All right. I’m going to come right out and say it: I only read about 1/3 of Mansfield Park.
I just couldn’t do it. It was so boring. I just couldn’t get into it. I tried so very hard to read this book, but not only is it the longest book, but it’s also the most boring. (Apparently, it’s also the least-talked about and not received all too well…) I did read the Sparknotes for the book, and I participated in the discussions so I do know what happens. I’m honestly debating watching the movie so I have some idea of how everything fits together, though.
This is probably going to be really short, because I’m only going to be glancing through things…as again, I didn’t read the entire book…
Just like the last three entries, I’m not going to worry about spoilers, because this book has been out for like 200 years now.
What I wanted more of: A character I actually cared about! There were so many people that I just couldn’t stand. Fanny Price, the protagonist, was okay, but she’s been skewered by so many critics it’s hard to take her seriously.
Least Favorite Character: Mrs. Norris (not to be confused with Fitch’s cat from Harry Potter!), by and far. She was such a petty person! She’s the one who finagled Fanny’s arrival at Mansfield Park, and she is the one who crushed Sir Thomas’s dreams of getting rid of Fanny (although that’s probably a plus on Fanny’s side?) after her husband died. She backpedaled on so many promises, and she was just a terrible person in general. It’s pretty great that she gets banished with Maria at the end of the novel.
Julia and Maria weren’t all that great, either, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re brought up to be rich, not smart?
Favorite Character: Well, to be honest, not many of these guys were all that great to begin with.
Edmund, who does end up marrying Fanny (but only because he realizes he can’t find anything better, in a bad way!), is kind of a jerk. He doesn’t really fall in love with Fanny; she just so happens to be there when he realizes the other girl isn’t actually the greatest person to fall in love with.
Fanny is okay in and of herself, but she is more than a little self-righteous.
I guess William Price (Fanny’s brother) is pretty much one of the only characters I could say I truly liked, even though we didn’t get to see much of him. He would be the one I’d end up marrying if I had to pick somebody from the book. (As long as I wasn’t related to him, of course.)
Rant #1: The whole marry-your-cousin thing is really odd. I mean, with Pride and Prejudice, cousin-marriage was acceptable to Lady Catherine. Her daughter just had to marry Darcy in order to keep the bloodline “pure,” so to speak. For Darcy to marry beneath his station was outrageous.
Edmund doesn’t even have a very good excuse to marry his cousin, either! Once he realizes the other girl is bad news, he kinda just accepts that Fanny is the next one in line for his hand! I’m not a fan of that. Even though it seems like Fanny gets her happily-ever-after here, and everyone else gets what’s coming to them…I’m not satisfied with this marriage, at all.
Rant #2: I do feel bad for Rushworth, Maria’s ex-husband. While Maria does get her just desserts (as does Mrs. Norris!), we are also led to believe that Rushworth is going to be tricked again in the near future. He doesn’t have the brains, but he does have the dough. (In fact, we had that discussion in class: If you had to marry someone from the book, who would you marry? I chose Edmund because he seemed to have a steady job, and completely forgot about William. Someone else chose Rushworth, because even though he’s dumb, he’s got the cash to keep you in your lavish lifestyle.)
Did you know that Rushworth is actually Austen’s richest character? He gets £12,000 per year in interest. Darcy only gets £10,000. Fun fact.
Final Thoughts: I wish I could’ve enjoyed this book, but I just didn’t. It was so hard to get through.
I do know I”ll probably have to wade back into it in order to write my final paper for this class, because I’ll be writing more about how houses characterize those who live in them, so that’s going to be a lot of fun. I hope. I’ll also be working on Northanger Abbey for that paper, expanding on what I wrote in my first one.
Y’all, I got an A on that first paper! The professor loved it and said that I just needed to continue what I did in the next few papers. Score!
Have you read Mansfield Park? What were your thoughts? Were you able to power through it, or did you end up like me? Let me know in the comments!
Now I’m headed to a Halloween party. Here’s hoping I don’t fall in my heels!
And as always, keep reading.