Mansfield Park Read Along – Discussion Part 1

Quick getting to know you Qs:

1. Was Mansfield Park the first Austen book you read?

No, this was not my first Austen book.    Although, this is my least favorite.

2. Is this the first time you’ve read Mansfield Park?

No this is a reread for me.

3. How many other Austen books have you read?

I have read them all many times.

4. Will you read more of them/reread them?

Yes of course!!!!

5. Do you or will you read Austen adaptations?

I read a lot of adaptations!

Responses to Mansfield Park

What were your initial impressions of the story? Not just the characters and their respective situations, but also the style and tone – if you’ve read Austen before, do you find Mansfield Park to be very different in any significant ways?  I don’t find it to any harder to read then any of the others.  What is different to me is the heroine.  She is just not the typical female that Austen usually writes.
Going more into the characters now, Mansfield Park’s inhabitants are pretty universally considered Austen’s hardest to love. What was your response to them through the first half of this story? Do you feel for any of them? Hate any of them with a vehemence beyond that which you normally reserve for fictional characters? And if you try to look at them objectively, do you have any more sympathy (or disgust) with their actions and behavior?
I think that Fanny and Edmund are hard to love.   She just seems so wimpy and he is just so not reliable with his emotions.  She doesn’t have spunk that some of Austen’s other characters have.  Edmund is just such a jerk.   I felt he lacked substance because one minute he is all in love with Mrs Crawford then he is like oh I love fanny (blah).  I truly like Mr. Crawford and I think given the chance he could have been better for Fanny.

Fanny is often considered to be a very milquetoast, frustratingly passive heroine. Do you agree with this perception of her? Do you find yourself making excuses for her or holding things against her? Or do you feel that Fanny is underestimated as a character? Consider the scene in the Rushworth’s park, as Fanny sits for hours, waiting to be noticed again, while everyone around her seeks their own amusement.
Yes, she’s very passive but that isn’t her flaw.  Ann from “Persuasion “was also passive but Fanny is just seems to be led around by the neck.  I understand she is dependent on the family’s good will but I just feel that she likes feeling the victim. The only scene in which she stands up for herself is when she refuse  Mr. Crawford’s marriage proposal.

“The Play” and preparation for it is one of the most telling and pivotal scenes in Mansfield Park – discuss your reaction to the entire Lover’s Vows storyline: what it brings to light in the characters, what changes and ruptures it causes among them, things that amused or irritated you, etc.  Did your feelings about any of the characters change as a result of The Play? How did you feel about Fanny during this whole incident? Would you have liked to see the play – and its aftermath – without the intrusion of the returning Lord Bertram?
I find the play to be a telling part to the characters true natures.  You have Maria walk over her own sister to play opposite Mr. Crawford.  Then you have Edmund who flip flops on his beliefs to play opposite Mrs. Crawford.

Many of the relationships we’ve been introduced to so far are very contentious: Maria and Julia, sometimes Tom and Edmund, Mrs Norris and everybody. And in fact, the story starts with a rift in the family. What do you make of the “friendships” and family dynamics in the story, and of the changes wrought by the entrance of the Crawfords?
I feel that Mrs. Norris influence caused a lot of the rifts in the family.  She played to their vanity and spoiled them.  I felt that once the Crawford showed they just started to show their true selves.  I saw more love and loyalty  between the Crawford’s than in the Bertram’s.  I did seem them come closer when Tom got sick but to me that a shame that it take someone almost dying to understand what’s important.

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2 thoughts on “Mansfield Park Read Along – Discussion Part 1

  1. Hello, I’m doing the read-along too 🙂 I agree with your last line about it being a shame that someone has to almost die for the characters to come together. It made me think of how that also happens in our own world today…I wonder what Jane Austen would say about that if she were still alive (and writing).

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