Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|The dreariness of Mansfield Park.
Written by Rachel G
(9/14/2010 8:55 p.m.)
Perhaps my tastes are reprehensibly frivolous, but I cannot help finding the first few chapters of MP rather heavy going. I think a lot of the problem is that I just don't warm to most of the characters. I feel desperately sorry for poor Fanny but her sufferings make for heavy reading. Edmund is kind and I like him for that but he doesn't exactly sparkle. I find myself so desperate for a bit of laughter that I'm grateful for the black humour of Tom's awful comment about Dr Grant: But “no, he was a short–necked, apoplectic sort of fellow, and, plied well with good things, would soon pop off.” (Yes I know he is selfish and I really shouldn't laugh - it's a measure of my desperation that I do.)
For me the situation is saved by the rich vein of irony which infuses the omniscient narrator's commentary. We could have a very long thread just appreciating this aspect of the writing.
Despite this, I find that Mansfield Park is not a place where I'd like to be. There seems to be so little fun and laughter, and little real kindness or human warmth. It feels like a depressing place. If I was forced to live there I'd be plotting my escape.
So I feel a real sense of relief when the Crawfords show up. It is immediately clear that their values are badly skewed, though I don't know that they are any worse in that respect than most of the residents of Mansfield. Anyway I find that I really don't mind. Their conversations with Mrs Grant at the end of Ch.4 and the beginning of Ch.5 come tearing off the page - like a blast of fresh air. Suddenly I'm sitting up and taking notice, and eager to read on and find out what happens next.
Does anyone else feel like this?
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.