Book Review: Mansfield Park

Thursday greetings!

Today, I will attempt to give you two posts. One being this one, and the other being the poem of the week. 🙂

Recently I finished Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, which was the last of her completed novels that I read. I found it left me brooding. It wasn’t simply a story; it was overflowing with ideas and principles and portraits of right and wrong. I tend to take my time when reading Jane’s novels and I believe this is why: it’s so much more than just people and places… I feel as if, by incorporating little messages and quick lessons throughout, she is actually speaking to me, and I have to search and dig to discover what she’s saying. They may be warnings or priceless pieces of advice, and I don’t want to miss them. So I take my time. With that said, here is my review of Mansfield Park:

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“After years of waiting, it would seem one’s patience would wear thin; however, this was not the case with Miss Fanny Price in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. Familiarity and distractions had blinded Edmund Bertram to the obvious, but Fanny’s constant heart would not allow her to give up. Only a brutal exposure of reality could reveal the truth to him. Mansfield Park may be considered one of the more solemn of Miss Austen’s novels, and is more designed to portray the importance of upholding good morals; however, it is no less engaging, nor less enlivened by delightful characters and an exciting, thorough plot.

Edmund Bertram’s judgment was originally sound, but unfortunately he allowed himself to waver. First, he foolishly agreed to act in his siblings’ questionable play, having convinced himself that he was doing the right thing. Second, he refused to see the true, deceptive character of Mary Crawford, even when it was presented before him, and he gave her his heart anyway. Edmund had to learn that good intentions can be no replacement for good morals.

Fanny Price, on the other hand, remained unwilling to compromise her personal standards, both in the incident of the theatrical, and when faced with an impossible decision. She could accept the hand of the wealthy and successful Henry Crawford, when she sensed flaws in his character, or she could suffer the disapproval of those dearest to her. One weak in spirit may have accepted the former as their fate, but our Miss Price chose the latter, refusing to betray her convictions. She retained her morals and sound judgment, though all circumstances seemed against her, and her persistence paid off well in the end.

The incorporation of important lessons throughout the story, show not only Jane Austen’s grasp on good morals, but also her incredible capability to demonstrate them in her novel. Edmund’s temporary haze shows us how carefully we must guard ourselves lest we are blinded to the truth, while Fanny’s consistency, despite her quiet nature and obliging disposition, shows us that were are capable of holding fast in the face of pressure. Henry and Mary Crawford’s mistakes illustrate that vanity is dangerous and that being in control is not worth losing your principles. When Maria and Julia Bertram behave scandalously, nearly ruining their family’s reputation, Sir Thomas Bertram’s feelings are not simply of anger, but also of remorse, because although he personally held high standards, he failed to teach them to his daughters. This teaches us that if they wish to avoid regret and devastation, parents should take care to teach their children the importance of maintaining solid ethics and personal convictions.

Jane Austen’s proficiency in creating masterpieces that are both exhilarating and instructive cannot be matched. In her short lifetime, she developed an unsurpassed gift with words, and an extraordinary understanding of human nature. She understood the corrupt ways of the world, and the devastating effect they could have on those who were susceptible by ill preparation. Mansfield Park, a remarkable story of life and love, will never retire from its popularity. This classic will continue to inspire readers, even when our “now” is far in the past.”

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Thank you for reading! Do you agree with my review? Please let me know if you think it was well written and thorough or poorly written and vague.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Mansfield Park

  1. Alyssa, your blog is very well written. You have worded it in such a way that makes a person want to read the novel or at least one of Jane Austen’s novels.

    Like

  2. Very well written, Alyssa! I thought I had read this one, but I can’t find it on my shelf (your blog made me go look). Either I borrowed it from someone to read it, or I am confusing it with another Jane Austen novel – Persuasion, maybe?

    Like

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