Mansfield Park, Jane Austen

“Her own thoughts and reflections were habitually her best companions.”

“…but then I am unlike other people I dare say.”

So here it is, my first book review, and on an Austen novel no less! (I will call this a ‘book review’ for want of a better phrase, but it is predominantly my thoughts on the novel.)

Mansfield Park is one of Austen’s later novels, written quite a bit after Pride & Prejudice or Sense & Sensibility, which if you have read either of these (I’ve read both) is obvious to a reader. This difference in writing is most obvious in her characters, especially her female protagonist of Fanny Price. Unlike Austen’s previously strong-willed women (such as Elizabeth Bennett) Fanny is not very pro-active, doing very little herself to get her perfect ending – something that, naturally, does occur. Yet, this calmness and quietness is what to me makes this novel so engaging; it contrasts well with the glamour and action of Mary and Henry Crawford.

Despite this, MP still keeps to Austen’s typical plot structure: description and introduction to the background of the protagonists in the opening chapter before diving into the action, increasing in pace and intrigue (MP is written in three volumes, so reaches three exciting climaxes) until reaching a pleasant and thoughtful, if slightly rushed, conclusion.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading MP, often finding myself feeling the same horror of certain scandals before pulling myself out of Fanny’s world to realise that I was feeling this shock to something that when it occurs in society today is far less scandalous; it made me laugh at myself and how involved I was feeling. (I won’t reveal said scandal in case you have not read MP yet. If you have then I trust you will understand what I am referring to.)

I therefore would agree with the statement printed boldly on the back of my copy that MP is ‘one of Austen’s most profound works… a subtle, moving examination of… contrast’.



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