to marital bliss as in Austen’s other novels. Jane Austen began planning Mansfield Park in February of 1811 and finished it in the summer of 1813. It was published on May 4, 1814 and was Austen’s third published novel; though, as with all of her novels, her name was not attached to it until after her death. This was also the first of her novels which was not a revision of an earlier work. Elinor and Marianne was probably written in 1795 and finally revised and published as Sense and Sensibility in late 1811. First Impressions was written between 1796-97, and was finally published in 1813 as Pride and Prejudice. Mansfield Park, therefore, was conceived from its very beginning by a more mature Jane Austen than the previous two novels-written, as they were, first by the young Austen (~ 20 years old) and then the older Austen (~ 36). By the time Jane Austen began planning and writing Mansfield Park she had passed through her eligible years and, at 36, into confirmed spinsterhood.
The Mansfield Park app comes with unique features such as-
-Voice Narration with selectable voice type and voice pitch.
-Adjustable font size.
-Resume where you left.
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